Is Wishing a Merry Christmas
some thoughts on the Merry Christmas term
Is wishing a Merry Christmas still politically correct? The nowadays disputed Merry Christmas term used to be widespread, common and never questioned by anybody. So, what’s all that political correctness fuss about? Who has actually started all that? Who has first complained about feeling offended by something that we in our country and culture celebrate without disturbing anybody?
We usually spend Christmas at home with the family. Love, peace, harmony and happy faces … how can that be offensive? We aren’t forcing anybody to participate, nor do we try to convince anybody to believe in our religion, culture or tradition. Remarkable, that the same phenomenon is occurring apparently all over Europe. It’s not just some kind of temporary crazy notion, it’s a lot more than just the matter of getting rid of the Merry Christmas term.
Merry Christmas – Happy Holidays – Season’s Greetings
So, where did it kick off? Since when is a Christmas tree not a Christmas tree anymore? And when did Christmas lights become winter lights? Why am I not supposed to wish people I meet at Christmas a Merry Christmas … What else to wish, happy holidays? I will wish you a happy holiday when you go on holiday, that’ll be probably around July or August. Season Greetings? What season do you mean? Spring, summer, fall – I’m flexible with that. But I am not flexible when it comes to my feelings and traditions. That all is part of being me, part of my life, all this means too much for me to be giving up on just because ‘they’ tell us so …who are they?
One of my most beautiful childhood memories is the Christmas time. My goodness, were we excited, and scared of Santa’s book … (will he know really everything I did wrong?) My parents were the best ‘Santas’ a child could wish for. Believe it or not, today I still remember some things as if it happened last year or so. We actually had a fix Christmas Day ‘program’, early afternoon bathtime, then the finest Sunday clothes on …. dinner …. singing by the tree … those were the happy days.
I am drifting off topic, but that just shows how deep these things go and stay. In our souls … family bond … values, and today there is thus something wrong or displeasing with it? Sorry, but I really don’t get that.
Why do we have to deny one of our most wonderful traditions? Why are we okay with it, when the magic of Christmas turns into a political issue and only the commercial aspect seems to matter? How quickly did look and names of Christmas items and products in stores change? (Money rules!)
Better not to lose any potential customer by being too authentic, by keeping culture and traditions alive. No, rather making it all more marketable, more ‘compatible’ to reach a wider range of consumers. Who cares about the meaning of Christmas, what does tradition matter? Sales, sales, and more sales, commerce obviously comes first.
I am a very inquisitive person, so I had to find out since when we are actually using the Merry Christmas term, that’s what I found on Wikipedia:
“The use of ‘Merry Christmas’ as a seasonal salutation dates back to at least 1534, when, on 22nd December, John Fisher wished the season’s greetings in a letter to Thomas Cromwell, recorded in Strype Ecclesiastical memorials, 1816”
So, attestable at least for the last 482 years we have wished each other a Merry Christmas and nobody’s had any problems with it. Now somebody somewhere decided that wishing a Merry Christmas to others stinks. I can’t understand why anybody could feel offended, however, it has actually come to be inappropriate.
I can see how the spirit of Christmas will be taken away from our children, how we are getting more and more insecure. What to say, what not to say, how to behave appropriately, feeling guilty not even knowing what for, just because they say so. What is going on?
Shop managers started to debate whether or not to put up decorations with the Merry Christmas term on it, or if they should simply do without. It came to lengthy write-ups in newspapers, talk shows are debating hours over it. In some way, the viewpoint of a few people in thinking that this phrase is offensive has spread like a virus all across Europe.
Let’s have a look at the Netherlands
St. Nicholas’ day is on the 6th December, but in The Netherlands, the major celebrations are held on the 5th December. The name Santa Claus comes from the name Sinterklaas.Dutch tradition says that St. Nicholas lives in Madrid, Spain and every year he chooses a different harbour to arrive in Holland, so as many children as possible get a chance to see him.
Sinterklaas travels with his servants called ‘Zwarte Pieten’ (Black Peters). When Sinterklaas and the Black Peters come ashore from the steam-boat, all of the local church bells ring in celebration. Sinterklaas, dressed in his red robes, leads a procession through the town, riding a white horse. Every town in The Netherlands has a few Sinterklaas helpers, dressed the same as Sinterklaas who help give the presents out. (and sometimes you might see one or more Zwarte Pieten with Sinterklaas!) source: whychristmas.com
And this is what’s going on now year after year:
Dutch must end Black Pete racial stereotypes UN race bias body says
Activists who oppose the tradition want to ‘make Black Pete less black and less servant’
What used to be a very popular tradition has become a political issue, a reason for demonstrating and protesting crowds on the streets. How and why? Because Piet has a black face? Who actually creates these ‘issues’?
