Thursday, December 22, 2011

The War on Happy Holidays

There is a lot of discontent among Christians and cultural traditionalists for the past decade or so regarding the use of "Happy Holidays" in place of "Merry Christmas". I have to admit that it just doesn't offend me to be wished Happy Holidays. Today I saw this on the Vortex...

 

 I'm not sure a Happy Holidays sign on a parish sign requires national attention with a rant like that. If you listen to what Mr. Voris says the motivation was, it was because parish didn't want to offend other people. Not wanting to offend someone is actually a good motivation. They are trying to do good by their actions. It is not evidence of a liberal cabal taking over the churches one by one. Placing a Happy Holidays sign on a church is unfortunate and misguided, but it is probably just an example of misplaced compassion. Growing up (way back in the 80s!) I heard Happy Holidays all the time. It never seemed offensive to me. I always assumed the well wisher made perfect sense. After all, we do celebrate more than one holiday...Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. It wasn't until much later that I heard it was being used to avoid saying Christmas.

Even if it is being used to avoid saying Christmas, there is a good chance that most people who use the hated Happy Holidays are doing so out of fear. To them it seems to be the right thing to do because our culture holds being non-offensive as it's highest virtue. Everyone wants to fit it, and that is normal human behavior. Man is a naturally social being.

I am not saying that we should just bow to the anti-Christian forces that know what they are doing. There are folks out there that are actively pushing for "Happy Holidays" and the disintegration of Christian culture. Those are the people we should fight, not cashiers at Boscov's and Macy's or parish secretaries. If your parish has a Happy Holidays sign then take it up with the pastor. It is your parish, after all. But I don't think embarrassing other parishes by publishing their phone number on a vlog will accomplish much of anything except to create an enemy. I liken this to a parish visitor calling the rectory on a Monday morning complaining they saw too many Extraordinary Ministers at Sunday Mass. How far do you think that will go?

If someone says "Happy Holidays" to you when you are checking out at a store, what do you say? Do you sneer and loudly say, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" Do you nicely smile and say, "You too!" Or perhaps you just nicely say "And have a Merry Christmas." I usually do the latter, given that I don't want to offend anyone. I suppose if you really want to educate the person you could respond "Oh, thank you, which ones?" then wait for the answer with a genuine (looking) smile on your face.

1 comment:

Mark of the Vineyard said...

In my country, which is a traditionally Catholic country, the equivalent of Happy Holidays has always been used along with Merry Christmas. And quite frankly, it is a festive Season: Christmas, New Years, Epiphany...

When growing up in the US as a kid I never understood Happy Holidays to be offensive, and living abroad now I still don't. Perhaps it's a question of context?

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton