Christmas and the English Language

Do you say “Merry Christmas or “Happy Holidays”?  Many have noted the prominence of the “Happy Holidays” phrasing, arguing that it’s part of what some have called the War on Christmas.  I don’t really think there’s a well-organized  war against Christmas, but it’s undeniable that the real meaning behind Christmas has been hijacked by retailers in the name of the almighty profit.

As a die hard capitalist I have no problem with the retailers’ Christmas marketing; however, businesses that force their employees to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” ought to be shamed out of business.  I get very annoyed when people say “Happy Holidays,” mainly because the phrase is vague and meaningless.  I don’t see it as some huge conspiracy against Jesus as some do, but it still bothers me from a language standpoint, and here’s why:

  1. “Happy Holidays” takes longer to say.  “Merry Christmas” is four syllables, and “Happy Holidays” is five.  Why use a longer phrase when a shorter one will do?
  2. “Happy Holidays” is imprecise.  What other holiday could you be talking about other than Christmas?  New Year’s Eve? Why don’t you just wait until after Christmas to wish someone a happy new year and stop being so vague.  If you want to wish someone a merry Christmas,  just go out and say it!  It doesn’t offend anyone.  Plenty of Jews have wished me a merry Christmas, just as I wished them a happy Hanukkah.   Which brings me to my final point.
  3. “Happy Holidays” is a bunch of politically correct gobbledygook.  Someone somewhere at sometime got the idea that mentioning Christmas offended people.  I DON’T KNOW ANYONE WHO IS OFFENDED BY CHRISTMAS!  We need to stop using such horrible language to describe things.  We now have complicated terms for race, religion, politics, etc.  We’ve become a bunch of wusses at the same time that our language has been wussified.  I would argue that by making our language P.C., the thought police have turned our entire society into a weak and pathetic shell of a country.  Until we stop being afraid of offending someone, no one will be afraid of us.  No wonder all these little shit-stains like North Korea think they can mess with us.

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