“Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas?”

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ANICA GRANEY / CLARION

Hannah Dotzler, Copy Editor

As the winter season approaches us, the question of whether it’s better to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” once again has arrived. Year after year, this topic becomes a big discussion. Many people insist that “Merry Christmas” is the best greeting to use during this time, while others argue that “Happy Holidays” better suits the season.

In my opinion, neither side is completely wrong. However, “Happy Holidays” may be slightly more appropriate at certain times than “Merry Christmas.”

There are several holidays that are celebrated throughout the month of December, including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Each of these holidays are celebrated by people depending on their cultures and religions. People who do not practice a religion may use this season as a time to simply celebrate love and gather with friends and family.

One of the amazing things about the United States is that it is a huge melting pot. This means that a wide variety of people from different cultures, religions, ethnicities and backgrounds live here. By using the phrase “Merry Christmas” exclusively, you could come across as only recognizing or honoring one group of people during this season of love and joy, when in reality, Christmas is just one of multiple holidays that is celebrated this month.

Now, of course, “Merry Christmas” certainly is not a bad phrase. If you know your friends and family celebrate Christmas, then by all means, continue saying the greeting to them. Just as if you have a friend who you know celebrates Hanukkah, you should greet them with a “Happy Hanukkah.”

A problem only arises when you are addressing people who you are not certain of which holiday (if any) they celebrate. The neutral, most appropriate phrase to use then would be “Happy Holidays.” It would be wrong to assume that someone or a group of people celebrate Christmas, when in reality, there are a variety of different holidays that they may observe.

I believe the United States is making a lot of progress towards welcoming diversity and inclusion. There is not one main reason why America often is so divided, but instead a bunch of small reasons. If you want to promote diversity and inclusion (which I think is something we should all be striving to do), start saying a simple “Happy Holidays” to strangers instead of “Merry Christmas” this winter season. It’s just a small thing, but it makes all the difference.