Greet your family and friends a warm Happy Holidays this coming yuletide season. Be sure to spread the happiness and joy that the holiday brings by greeting.
A colleague made a curious statement when she returned to New York recently from London, "Everything was so Christmas-y there."
At first glance, it's a bizarre statement. New York and London (among other cities in both countries) are decked out for the holidays. Who hasn't heard of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree or London's Oxford Street lights and mince pies? And that's to say nothing of the famous storefront windows all aglow.
But look beyond the seasonal window treatments at Macy's and you'll quickly find a different story. In corporate America, everything is "happy holidays". Ads refer to "holiday shopping", end-of-year office soirees are "holiday parties" and kids' school concerts this time of year are "holiday concerts". You get the idea.
Even at the Guardian, when we put up our Christmas tree in the New York office, the first thing one of our interns said was, "Where's the menorah?"
It's the "politically correct" question. Evergreens and menorahs go hand in hand in most public places in the US. Some offices have gone a step further on the PC scale and simply done "winter wonderland" themed decorations. They have silver, gold and white lights aplenty, but no red and green anything. In short, snow globes are fine, Santa is not.
An annual survey that came out last week revealed just how conflicted Americans are on whether it's better to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" this time of year. Half of America prefers one term and half the other. However, in a business or public setting, nearly two-thirds of those under 30 feel it's better to wish someone the more generic Happy Holidays. It's about trying to be polite in an increasingly diverse society.
I see the trend just by looking at the greeting cards I've received this year in the mail and how people are signing off their emails. The majority wish me something along the lines of: happy holidays, peace, warm wishes for the New Year, and my least favorite, "seasons greetings". The cards have nice images of mittens, ice skates and snow covered landscapes (not to mention photos of cute kids), but not much overtly Christmas-y. They offer me everything jolly and merry this time of year, except a Merry Christmas.
I'm not to saying that Christmas isn't prominently visible in the states. There are still plenty of Santas and pine trees for sale here, and a drive around the neighborhood, especially in parts of America outside of the major cities, and you'll see people go all out with the Christmas lights and decorations outside their homes (there's even a TV show about it). But even people who are clearly celebrating Christmas in their homes tend to be conflicted about what to say in the workplace or at school. No one wants to offend anyone or make assumptions about people's religious beliefs, especially at work.
In America, the term "Christmas" still has a strongly religious connotation to it (despite what years of Santa and the "buy buy buy" mentality have done to the spirit of holiday). That's only further reinforced by claims on Fox News and other conservative outlets that there is a "war on Christmas" and, by extension, a war on the Christian faith. Now wishing people a "Merry Christmas" almost has a political tone to it.
What's striking to anyone who has spent time in the UK is that everyone says Merry (or Happy) Christmas. I've even had Muslim friends in the UK send me cards and write Merry Christmas on my Facebook wall. The saying in Britain seems to have lost its religious meaning. People say it regardless of whether or not they celebrate Christmas, and businesses feel no remorse whatsoever at openly calling things "Christmas sales" or "Christmas parties".
Of course, I am making broad generalizations. As a British friend reminded me, the UK has been celebrating Saturnalia long before Christmas, and plenty of places such as Birmingham have generic Winterval celebrations. Christmas isn't ubiquitous.
But by and large, in two diverse societies with similar roots, Americans have opted to try to find neutral sounding holiday greetings, while Brits have chosen to make Christmas as open to everyone as possible.
Personally, I think the Brits have this one right. I'd rather be able to wish people a Merry Christmas this week without having to worry if they'll be offended. I'd also rather have people wish me Happy Hanukkah, Happy Diwali or Eid Mubarak when those holidays come around. It makes me feel more a part of their celebration. Let's call each holiday what it is instead of trying to lump Jewish, Christian and even the Kwanzaa ritual together. If we need a generic holiday, we've already got the New Year, which touches all people and cultures.
