Happy Holidays

That’s right, I said “Happy Holidays”. There are some people who seem to get upset at the use of “happy holidays” instead of Merry Christmas. Sometimes I tell people Merry Christmas, and sometimes I say Happy Holidays. There are two reasons for this. One, there are several other religions that celebrate holidays in December. A couple of people I know celebrate the winter solstice today. I hope they have a happy holiday.
You don’t always know what the other person celebrates. I remember one Christmas when I was just starting out as a journalist, I sent Christmas cards to all my contacts. One doctor I had interviewed came back with a slightly embarrassed “Thanks but I am Muslim.”
And I know what it is like to be on the other end. When I went to school in the US, in November I was constantly being wished a Happy Thanksgiving, no matter how much I explained that actually Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Bermuda. (Although, we sometimes go to the supermarket and buy Thanksgiving takeout.) It wasn’t offensive, but sort of annoying.
At this time of year I say, “Happy Holidays” because I am not so arrogant as to think that the faith was raised in is the only one that counts in the world. Second, I say Happy Holidays to incorporate New Years and Boxing Day which are also part of the season.
Christians also seem to complain a lot about “Xmas” thinking that somehow it means that Christ has been crossed out. Quite honestly I can’t imagine why a non religious person would choose to cross out Christ but leave the “mass” which indicates a period of worship.
Actually in this case X is more of a symbol than a letter of the English alphabet.”Xmas” has been used since the 1500s in England and seems to refer to the Greek way of writing “Chr”. In ancient Christian paintings the symbol, X and XP were used to denote Christ. Sometimes the symbol XC was used to mean Christmas. So Xmas is a case of just when you think Christ is missing, there he is.

Other words that use to commonly have an X include Xstal (Crystal), Xant for Chrysanthemum. In the 17th century Xene was a common way of spelling Christine.
So get a grip, Happy Holidays and Merry Xmas.

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