What’s So Dangerous About… Merry CHRISTmas

“Have a Happy Holiday,” I said.

I had purposely avoided saying Merry CHRISTmas because I’ve been told that I am somehow shoving my religion down everyone’s throat ever time I say Merry CHRISTmas. And far be it from me to play havoc with the mercurial beliefs of those weak-willed enough to convert based on a simple greeting.

Honestly, I had no idea that such a sentiment could be so powerful. Did YOU know that wishing someone a Merry CHRISTmas would force them to convert to my faith? Did you know that acknowledging the existence of an officially recognized national holiday celebrated by the majority of a democratic nation would officially set up a Christian Theocracy?? Did you know that the mere mention of CHRISTmas would have such an effect?  I am assured it is so.

Now, IF there are really folks out there who are so weak-willed that my wishing them a simple Merry CHRISTmas will actually “force my religion” on them, then perhaps I could remedy the situation by also wishing them a Happy Independence Day! Would such a greeting as that, reserved for patriotic sentiment, somehow engender an independent thought to help them stand resolute against this pernicious assault of contrary sentiments?

Far be it from ol’ Sirius to force someone to covert to my faith by such a simple, yet pernicious means. Though, honestly, if I’d known people were such willy nilly weak-willed sheep, I wouldn’t have wasted my time with such tedious methods as knocking on doors, passing out tracts, debating, preaching, reasoning or what-have-you: I would’ve simply sent more CHRISTmas Cards.

What is it about this little phrase, Merry CHRISTmas, that makes some guys so rabidly Christophobic, I wonder? Wishing one a Merry CHRISTmas does not force you to believe in God, angels, the Immaculate Conception or wise men, any more than it mandates belief in elves, flying reindeer, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, potentially falsifiable fictional characters in general or Tim Allen’s acting ability. It may give you the irrational urge to listen to Christmas music, sing carols or watch Christmas movies like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life or Die Hard [my fave]. You may feel inclined to indulge in a drink of egg nog, a saccharine bit of candy cane or really show what a masochist you are and visit the relatives. The very mention of a Merry CHRISTmas greeting may even cause you to wish it would bloody snow already. But it will not force you to participate at all!

Oh, but some object that when I say Merry CHRISTmas that I’m somehow intolerant or offensive to their peculiar beliefs of unbelief, as the case may be. And they write angry little letters to the paper and to corporations who have Human Resources departments with almost nothing at all to do except pick at nits and launch witch hunts. So there are companies who now absurdly forbid their employees to say Merry CHRISTmas to their customers because a small minority of their customers might be celebrating an entirely different holiday or not be celebrating anything at all, just using it as an excuse to get drunk and get loot really. We’re all supposed to say Happy Holidays instead, because it’s allegedly more neutral.

There was even a debacle a few years back wherein the St. Albans [WV] Festival of Light decided not to include the Baby Jesus in a Nativity scene because they “didn’t want to offend anyone”…. because a Christ-less creche is so completely unoffensive to Christians everywhere, right? Fortunately, they came to their senses and put the baby back in the manger, but now one feels like we have to inspect that particular display every year… just in case.

It’s pretty silly. Especially since a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey has found that 68% of American adults prefer stores to show signs saying “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays. Only one-quarter of adults (25%) favor signs that say “Happy Holidays.”

Now, I’m NOT really offended by the phrase Happy Holidays. How could I be? It’s meaningless. But it’s all the poor saps at the stores are allowed to say when they’d really like to just say Merry CHRISTmas along with the vast majority of USAmerica and the world-at-large, like they do when they’re off the clock. So I don’t take it out on them. It’s not their fault.

Think about it: What do we accomplish by substituting Happy Holidays for Merry CHRISTmas? Are the sodding atheists happy with that? NO. They’re still upset, the killjoys. Did wishing the rest of the populace, the ones who aren’t as easily offended as atheists, a Merry CHRISTmas offend them?

In my experience, and maybe yours was different, it went like this:

“Merry Christmas, Isaac!”

“Thank you! And a Happy Hannukah to you!”

“Thank YOU!”

And it was like that with everybody. True tolerance and respect for the other guy’s bag without reducing it to a bland, homogenized Happy Holidays, whatever that means to you, Bub.

It was like that with everybody, I said. And everybody was HAPPY! except the atheists.

Except the atheists.

Except the killjoy atheists.

Why weren’t the atheists happy? Aside from the fact that they don’t believe in God much less holidays that celebrate Him in any fashion, they’re just jealous.

Just jealous. yep.


“Merry Christmas, Richard Dawkins!”

