2007 December 18 Tuesday
Happy Holidays? Which Holidays?

The VDare reporting on the War Against Christmas (and parts II and III) reminds me of how annoying the term "Happy Holidays" really is. Happy Holidays? Which holidays exactly? Easter? Halloween? Why, in the month of December, do commercials say "Happy Holidays" and they don't say it before Thanksgiving or Labor Day?

Granted, Christmas and New Year's Day come in quick succession, a mere week apart. But the sales in the department stores aren't for New Years gifts. Santa doesn't hook up his reindeer and ride to hundreds of millions of homes on New Year's Day. We do not put up New Years trees or New Years lights. Christmas is the holiday event of the year in the United States and in many other Western countries as well.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. And to hell with Happy Holidays.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 December 18 08:33 PM  Cultural Wars Western

Buckaroo said at December 19, 2007 6:10 AM:

The whole Feast-Whose-Name-Shall-Not-Be-Mentioned fatwa is now reaching sublimely absurd or perhaps chillingly Orwellian depths [it generally feels like the latter]. A recent example (and there are many to choose from): a commercial on local radio starts with a hearty "Ho Ho Ho", followed by, wait for it, "Happy Holidays". That's right, Santa Claus himself is now prohibited from mentioning the celebration that is his raison d'etre.
I have spotted some attempts at rearguard action, though. Another radio station has been playing, and playing up, Christmas songs and using the forbidden word with abandon. Even more stunning, they have played such explicitly religious songs as Boney M's "Mary's Boy Child". Not the most sophisticated musical achievement perhaps, but still a happy, bouncy song that actually knows what the "Holidays" are about.

RKU said at December 19, 2007 12:17 PM:

Well, I'm hardly "anti-Christmas" but I've always thought "Happy Holidays" makes more sense as a standard phrase.

The problem is that Christmas and New Years' really are very close together and the phrase "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" is just too long. Also, I've always thought that "Merry" Christmas sounded a little silly, since the word is otherwise almost never used in modern English.

momochan said at December 20, 2007 1:01 PM:

RP, the rest of the year you post entries that completely discount the Genesis version of creation. If you don't take the Garden of Eve story to be literally true, then you don't believe in Original Sin, right? If you don't believe OS, then you don't believe in Jesus' mission, which was to save us from said sin. Just once a year you suspend all that and say "Merry Christmas"?

Randall Parker said at December 20, 2007 7:19 PM:


First of all, I can sincerely wish people well in their celebration of some belief without embracing that belief myself.

Second, as for Original Sin: I see it as a rough approximation of human nature that gets closer to what we are like than a great many other theories of human nature which have come along more recently. We are selfish and will cheat and lie and do wrong for reasons deep in our nature. While I see this as a result of our genetic nature I think Christians are more realistic about human nature than, say, secular liberals or Marxists.

Engineer-Poet said at December 21, 2007 9:59 AM:

VDARE.COM is getting very, very whiny with this persecution schtick.  The recent Athena Kerry piece is a prime example; anybody who might want to say "Happy Holidays" because they don't wish to imply that someone celebrates Christmas rather than Hanukka is somehow "un-American".  We can condemn racial separatist holidays without implying that Jews are second-class citizens, and the irony is that they have no room to condemn "Feliz Navidad".

The sad part is that this "war on Christmas" rhetoric puts them on the side of the thugs who attacked the Jew for answering "Happy Hanukka" to their "Merry Christmas" (on Hanukka no less), allowing a Muslim to become the hero of the story.  Idiotic.

Bob Badour said at December 21, 2007 4:04 PM:

I agree with you Randall.

If I wish someone Merry Christmas who happens not to be Christian, I still expect they will be alive and probably have the day off work on December 25. They can be merry, or they can be miserable. I prefer they be merry, and I wish it upon them.

If anyone responds with "Happy Hanukka", I will answer "Thank you!". Well-wishes are well-wishes regardless of the date or the religion.

As an atheist, it's not like I have a team in the ring.

momochan said at December 27, 2007 2:05 PM:
First of all, I can sincerely wish people well in their celebration of some belief without embracing that belief myself.
There are other greetings that are customary to various religions, seaonsoal or otherwise -- but you and I both don't go around mouthing them. So the whole "Merry Christmas" thing of recent years is basically a show of tribal identification to you. You're showing that you're not one of those other groups who shall remain nameless.
Second, as for Original Sin: I see it as a rough approximation of human nature that gets closer to what we are like than a great many other theories of human nature which have come along more recently.
Original Sin paints everyone as evil, no matter how they actually behave, with the only hope of redemption being divine intervention. Whereas you actually believe that genetic engineering can make babies that are more 'moral' (less socially destructive). You believe that chemical intervention might help a certain fraction of current sinners. And I agree with you there.

Evolution is about strategies that work, and sometimes what works is other-destructive, and sometimes it's altruistic. I think this explains better than OS can as to why people are both good and bad. Evolution also explains violence and altruism among animals, which OS cannot because they are outside of that theology.

Randall Parker said at December 27, 2007 4:41 PM:


I certainly prefer the Christian tribe to the Muslim tribe. Christians aren't my enemies. Muslims most certainly are.

Those other groups: Well, the people who want get everyone off of Christianity do seem to be pushing replacement belief systems that look worse to me.

Yes, a really scientific biological view of humanity is more accurate than the Original Sin model. But I can't get most people to look at humanity with a fully scientific model. Most people lack the intellectual capacity to do so.

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