Merry Christmas? Happy Holidays? Umm…I'm Not Sure How to Greet People Anymore.

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I was raised Roman Catholic.  My grandparents were devout Catholics. Religion played a large role in our family. I grew up with friends of various faiths, religions, and cultural backgrounds. In college and university, most of the people I hung out with were Jewish. Being included in Seder dinners were the highlight of my year back then! I took everything in and marveled at the traditions different from my own. To this day, my friends know that if you share a knish, latke, matzo ball soup or gefilte fish with me, I’m your best friend forever. I ended up marrying someone who belonged to the United Church. I thought my grandmother was going to be upset. I knew how pious she was. Her response when I told her Hubby was United was, “It’s okay! We all believe in the same God.” My friends are Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Anglican, United, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Baha’i,  etc. It never really mattered to any of us. Though religion and faith are a large part of who a person is or becomes, it does not define them. What matters most is the way people treat one another. I realize writing all of those religions in the same sentence may anger some. I really don’t mean to offend (and, I hope I’m not!) anyone by including everyone in the same sentence. To me, it’s all about the person. It’s the mutual respect and love for people as human beings. Every December, I run into the same dilemma. How do I address the Holiday Season to people of various faiths and religions? I used to send out Christmas cards, but then some friends mentioned that they felt it offensive because they didn’t celebrate Christmas. To me, it was more about the message of love and thanks…and also a simple “I’m thinking of you”. I started sending out Happy Hanukkah cards and Happy Kwanzaa cards, etc. I soon discovered it was too hard for me to keep up with all the different celebrations. I still wanted to let people know I was thinking of them, so I started sending out  generic/non-religious Happy Holidays cards. It didn’t sit right with me though. I felt that I wasn’t celebrating the religion I believe in. I do realize saying Merry Christmas to people on the street, at the bank, at the mall, and at restaurants may be a faux pas, because there are many who do not celebrate Christmas and may take offense. At the same time, is it okay to say Happy Christmaskkah or Merry Kwanzmaskkah? Hmmm… I thought this Ben Stein commentary was interesting.  I even checked out some more Ben Stein info on Snopes (because I’m nerdy like that). For me, no matter what your faith is or what you believe in, Merry Christmas to me means offering kindness and love to all. What are your thoughts? How do you greet people during the Holidays? What are your opinions on things like “the holiday tree instead of Christmas tree” or “Holiday party instead of Christmas party”? To all of our friends, family, readers, fellow Blogaholics, & the rest of the PTPA team: Our warmest wishes, whatever Holiday you are celebrating! **This post is cross-posted here.

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