Why Saying “Happy Holidays” Doesn’t Bother Me

Red and Green Christmas bulbsTis the season for the “Christmas Wars” in Western society. My Facebook feed is filled with Christians lamenting the attack on Christmas by the government, businesses, liberals and virtually everybody else.

And, many Christians assume it is their responsibility to “fight back” in any way they can.

While it may be true to some extent that there is a “war” on Christmas, one phrase that usually becomes the rallying point among Christians is the phrase “Happy Holidays.”

Many retailers and businesses use “happy holidays” as a more politically correct replacement for “Merry Christmas.” And, as a result, some Christians will only shop at stores that require their employees to say “Merry Christmas.”

First, let me say I proudly celebrate Christmas. And, I don’t like forced multiculturalism that squeezes out American and European cultural history (which includes celebrating Christmas). However, I also recognize that in our secular country, not everybody is Christian, and if someone tells me “Happy Hanukkah” I’ll say thanks and wish them the same. To me, that is the decent and cool thing to do.

But, let me take an even different view, that as a Catholic, there are two reasons why I don’t mind “Happy Holidays” and even prefer it. 

First, we are in the Advent season; It isn’t Christmas until December 25th. When I wish someone “Happy Holidays” I mean that I hope they have a great Advent, and once it arrives, Christmas season. The only phrase that concisely says all of that is “Happy Holidays.” While stores that say it may not mean it this way, I think it fits.

Second, what does “holiday” mean? It means “holy day.” Even though the intention may be the opposite sometimes, when you are wished “Happy Holidays,” that includes a whole host of holy days, from St. Nicholas on December 6th  to Holy Family.

So, next time someone wishes you “Happy Holidays,” instead of feeling as if you are being “attacked,” relax and let it be a reminder to enjoy the rich selection of holidays that we celebrate during this time of year.

About David Bennett

David Bennett is an author, speaker, and small business owner. He started ChurchYear.Net in 2004, along with his brother Jonathan. The site gets over one million visitors a year, and Bennett's writings have appeared in church bulletins, newspapers, and other media.


  1. […] wrote a few years ago about how I don’t mind the phrase “Happy Holidays,” and even prefer it. This was in response to a slew of “I’m outraged” posts […]

  2. […] mention in this post that “Happy Holidays” is actually more reflective of the Catholic understanding of the […]

Leave a Reply