Calm down. “Happy Holidays” is not a hate crime.

Every year, Christians gather in their homes, pull down the shades, dim the lights and quietly celebrate the day that they have appropriated from the Pagans to honor the birth of their savior. They exchange token gifts, wrapped in plain brown paper, and softly sing traditional hymns, passed down through generations in secret. They must be careful, for outside their doors, there wages a war…on Christmas.

Oh. Wait.

That’s not what happens. In fact, Christmas is loudly and blindingly celebrated from Labor Day through New Year’s. There are parades. There are radio stations that play Christmas carols non-stop. There’s a federal holiday. “Do they know it’s Christmas?” the overplayed song asks. Yes, they do. Unless they’re blind, deaf shut-ins with no television, internet or radio. And even then, they probably got a Groupon on their phone for 50% off Christmas family portraits.

And yet every year, without fail, I hear about the WAR ON CHRISTMAS. It seems that the most violent act in this war is the use of the highly offensive phrase “Happy Holidays” (you guys have never seen Legends of the Fall, have you? Personally, I’d rather someone say a pleasant greeting to me than get mustard gassed in the face, tangled in barbed wire and shot with a machine gun, but I guess war is ugly no matter what the weapons). One organization even compiles a list every year of the retailers that are anti-Christmas, meaning that they use the phrase “Happy Holidays” in their ads.

Let’s take a moment to look at the various scenarios where one might hear this festive slur and the possible explanations for them, aside from the obvious “persecution of the large religious majority.”

At Wal-Mart

"Happy Holidays! Check out our great deals on imported Chinese turkeys."

What you hear: “Wal-Mart hates Christmas.”

What she’s saying: “Wal-Mart loves Christmas. It makes people spend like idiots, which is what this store is all about. But since market testing has determined that more people prefer it when I say ‘Happy Holidays,’ that’s what I do. If research proved that being punched in the face caused people to spend more money, corporate policy would call for me to physically attack you as you walked through the door.”

At the Post Office

"Now we're only delivering mail on Wednesdays, so these should get there some time in February. Happy holidays!"

What you hear: “The government is run by atheists. Inefficient atheists.”

What he’s saying: “Sure, it’s silly that individual government workers can’t greet people with phrases from our religion, but when Usman over there wished a woman ‘Happy Ramadan!’ a few months ago she actually pooped her pants. So we just keep it generic now.”

At the Grocery Store

"I have become an expert at looking non-judgmental even as I ring up your single-serving frozen meals and ten tubes of cookie dough. Happy holidays!"

What you hear: “Despite the fact that you’re obviously buying all of this cookie dough to make Christmas cookies and not to eat raw in bed while crying, I am going to wish you ‘Happy holidays’ as part of my calculated war on your favorite day.”

What she’s saying: “In hour nine of my 14-hour shift, another woman yelled at me for saying ‘Merry Christmas’ because she’s a Jehovah’s Witness. Now you’re yelling at me for saying ‘Happy Holidays.’ Do you all really have nothing more offensive going on in your lives?”

At Work

"Yeah, I got the Jesus ornament. It was very...Jesusy. Thanks. Happy holidays..."

What you hear: “I just don’t respect your religious choices.”

What she’s saying: “Please stop giving me Christmas presents. I’ve told you over and over again, I’m Jewish.”

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6 Responses to Calm down. “Happy Holidays” is not a hate crime.

  1. Melissa Renahan says:

    Talked to my inlaws last night and in addition to disliking our card this year bc it was not “Christmas-y enough”, my FiL asked Tim if we were communists bc I went the Happy Holidays route…in my defense, mainly bc the lettering fit better and oh yeah, who the hell cares? Yep. Realized I should leave this comment on here and not FB so that I am not accused of being unpatriotic or some nonsense.

  2. MR Joe says:

    God would have made “a holiday” if he wanted happy holidays
    Don’t you communist get it ?
    Merry Christmas-

  3. Ripatranzone says:

    I love Christmas so much because everyone is so miserable. I’m getting emotional just thinking of all the family fights and rampant debt people are incurring right now. :-0

  4. Anna Banana says:

    Someone please help me! I went into a store after December 1st and the clerk, after ringing up my purchase, said, “Have a nice day.” I’m freaking out! What do I do?

  5. Simply TheBest says:

    I’ve posted this article on my Facebook page every year for the past 3 years. My passive aggressive response to all the “Like if you say ‘Merry Christmas’, not ‘Happy Holidays'” and “Keep Christ in Christmas” posts. It’s an amazing article, thank you!

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