We’re not necessarily people who buy into the “War on Christmas” rhetoric some people like to talk about. Friends get upset when someone says, “Happy Holidays” because they’re including Christmas and New Years, but the other party thinks they’re just ignoring Christmas. It gets kind of ridiculous.
Well, they might just have a point.
University of Central Florida professor Terri Fine wants Americans to stop wishing each other “Merry Christmas” and begin using the more inclusive “Happy Federal Holiday” instead.
In a column on the UCF website titled “A Holiday Greeting That Applies to Everyone,” Fine argues that “Happy Federal Holiday” is a more inclusive holiday greeting than saying “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Chanukah,” or even “Happy Holidays.”
Part of the problem, Dr. Fine explains, is that “People wish each other ‘Merry Christmas’ whether they know the other person’s religious background or not,” even though Christmas occurs around the same time frame as Hanukkah (which Fine refers to as “Chanukah”). Simply saying both “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Chanukah,” Fine argues, isn’t appropriate because “Christmas is one of the two holiest days for Christians, while Chanukah is a minor holiday on the calendar.”
Using both greetings, Fine says, is insulting to both Christians—by implying Christmas is a minor holiday—and Jews—by denying “the holiness associated with the major Jewish holy days and festivals.”
Simply saying “Happy Holidays,” Fine says, also isn’t “culturally sensitive” enough.
“[I]t 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 claims.
The most inclusive greeting, according to Fine, is for Americans to wish each other a “Happy Federal Holiday.”
Holy Dancing Edison on a neon lit dashboard, really? That’s supposed to be better?
Fine’s argument is that since the federal government recognizes these holidays regardless of anyone’s personal beliefs, such terms are more appropriate for any and all.
A little background via University of Central Florida’s faculty page: “Dr. Fine’s research interests include women and politics, public opinion and voting behaviors and political methodology. She is affiliated with the Dept. of Women’s Studies.”
Here’s an alternative suggestion from us here at SamePageNation. if someone tells you “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” or something else you don’t celebrate, then say, “Thank you” and realize they weren’t being rude and just want you to have a great holiday season. It’s nothing to be a jerk about.
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