christmas, merry christmas, happy holidays, using happy holidays instead of merry christmas, the spirit of christmas
Regardless Of Your Belief, Merry Christmas
Regardless Of Your Belief, Merry Christmas

I’ve always been a little confused at the people who react negatively when someone says, “Merry Christmas.” Whether you’re Jewish, atheist, Kwanza-ist (or whatever those who believe in Kwanza are called) or even into Festivus for the rest of us, all the phrase means is that the person saying it want’s you to be happy. Sure, I’m all for respecting other’s beliefs and traditions. What you celebrate or recognize is your business. But that doesn’t mean that on Christmas Day or during the Christmas season, I can’t wish that you be merry.

And if I say “Merry Christmas” it doesn’t mean I’m trying to convert you, either.

In the South especially, there are billboards and commercials and political statements against businesses and individuals who use “Happy Holidays” so as to broadly appeal to any belief. It’s petty and ignorant (in my opinion). But more importantly, I not only think they’re missing the greater point of just wishing everyone have a wonderful end-of-year, but the Happy Holiday-sayers are missing the point that wishing someone a Merry Christmas shouldn’t step on anyone’s toes.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I still want you to have a merry one. Heck, all of us at SME would extend that sentiment and not all uf us celebrate the Christian holiday. We have, by my unofficial count, one Muslim and at least one, perhaps two, practitioners of the Jewish faith on staff here. I’m also partners with two other Jewish friends in Exploring Social Media. Yet, I feel confident speaking for them when I say we all want your Christmas to be merry. We also want your Hanukkah to be happy, your Kwanza to be joyous,  your Festivus to be festive and your Tuesday to rock.

So let’s put aside the nuance and nit-picking of the semantics and just hope everyone has an awesome day, every day, this Christmas/Kwanza/Hanukkah(Chanukah)/Festifus season. (Or whatever seasons I left out.)

Because that’s the point.

And if you consider that, you shouldn’t be offended by the sentiment of this, one of my favorite holiday songs:

Merry Christmas all. And thanks for making Social Media Explorer part of your routine.

About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at
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  • Hannah

    Great post! Hope you had a Merry Christmas! 

  • Cypress85

    Why is “Happy Holidays” offensive? It includes everyone and it acknowledges the fact that not everyone celebrates Christmas. The problem with saying “Merry Christmas” to everyone is the assumption that everyone must be aware of Christmas, even if it is not their holiday. No other religious group makes that assumption about their holidays; only Christians insist that people of all faiths recognize Christian holidays. I don’t expect my non-Jewish friends to know or care when the Jewish holidays are, because those holidays are not relevant to them. Everyone knows about Hanukkah because it happens to fall near Christmas, but if you ask Christians what the other Jewish holidays are, most of them would be stumped. And yet the whole world is supposed to know about Christmas, Easter, Good Friday, etc. Imagine if you said “Merry Christmas” to someone and they looked at you with a straight face and said “What’s Christmas?” You would be stunned. How could they not know about Christmas? Everyone should know about Christmas! Right?

    It’s just arrogant and disrespectful to act like Christian holidays should be universal, as if they are somehow more important than other religious holidays. There are hundreds of religions out there and thousands of non-Christian religious holidays, but Christians don’t feel obligated to acknowledge those, so why should everyone be obligated to acknowledge Christian holidays?

    If you want me to have a nice day, then say “Have a nice day.” But if you say “Merry Christmas” to me, I will say “It’s not Christmas. It’s December 25th.” Keep that in mind: December 25 is not Christmas to everyone.

    • Appreciate the perspective, but you missed the point. Nothing is wrong with “Happy Holidays” and nothing is wrong with being generic so as to not offend. The point was that if I say “Merry Christmas” to you, it doesn’t mean I assume you recognize Christian holidays, believe in God or anything else. It might just mean that I want you to be happy during that day or time of year. And that’s not a bad sentiment, in my opinion.

  • Merry Christmas from the sole Social Media Explorer Muslim. :-)

  • Merry Christmas Jason, from one of the Jewish Kids. :) 

  • Paul Monaco

    In the scope of social media and marketing I see it as a bad move.  You gain very little from your Christian demographic and risk alienating others. In face to face interactions I would never use a holiday specific greeting unless I knew the other person celebrated or at least had some symbology on their person that suggested it (ie: Santa Hats, Cross, etc.). I use this same criteria for other holidays as well…  St. Patrick Day, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, etc.

    • Not everything needs a business goal or editorial outcome, Paul. I just want everyone to have a happy, peaceful day.

  • Thank you Jason for such a unifying concept of what it’s all about…being happy and grateful. Merry Christmas

  • I’m Jewish, and it always sort of pains me when people say “Merry Christmas”, but then apologize and correct themselves and say “Happy Holidays; I forgot that you are Jewish!”. In all honesty, I’m not so touchy. Also I absolutely love Christmas carols! Merry Christmas Jason!

  • Merry Christmas, Jason!

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  • One of the best things about moving from India to the US has been the ability to celebrate everyone’s festivals or holidays. We have two Christmas trees in our house. Kids feel very involved. We had a great time at the Channukkah Firetruck Parade that passed by our house. 

    Even during my childhood in India I remember waiting for the ID festival celebrated by my friends who were Muslim because one of the best Biriyani’s in the universe gets cooked during this festival. I have prayed in every holy place I have visited or come across. You just have to love people and celebrate with them and enjoy the strengths of each others beliefs and convictions. One caveat however – You could all organize a huge fund raiser just by collecting money from people who don’t want to hear me sing ” Jingle Bells” in public. ;) 

    Ok Jason ! Send the Christmas “Spirits” across by UPS ! 

  • I just don’t like people telling me to be happy.

  • Good job Jason! Merry Christmas.

  • I know that you’re trying to convert me, Jason

    have a great Holiday Season, you guys and gals. (And the kids)

    Joel and family :)

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  • Thanks.  You all have a Merry Christmas as well. Such a class act to finish up with Frank’s rendition. Here’s to you all (hoisting a glass of champagne, although I know with you, it’s probably a glass of Maker’s Mark). 

  • Here’s wishing you and the crew at Social Media Explorer a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 


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