“Thank you! And a Happy… A Merry… A Holly, jolly… oh, drat. We haven’t anything to celebrate of our own. We don’t believe in God, much less holidays to celebrate Him. We do believe in aliens and Darwin and and flying spaghetti monsters, sort of. Maybe we could organize something around that. Of course, Darwin Day’s much too far away on the calendar to invoke it during the holiday season. We wouldn’t sound at all *bright* greeting people with a holiday thats still a few months aways. May as well wish them a Happy April Fool’s Day at Christmas! Of course, they do wish us a Happy Atheist Day on April Fool’s, but – Humbug! Humbug!”

They got nothing.

You know what? Merry Christmas anyway, Richard Dawkins! God bless us everyone!

– Sirius Knott

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Sonshine says:

    I love this! As you summed up, the people who are offended at “Merry Christmas” would be offended anyway at “Happy Holidays” since they don’t believe in any holiday except they’re own (maybe ramadan? ) or even GASP, nothing! Have you noticed in the past several years that there’s far more attention on santa claus than on Christ? Santa claus has also been given godlike qualities like all seeing and all knowing! Unfortunately nowadays, even though most people say Merry Christmas, santa claus (not even to mention greed and materialism) is more and more the god of Christmas. 😦

  2. drlindberg says:

    Are there really people out there who are offended by someone saying “Merry Christmas”? I can’t recall ever meeting any.

    As for “Seasons greetings,” and “Happy holidays,” those have been around as long as I can remember, since the 1950s at least. I don’t think there were enough atheists around in those days to have had any effect on Hallmark.

    I remember watching an entire evening of television Christmas specials back in the 50s and thinking, here’s all this talk about the “Spirit of Christmas” and “The true meaning of Christmas,” and no one mentioned whose birthday it is that we are supposedly celebrating. Then there was Stan Freberg’s skit “Green Chri$ma$” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5IXlfJSEi4)
    If anyone objects to being wished a merry Christmas, I think the best thing to do would be to call him a grinch and ignore him.


    1. D R Lindberg,

      I assure you that here in America there a small but vocal minority of killjoys who get offended at the mention of Merry Christmas.

      I am aware of the fact that the terms Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings have been around for a while. Unfortunately, the very fact that people were talking about the spirit and true meaning of Christmas without referencing the Christ Child is ample evidence that the use of these terms contribute to a Christ-less Christmas season. [Rampant greed and covetousness likely contribute more to this lack of consideration for Christ in the Christmas season than any other factor however!]

      Regards and Merry Christmas, sir!

  3. Evelyn Cooke says:

    It’s getting a bit like that in Australia now. People write to the newspapers complaining about us forcing our religion down other people’s throats. Well actually they say it’s because Christmas is unwelcoming to the immigrants, but no-one has heard the immigrants complain.
    Well I did have a friend get rather bent out of shape over a store cancelling its Holiday Sale because we nasty Christians (apparently) complained. But what’s the hassle? They have sales all year anyway.
    Well Merry Chhristmas revTony

  4. I’ve yet to find anyone who is offended by Merry Christmas. Which is limited to my own experiences, of course, but still. And I have met many Christians who are offended by Happy Holidays.

    1. NotAScientist,

      One of the bigger reasons why Christians are offended by the term Happy Holidays is that they have been prevented by politically correct corporations from uttering their truer sentiment of Merry Christmas lest they offend anyone and have been left only the option of Happy Holidays; whereas no one has ever been forced to say Merry Christmas in lieu of Happy Holidays.

      Another equally important reason why Christians are offended at the term Happy Holidays is that it represents a pluralistic message. Christianity as defined by Jesus and the Apostle Peter is anything but pluralistic. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes to the Father except by Me.” Likewise, Peter affirmed of Christ that “There is no other name under heaven whereby men must be saved.” This attempt to dampen the impact of Christmas by making it just another holiday among many [and by implication equally valid and irrelevant] stands in opposition to the exclusivity of Christ. If I cannot wish a man a Merry Christmas according to my truest sentiments but must rather offer a generic greeting acknowledging all holidays celebrated this season, I do not live in a very tolerant society. If all religions must offer up a generic Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings rather than a Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas or Happy Kwanzaa as they wish, then society no longer values the distinctiveness of these religions and devalues them as interchangeable, when they are not.


  5. jesusknight says:

    I LOVE this! Merry Christmas Sirius, and a happy New Year too!

    I never get a response when I go to my local H.E.B to shop during the Holyday Season, and I say ‘Merry Christmas’ at the cash register. I am always ignored and never answered with even a happy holiday. This year a bagger actually said it back!
    I walked out amazed and quite happy that I had not said ‘Merry Christmas’ to a wall yet again this year. Who knows, maybe next year there will be more that have the nerve and hope in Christ to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in public.

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