Is it wrong to say “Merry Christmas”?

An analysis of geotagged Twitter data, based on a 300,000 tweet sample, to determine which holiday greeting is the most popular in each state.
Photo by

An analysis of geotagged Twitter data, based on a 300,000 tweet sample, to determine which holiday greeting is the most popular in each state. Photo by

Xzavier Aguilar, Reporter

Is it socially acceptable to say “Merry Christmas” to non-Christians? While some take offense, others believe that it is a harmless act that should not be taken too seriously.

There’s no doubt that the term “ Merry Christmas” has been around for a long time, as far as 1699 when English admirals first used the term Merry Christmas in an informal letter. Since then the term has become popular and widely used throughout the United States; however, in the more recent years, a more people have found the term offensive due to the lack of inclusiveness of other holidays celebrated around this time of year or if the person does not celebrate Christmas at all. *

To be more inclusive, people have started using the phrase “ Happy Holidays “ in hopes of respecting the celebrations of others who may not celebrate Christmas but might be celebrating another holiday around the same time.

“ I feel people should be open to how others feel because people have different religions and celebrate different holidays or don’t celebrate Christmas in general, so saying Happy Holidays seems more respectable”, said Senior Eli Alvarez, Div. 030.

But what do others think when it comes to the debate of both terms?

“It’s considered politically correct to say Happy Holidays, so it’s just considered insensitive to say Merry Christmas to other people who aren’t from this country that don’t celebrate it,“ said senior Miguel Montano, Div. 022.

“Merry Christmas” is a traditional saying that’s been around for centuries. Most of us do not mean any disrespect by it. The saying “Merry Christmas” has evolved to mean more than just the original religious intent, “Birth of Jesus”. Nowadays people use the phrase to celebrate the simple act of spending time with family and friends, giving to others, and spreading love and joy. Christmas will always be the “Birth of Jesus”, but will continue to adapt to mean what each individual chooses to see Christmas as.

“I don’t think it really matters because terms are similar in a way; they both tell you to have a good season. Personally, I say Merry Christmas because I grew up saying it,” said Junior Leah Sarlo, Div. 135.

In today’s society, many people tend to be offended over politically incorrect statements such as “Merry Christmas”, but the point of a holiday greeting is not about guessing the correct holiday that someone is celebrating, but about sharing your own cheer for your holiday.

When someone says “Merry Christmas” to another, it should not be seen as assuming their religion, but them sharing a part of their belief or just tradition. Plus, if you want to wish people a happy celebration of their holiday: ask what they celebrate instead of just throwing out a generic greeting.

This is in some cases better than saying “Happy Holidays” because in such cases like Hanukkah, which in 2013 was in late November, what holiday would Jewish people be celebrating if you were to say that in mid- December.

People who don’t celebrate the holidays should realize that not everyone knows that this is a season where everyone comes together to be cheerful and joyous.

Overall, the debate between saying “ Merry Christmas “ and “ Happy holidays” still goes on and will probably continue. In the end let’s be honest— Christmas has become so hopelessly commercialized that the Hallmark shelves barely reflect the original intent. Christmas is not alone; all of these holidays that started with spiritual or cultural meanings seem to eventually get corrupted. Therefore, the best thing to do is to just ask or just say “Happy Holidays”.