Telling someone to "enjoy your holiday" or worse, sending them "seasons greetings" are cop-outs. Instead of feeling more diverse and inclusive, it just feels like someone took a bit of sparkle out of the December festivities.
Happy Holiday Greetings! Holidays come as a blissful release from all the hustle and bustles that usually marks our daily lives. Special holidays such as.
Seasonal greetings have never been so controversial.
In recent years, the debate over whether to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” has become as reliable a post-Thanksgiving tradition as the Black Friday shopping craze.
Like many issues these days, the great holiday greeting debate tends to separate along political lines as much as religious ones. According to a poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute in 2016, 66 percent of Democrats said that stores and businesses should greet customers with “Happy Holidays,” “Season’s Greetings” or some other general greeting, rather than “Merry Christmas,” as a show of respect for different religious faiths; only 28 percent of Republicans felt the same.
Setting aside politics, what’s the history behind the different greetings? How did a simple salutation get so controversial?
Much like “Merry Christmas,” it turns out that “Happy Holidays” also has religious roots. Both are derived from Old English: Christmas comes from “Cristes Maesse,” or the Mass of Christ, the first usage of which (in 1038) described the mass held to commemorate Christ’s birth. As for “holiday,” the word emerged in the 1500s as a replacement of the earlier medieval word “haliday,” which itself had supplanted the Old English “haligdæg,” meaning holy day.
Recently, an investigation into the history of the phrase “Happy Holidays” as a seasonal greeting in the United States by self-described history nerd Jeremy Aldrich turned up its usage as early as 1863, in the Philadelphia Inquirer. By the middle of the 20th century, the phrase was well established in popular usage, as shown in a study of ads run by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in Carolina Magazine from 1935 to 1942 to encourage giving the gift of tobacco.
A 1937 ad proclaimed: “A gift of Camels says, ‘Happy Holidays and Happy Smoking!’” Other ads from the 1930s and early 1940s stuck to “Season’s Greetings,” but all featured jolly, grinning Santa Clauses, reindeer, Christmas trees and other recognizable Christmas symbols.
As Andrew McGill wrote in The Atlantic in 2016, Christians have exchanged the greeting “Happy Holidays” among themselves for decades, most with the understanding that the “holidays” meant the season of Advent, the four-Sunday cycle on that includes Christmas and ends on the Feast of the Epiphany. But Christmas turned from a religious occasion to a largely secular one for many people, the phrase “Happy Holidays” also expanded its usage, becoming a more universal greeting used to include people of various religions, and even a nod to the New Year.
Controversy over phrasing rarely figured in to historical presidential holiday greetings. In the book Season’s Greetings From the White House, first published in 1996 and updated in 2007, author Mary Evans Seeley offers details of presidential Christmas cards, messages and gifts through the years. Back in the 1950s, her research shows, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s holiday cards read “Season’s Greetings.” Later presidents, from John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, also tried not to alienate non-Christians in their holiday missives.
But in 2005, just as the idea of a “War on Christmas” was gaining momentum in conservative circles, critics spoke out against President George W. Bush’s omission of the word “Christmas” from his White House holiday card. At that time, Seeley told the Washington Post that the last time a presidential holiday card had mentioned Christmas was 1992, during the administration of Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush.
The great holiday greeting debate doesn’t seem to be reflected in the history of greeting cards themselves, which have a long tradition of varied offerings for the holiday season. Hallmark, founded by J.C. Hall in 1910, started producing its own greeting cards in 1915.
“The company’s first line of Christmas cards prominently featured the sentiments ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘Christmas Greetings’ and ‘Season’s Greetings’ on the front of each design,” says Samantha Bradbeer, archivist and historian for Hallmark Cards, Inc. Other sentiments, such as “Joyful Greetings” and “Yuletide Greetings” also appeared on early 20th century cards, Bradbeer explains, but they weren’t as frequently used as the Christmas greetings.