Who says that people with a darker skin colour (is that now okay to say?) feel offended or discriminated? Do they see the difference between black and white as crucial as we do at all? Or isn’t it just us, assuming and deciding how others have to feel about things? According to our standards and values. Maybe most of these people don’t even care about people’s skin colour, ever thought of that? Who says, that people with a different belief do have a problem with us wishing each other a Merry Christmas? What, if they just don’t care? What, if they even like our way of celebrating Christmas? Why is that obviously such an absurd and impossible idea?
Isn’t that all just a manmade thing, probably arisen out of the intelligent creativity some politicians shine brightly with. I don’t know and to be honest, I don’t even want to know! I gave up shaking my head about all that nowadays-nonsense we get served on a daily base. People celebrate Hanukkah and Kwanza, others celebrate their Ramadan, there are so many different cultures, why shouldn’t we all be able to be a bit more considerate?
If you understand that somebody commemorates something in a different way than you do, wish them well … whatever it might be for them, it surely doesn’t do any harm to you to show respect or even feeling happy for them. Don’t take away someone else’s happiness by choosing to discredit their culture.
I don’t know how you look at this. I will absolutely wish everybody a Very Merry Christmas and all the joy and happiness Christmas has brought to us for as long as we can think back. How sad if we would really deny our traditions and take our children’s Christmas joy away. Don’t let this happen!
I would love to hear your opinion about all this, feel free to leave your thoughts below in the comments
Have a Very Merry Christmas 2021 yourself!
We will continue to say Merry Christmas all over the world. We are Christians and people should respect our faith. Amen
Thank you, I wholeheartedly agree with you, Tescha. I am wishing you a very Merry Christmas 2017!!
I’ll often say “happy holidays” because it seems presumptuous to just think that somebody celebrates the same holiday as me, but to be offended by somebody offering a polite greeting seems absurd
I’ll often say “happy holidays” simply because I think it is rude to just assume that somebody else follows the same traditions I do but think it is a bit silly for anybody to get offended by anything that is said to them as a friendly greeting
Well Jeremy, wishing people a Merry Christmas in a Christian country where Christmas is a tradition should not offend anybody at all, no matter their background or what they usually celebrate. I live in a foreign country myself and participate happily in their traditions, on top of my own ones, which makes it “Christmas” twice a year for me. 😉 Adapting others traditions should make us richer, not hateful! I still believe, there’s too much money and commerce involved.
I am reading this for the first time! Why should anybody object… very difficult to understand this. I wish we learned to live in harmony accepting every belief.
How true , Indrani! It could be so easy to live peaceful with each other. Yes, it is a big issue here in Europe , and as I heard , apparently also in the US. Different traditions and beliefs should enrich a culture instead of splitting it. Thanks a lot for coming over.
As you can imagine in the USA this is always a big subject that I find completely ridiculous. People have really taken it to the limit. I have at times felt as if I should say Happy Holidays but the truth is the people I have known who are of different religions and cultures rarely find it offensive. I believe it becomes offensive in places like schools where I believe they should acknowledge other celebrations but that is part of the Christian argument we don’t have time for.
So , this is not just an European phenomenon?! Ridiculous is the right term for all this ! About schools … there is a constant discussion going on in Germany about the different religions in school classes. The cross on the wall is apparently offensive to muslim kids , so it had to come down.Sport lessons for muslim girls are a no go , as the sport outfits are too sexy , swimming lessons even more , most girls aren’t allowed to participate .. Children repeat and reflect what parents and teachers tell and suggest, if we adults would be a better idol for our kids in fighting racism, and all what comes with that horrible attitude,instead of boosting it with ridiculous (and dangerous) behaviour, we could all peacefully celebrate a Merry Christmas without feeling insecure or guilty
I’m from England so I’m truly baffled as to why people get so upset about something so trivial. Here we say: Happy Christmas! or occasionally, Merry Christmas, to everybody – regardless of religion – and the response is the same “Happy Christmas” or ” same to you!” – we tend to use the word Xmas a lot when writing. We never ever say “Happy Holidays” around this time of year unless of course you are really going on holiday (vacation) to sunnier or snowier climes!