Yes Virginia It Is Okay to Say Happy Holidays! 11

Dear Readers,

Generally I avoid discussions about religion. I am a Christian, but I believe in tolerance in all forms, and I am grateful for those who understand the need for tolerance of differences, so yes Happy Holidays is correct. I know some of my Christian friends are going to disagree with me on this one. I only hope you will hear me out before you attack.

I watched Have a Little Faith, the movie inspired by Mitch Albom’s book by the same name, earlier this week and I fell in love with two deceased men, Rabbi Albert L. Lewis and Pastor Henry Covington. When Albom asked Rabbi Lewis why he supports others of different faiths he replied, “Why Tree’s….Why not one prefect tree for the whole earth?” He went on to explain there are oaks and elms, etc. Then he said, “Many trees, the branches all leading to God.” He explained that hate is wrongly engaged in the name of religion for all religions teach, “Honor thy neighbor!” Did I say I love this man?

Yes, Christ is in Christmas and he should remain there; however, even some Christians celebrate more than just Christmas during December. For instance, December sixth is Saint Nicholas Day. In German culture: Europeans celebrate St. Nicholas Day activities (pictures) – National Germany Headlines |

December eighth is Feast of the Immaculate Conception | Saint of the Day |

Another Feast Day – Our Lady of Guadalupe | Saint of the Day | starts on December twelfth. Yes Christmas is the basis for these, but they are not technically Christmas.

Then, we have other religions that are practiced in the United States and around the world that should also be honored. December fifth was The Day of ‘Ashura, a religious observance marked every year by Muslims. The word ‘Ashura literally means “10th,” as it is on the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islāmic year.

The Buddhist community celebrates Bodhi Day on December eighth. You can read about it at: How To Celebrate Bodhi Day |

The Jewish community celebrates Hanukkah from December twenty-first through December twenty-eighth. Read about it: Rabbi Barry A. Kenter: Hanukkah: Not Quite the Jewish Christmas.

Then there is the religion I know the least about, BBC – Religions – Zoroastrian: At a Glance. They celebrate Zarathosht Diso on December twenty-sixth.

December twenty-second is The Winter Solstice Wicca and Pagan Festival: Wiccans Celebrate Shortest Day at the Celtic Festival of Yule |

You might notice I left the Hindu and Taoist religions out. They do not have celebrations in December although they do in other months.

I wish all of my readers around the world Happy Holidays!


  1. I agree that tolerance in all forms is important, especially in regards to religion. The worst thing, in my opinion, is to try to force a religious belief that is not truly felt or to create an environment in which such behavior is beneficial for survival or prosperity. Some of the worst crimes in the world have been religious crimes.

    That being said, I find any version of well-wishes to be appropriate, whether it’s Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or others. Sometimes the words matter, but sometimes it’s the sentiment that matters most.

  2. Happy Winter Solstice….whatever belief you espouse, this time of year is one of re-birth, gathering and celebration. The ritual of joining together with all to celebrate renewal of life and the meaning of life surpasses the limitations of any religion. Celebrate life and all of our attempts to make it better for all….

    • Yes Phil, it is definitely about re-birth, gathering and celebration and I agree that should surpass any religious limitations. It is too bad everyone does not see it that way.

  3. Wonderful post, Sue! As a Jew who grew up celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah together and as an adult Jew who married a Catholic but is dabbling in Buddhism, I think people should be able to say what they want (uhh….freedom of speech anyone?) I personally say Happy Holidays as default. But I’ll say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or whatever else if it’s appropriate. At the end of the day, you’re wishing someone well, which you should do no matter what. It’s just that this time of year, “have a good day” turns into something to celebrate the holidays of the year. I say Happy Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving and Happy Valentine’s Day on Feb 14 and Happy New Year of Dec 31. I know those aren’t religious holidays per se but to me it’s the same thing.

    So…since you say Merry Christmas, I’ll say it right back. Merry Christmas! And Aloha! 🙂

    • MBA Mommy,
      I am so glad you like it and that you stopped by to tell me. Thank you for Merry Christmas! I hope you have a Happy Hanukkah too!

      I have to tell you I took an Eastern religion class in college and I love many of the Buddhist beliefs. Plus, being in Hawaii and being married to a Chinese American, we honor his Chinese grandparents by taking things to their graves on the Chinese holidays. I also made a point of teaching my children through stories about their Chinese heritage. Many of the holidays are Buddhist and Taoist in origin.

  4. Mert,
    My ancestors have been in the United States since before 1700, but the other religions I mention all believe in the same God too. Ironically, some of my family members were French Hugenots who escaped to Switzerland, then Holland and finally to Virginia to escape religious persecution. Yet, they married my Scottish ancestors and then later my English and Welsh ancestors because they were more open-minded than you appear to be.

    I am okay with you saying Merry Christmas. I am just not okay with you telling me that others in our great nation should conform to your religion because you were here first. Merry Christmas does not cover every holiday including some of the Christian ones mentioned above, but maybe you missed that St. Nicholas Day and the Feast Days are, in fact, also Christian holidays.

    I say Merry Christmas on Christmas because I celebrate Christmas, but I see nothing wrong with saying Happy Holidays on my cards or anywhere else. I’m pretty sure Jesus would agree with me on this one!

  5. We live in a great nation – founded by Christian people who people who believed in God. Read the writings of the founding fathers and they all state emphatically that the hand of God was evident in the crafting of our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence – further read the writings of George Washington and others and you get a sense that the hand of God supported the colonists as they waged war with Great Britain. That said we live a in free country – a country that offers freedoms and opportunity that few other countries can match. We have a unique freedom known as “Freedom of speech” – which for the most part allows us to say what we think and believe – so from that standpoint – Yes, Virginia – you can say “Happy Holidays”. As for me and my family we will continue to say “Merry Christmas” because that was the way we were raised. We celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and thus we say Merry Christmas – because we have the freedom of speech that allows us to do so. We aren’t celebrating the birth of a holiday – we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ – i9f this offends others – that is unfortunate – but they knew we were a Christian nation when the immigrated here, and we bid welcome to the ones who can here legally. And while we should be cognizant of their beliefs and feelings – they in turn need to be understanding of our beliefs, traditions, and culture. So Yes Virginia – you can say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”..

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