Are you offended when people say “Happy Holidays?” If so, you’re not alone.
The controversy over the use, or more accurately lack of use, of the phrase “Merry Christmas” is, at its core, the religious right’s version of pronoun policing. The expectation that you are entitled to be addressed in a specific way by all people based entirely on your feelings, yet with no concern for the opinions or beliefs person addressing you, is a page right out of the radical liberal handbook. It’s hardly surprising, as our culture has an unhealthy obsession with victimhood, and everyone wants a piece of that pie. If this weren’t true, that whole Starbucks cup controversy wouldn’t have happened. Everyone seems to feel “entitled” to something based on who they are, how they look, or what they believe in.
However, it looks as though progressives are beginning to agree with the “Merry Christmas” controversy that the religious right have manufactured – but in an even more ridiculous way.
University of Central Florida professor Terri Susan Fine recently penned an article suggesting that all holiday greetings – “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah,” and even “Happy Holidays” – are offensive and culturally insensitive. Her suggestion? Replace them all with “Happy Federal Holiday.”
Not a joke.
Fine states that the issue is that Christmas is a major holiday for Christians, while Chanukah is a minor holiday on the calendar. Because of this, she argues that using “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Chanukah” is both insulting to Christians by implying that Christmas is a minor holiday, and insulting to Jews by denying “the holiness associated with the major Jewish holy days and festivals.”
Still not joking.
“In our efforts to be inclusive, we show cultural insensitivity both by equating one major holiday with a minor holiday and failing to recognize that diversity includes those who celebrate neither holiday,” she writes. Fine then turns her sights on “Happy Holidays.”
“Couldn’t ‘Happy Holidays’ be the most inclusive greeting because it is so non-specific? Yes, perhaps, but it is the non-specificity of ‘Happy Holidays’ that makes it inappropriate because it fails to recognize the importance of Christmas to Christians while it also suggests that Chanukah should be more important to Jews than the high holidays and festivals that come at other times during the year.”
Fine’s recommended solution to this problem is to substitute all holiday greetings with “Happy Federal Holiday.”
Happy. Federal. Holiday.
All of these greetings – “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah,” “Happy Holidays,” “Happy Festivus,” or even this weird new “Happy Federal Holiday” – are essentially seasonal versions of “Have a nice day.” None of them are offensive. They are not offensive to Christians, to Jews, to atheists, to anyone, any more than it is offensive to say “bless you” when someone sneezes. It is ridiculous to be insulted by well wishes from a polite person. That’s what the radical left calls “microaggressions” and “benevolent sexism” and other fictional offenses that were created in order to portray innocent conversations as some sort of privilege and oppression.
These people could very easily tell us to go kick rocks, but they’re instead wishing us well in the most meaningful way to them. Maybe we should all stop being offended by something so sincere and positive and just say “thanks.”
Liz Finnegan is a soulless ginger with no political leanings. Pun enthusiast. Self-proclaimed “World’s Okayest Person.” Retro gaming contributor for The Escapist.
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