Over the years, Hallmark has expanded its options to reflect consumer trends and incorporate more religious and cultural backgrounds; Hanukkah cards were added in the 1950s, and Kwanzaa greetings were introduced in the 1990s.
On greeting cards, Starbucks coffee cups and in everyday conversation, history shows people have chosen from a diverse selection of ways to express goodwill around the holiday season. So while the debate over appropriate holiday greetings shows no signs of being resolved any time soon, there’s one thing we can all keep in mind. Whether you choose to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” sincerely wishing someone else well at this time of year—or any time, really—is never a bad idea.
President Donald Trump says he was "proud to have led the charge against the assault" on the phrase "merry Christmas," but the 45th president was actually using his hated phrase—"happy holidays"—before he turned into America's self-proclaimed defender in the "war on Christmas."
Back in December 2010, when President Barack Obama was in office, the former reality-TV star spread some Yuletide cheer with his Twitter followers and failed to use the very phrase he recently alleged was under attack.
"Wishing everyone a very Happy Holiday season!" Trump wrote at the time.
Trump has often accused Obama of not saying "merry Christmas" during the holiday season. But, as he did every year of his presidency, Obama wished all of his followers a "merry Christmas" on Twitter on Monday.
"On behalf of the Obama family, Merry Christmas. We wish you joy and peace this holiday season," he wrote.
In addition to his presidential social media accounts, Obama wished Americans "merry Christmas" in his yearly holiday video while in office. He was also caught on film using the phrase while addressing citizens and giving speeches during his tenure.
The controversy surrounding the holiday phrases was launched by religious conservatives who maintained that saying "happy holidays" instead of "merry Christmas" was an attempt to rid the season of its Christian significance.
Trump apparently agrees and has expressed his disdain for retailers, instructing employees to say "happy holidays" instead of "merry Christmas" during the holidays. While on the campaign trail in 2015, he even vowed to "make Christmas great again" by requiring people to greet others with "merry Christmas," not "happy holidays."
"If I become president, we're going to be saying 'merry Christmas' at every store," he said during one rally.
Happy Holidays! It's time to celebrate the joy and warmth of the season and spread happiness among everyone you know. Choose from our wide range of.
Christmas is coming… After it, the new year of 2018 is following… Holiday season has already started. Aren’t you busy at preparing gifts and writing greeting cards? If you need some gift inspiration, check out Ideas of Gifts with Chinese Elements; if you want to write greeting cards in Chinese, I have some phrases and sentences for you:
Jìng zhù shèngdàn, gōnghè xīn xǐ
Merry Christmas and happy new year.
Xiànshàng zuì chéngzhì de jiérì zhùfú
Best wishes on this holiday season.
Zhí cǐ jiājié, zhù nǐ quánjiā shèngdàn kuàilè.
Wishing you and yours a merry Christmas this holiday season.
Wǒmen zhù nǐ shèngdàn kuàilè.
We wish you a merry Christmas.
Yuàn nǐ yǒu yīgè yín báisè de shèngdàn.
Wishing you a white Christmas
Xīn nián kuài lè
Happy New Year
Everything goes well
Xīn xiǎng shì chéng
May all your wishes come true
Suì suì píng’ān
Peace all year round
Yuàn nǐ suǒyǒu de xīnnián xiǎng dōu chéng zhēn!
Hope all your New Year dreams come true!
Yuàn xīnnián de kuàilè yī nián sìjì cháng zài.
May the joy of New Year be with you throughout the year.
Zhùfú nín, xīnnián kuàilè.
Season’s greetings and best wishes for the New Year.
Zhù nǐ zài xīn de yī nián lǐ jiànkāng, kuàilè.
Wishing you health and happiness in the year to come.
Zhù nín nián nián píng’ān, suì suì jíxiáng.
May peace, happiness and good fortune be always with you .
* Feel free to share the greeting cards to your family and friends! Happy holidays to all of you!
Browse our guide on holiday card messages and wishes to find the perfect saying for your loved ones, business, and more this holiday season.