December 18, 2013

Holiday greetings -- the great debate

Facebook question prompts many responses


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Want to start a vigorous debate?

Just ask whether store clerks should say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” to customers this time of year.

You are guaranteed a flood of strong feelings.

A recent Speakout shared this viewpoint: “If employees don’t greet customers with Merry Christmas, you shouldn’t be allowed to do business in this country.”

We posted that comment on the Press-Republican Facebook page and asked followers: What do you think about the whole issue?

We were buried under more than 60 responses within a couple of hours.

Here’s a sampling:

Cheryl Ketterer Nadrowski: “Isn’t it more important that whatever greeting is used ... the clerk is professional and polite. Why if someone wishes you a Merry Christmas ...Happy Kwanza....etc. can’t we simply smile say: ‘Thank you...and you as well?’”

Vince O’Driscoll: “If someone is offended by ‘Happy Holidays,’ then I suggest he/she seek therapy. This is a ridiculous debate. To assume that every single person to enter a store is Christian is self-centered, close-minded and exclusionary. If someone is Jewish, and the clerk wishes him/her Merry Christmas, should he/she declare a ‘War on Hanukkah?’”

Kathryn Roushia: “I really don’t see why people have to get all bent out of joint if people say happy holidays. It is a HOLIDAY!!!!! And there are other religious HOLIDAYS that people celebrate other than Christmas. I’ve known families who celebrate Hanukkah & Christmas, so should I then say Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah to everyone as well. What about Kwanzaa? It’s really close minded to assume EVERYONE celebrates the same holiday.”

Elizabeth Rowe: “I would be happy with a smile and a thank you..”

Rebecca Lawrence: “It should be Happy Holidays as Christmas isnt the only holiday that we celebrate during this time! Why should we be rude to anyone?!”

Sierra Spoor: “As long as they are greeting at least ‘Happy Holidays’ with a smile and great attitude that should be all that matters. Ppl put way more into it than need be!!”

Alan Deyoe: “Political correctness is not just an oxymoron! But also getting too extreme and dividing our country too much. If I get ‘Happy Holidays,’ I respond with ‘Merry Christmas.’ I have no desire to celebrate Kwanzaa, and my Jewish friends have never had a problem with someone wishing them Merry Christmas when they didn’t know they were Jewish. But to attend a ‘Holiday party’ or ‘Holiday concert’ where standard Christmas songs and Christmas trees and Christmas greetings abound, then shows the insanity levels of the PC police. Merry Christmas!”

Virginia Siskavich: “Yes! We should be outraged if people wish us happiness and good tidings! Only misery is allowed in the United States! That this is even a debate is ridiculous. People should just learn to say ‘thank you.’

Lisa Lawrence: “I think that it can be a very busy time of year, and if the person waiting on me is pleasant and trying their best, I’m satisfied. If they want to use a greeting appropriate to the season, that is just fine matter what it is.”

Bob Peryea: “It doesn’t matter to me either way. I always felt when someone says happy holidays they are meaning the whole holiday season including New Years.”

Shane Murray: “This is a debate which can only spark anger and division among people. December into January has Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day. These are Holidays... plural... Happy Holidays means enjoy this time of year, no matter which you do or do not celebrate. It is not a slight on Christ, it is not sacrilege, it is not meant to be offensive. If anyone finds Happy Holidays offensive, they are the ones being narrow minded and discriminatory. Just smile and enjoy life; it isn’t supposed to be so confrontational.”

Joelyn VanEss: “If you are offended by someone kindly wishing you ‘Happy Holidays’ then maybe YOU shouldn’t be shopping in our stores. You’d be complaining if people were rude to you ... Now you’re complaining that they are being nice?!”

Jan Washburn: “We need to be tolerant and happy this time of year. Smile and say whatever you like. I’ll gratefully accept the greeting.”

Fred V Provoncha: “I have to admit that it totally surprises me when so many stores depend on Christmas shoppers, then turn Christians off by saying ‘Happy Holidays’... Once upon a time I worked in advertising for a large metropolitan newspaper. We always tried to figure out where our bread was, and then we buttered it...”

Shirley Vann: “Definitely Merry Christmas. Without Christ’s birth there would be no Christmas.”

Kevin Lee Lareau: “I feel too many people have lost the true meaning of the holidays that it really doesnt matter anymore. Happy holidays to those of you who appreciate the simple little things about this time of yr!”

Mark A. Mathews: “The word HOLIDAY has its roots in the words HOLY DAYS. So, in reality, it is an appropriate greeting, even more so than ‘Merry Christmas’, which has its roots in secular advertisement.”

Jessie William Vowles: “Kwanzaa occurs this time of year and usually Channukah as well. Christmas also falls on a pagan holiday. Saying happy holidays does seem more logical.”

Chad Baker: “These questions are great at learning which people in our community think only of themselves (’this is what I celebrate so this is what I say!’) and those who think of others. Once again community, that you for not disappointing.”

Jason Thompson: “We have become politically correct, so to speak.. let’s not say Christmas, let’s say holidays, let’s not say God in the pledge which is part of what this country is built on, let’s not allows Christmas trees in school or Christmas plays we may offend someone.. well. I say I am offended, offended that my kids can’t practice their beliefs in Christmas without being corrected, being told don’t say God when you say the pledge, can’t do certain things in their class cause someone else doesn’t participate in Christmas or Halloween, I have lost a job due to being unwilling to my belief of saying ‘merry Christmas’ not ‘happy holidays’.. so I say suck it up; it’s not said to be offensive to anyone.”

Taylor Rock: “It’s easy to diss on the paper, and just say this is unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but really, if the community can’t learn from one another about something as seemingly simple as how to be socially and religiously tolerant/accepting, how can you ever hope to learn from each other on even more divisive topics? Personally, I get that Christmas is obviously the predominant north country celebration this time of year, but I don’t see how it hurts if a store clerk who is unaware of a customer’s background to wish them ‘happy holidays’ and show acceptance for other beliefs. Why can’t that be just as good as saying ‘merry Christmas’ anyways? It’s the intent and goodwill of the person speaking that matters, not necessarily the phrase used.”

Janice Bessette: “If someone says ‘Happy Holidays’ to me, I just respond with ‘Merry Christmas,’ it gets my point across, and I haven’t been rude to them. WWJD”

Sue Pecue: “This is still a free country, say what you want to say & don’t be afraid to believe in what ever you want. It’s your life & there are no second chances. I believe in God therefore I will always say merry Christmas & God bless you.”

Ann N Arnold: “This country has always been a melting pot. The Pilgrims came here for religious freedom, so there are many religions in the USA, not just Christianity. I feel that Happy Holidays covers us all, and in my mind it means Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. For someone else, it could mean something else, and what’s wrong with that? It’s a season of good will towards All after all.”



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