Illustration by Masha Zhdanova

I always hear debates on what to say to people during the holidays. Now, less than before, but it still circulates. When I was younger, I always said “Merry Christmas.” The mindset of people around me was that if you don’t like it, then don’t say it.

 

A big issue, that I’ve only noticed within the last five years, is that only addressing one holiday is just like addressing a certain, and small, group of people. I didn’t know of many religions growing up, I was still stuck on how Catholicism is different from other forms of Christianity.

 

At my old job, during the holidays we were always told to say Happy Holidays, it was something I already did, so it wasn’t hard for me. However, for some people, it was hard for them to make the transition from “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays.” We called seasonal parties Holiday parties, but were also allowed to wear Santa hats or whatever holiday apparel correlated with what we celebrate.

 

Living in an area where there’s at least one Baptist church on every street, people were more accommodated to “Merry Christmas.” However, it isn’t just the Christian Faith who live there. I think without a few people who take a step in a different, but evolving, direction, we will never see a change in how we treat people different from us. This goes for more than just what you say during the winter, but I think is a good example of how little things can help others feel accepted.

 

I ran into a few people who never liked when I didn’t say “Merry Christmas.” That was the hardest thing for me to understand. The Holiday season is supposed to be a time where everyone becomes more kind and giving. But there are groups who seem to not want to understand or accept a holiday other than Christmas.

 

I’m not saying that if you say “Merry Christmas” you’re a bad person. It’s hard to know someone’s religion without being told, but I think the idea of two words including a larger group of people is something to be appreciated and considered. No matter what someone says to me, whatever holiday they wish, it’s all in good nature.

 

Not only does “Happy Holidays” just sound better, it’s just nicer to include more religions than Christianity. It’s really simple too, just to include an enormous variety of people in a warm greeting and wish for the season.

 

“Happy Holidays” didn’t become habit until the end of my second winter season at work. I’m sure “Merry Christmas” still slips out every once in a while, but for the most part, it’s “Happy Holidays.” I’ve educated myself on the sayings importance and I only want my opinion to show this perspective.

 

The Holidays are a time for joy and acceptance. By changing the two words you say, it just helps include other religions that aren’t your own. Not only that, but it’s helped me become interested in learning about other Holidays and how certain religions are celebrated. Try it out, see if the change affects you in any way. It seems like a small thing, but it impacted me greatly.