Happy Holidays


This is our 14-year-old daughter, Katie. We told her to put on her best teenager for our annual Christmas card and she nailed it.

Rena and I cooked up this idea to show how exasperating this time of year can be. So much seems to have to happen so fast. And we’re all expected to be so damn happy about it.

Christmas’ many dimensions — not all of them good — are confusing and exasperating. For me, it can ring with insincerity.

So I was refreshed to hear a sermon not long ago refuting the movement to stop saying “Happy Holidays,” and “put Christ back into Christmas.” The pastor pointed out that Christmas started long before Christ as a Pagan holiday celebrating the winter solstice. She said the spirit of Christmas is a spirit of rebirth, renewal, of turning toward brighter days ahead. It is this spirit of joy and good will that is important this time of year, not the semantics of a particular branch of a particular religion.

That rang true.

In our world, we have more in common than in conflict. The more people celebrating joy and love and compassion, the better. I don’t care what they call it.

11 thoughts on “Happy Holidays

  1. “In our world, we have more in common than in conflict. The more people celebrating joy and love and compassion, the better. I don’t care what they call it.” This is so, so true. Beautifully written, T.

  2. If you “don’t care what they call it” then why do you find it so refreshing to hear a sermon refuting the use of “Happy Holidays?” The latter phrase actually is a movement to recognize the unity many of us have in celebrating….something special (however you define it)….at this time of year, without excluding anyone. If you call it “Christmas” then you refer directly to the celebration of Christ’s birth, alienating many, many people who celebrate something else at this time of year. Historically, celebrations at this time of year began as a celebration of the turning of the Wheel, or the rebirth of the Sun at the Winter Solstice. Christ was added later. If we want to embrace something that we ALL share, without saying Happy Holidays (which encompasses ALL celebrations and beliefs), then I suggest we revert to the original phrase that happened at this time of year, and one which is critical to everyone’s existence as human beings (though we may not know it)–the celebration of the Winter Solstice and the return of light. So, “Yuletide Greetings” to you! Does that work for you? Please remember that many, many people do not share your religious beliefs and, in my opinion, it is important to allow room for others to express their beliefs which they hold as dear to their hearts as you do yours. Happy Holidays to all!

    • Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. The sermon I heard refuted the movement to use the phrase, “Merry Christmas,” not “Happy Holidays.” So I think you and I agree here, and I love the phrase “Yuletide Greetings.” I resolve to use that at least once today. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Ah ha. I see now that you said “…refuting the movement to STOP saying, ‘Happy Holidays” I wasn’t reading carefully enough! And consequently, couldn’t understand how you missed the irony of your post. 🙂 Everything makes sense to me now. Sorry for the mistake!

  4. Tom, Rena, and Katie.. Yuletide Greetings. Happy Holidays. Good Beginnings. Thank you for this post that is all-inclusive. You are putting your arms around the world.

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