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The Majority of Americans Prefer To Be Greeted With 'Merry Christmas' Over 'Happy Holidays', a Poll Finds 410

"Merry Christmas" is the preferred greeting of a strong majority of Americans. A survey carried in conjunction by news outlet Axios and SurveyMonkey found that 65 percent of the participants wish to be greeted with "Merry Christmas," while 28% prefer "Happy Holidays."
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The Majority of Americans Prefer To Be Greeted With 'Merry Christmas' Over 'Happy Holidays', a Poll Finds

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  • 65 percent of the participants wish to be greeted with "Merry Christmas," while 28% prefer "Happy Holidays."

    But the minority is willing to use violence [], so we are all stuck with the neutered version.

    • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @03:54PM (#55805493) Homepage
      One can easily find behavior by people upset and angry over either version of this. The problem there is people engaging in violence in general over minor things. If you think that violent behavior is relegated to almost any single position on some issue, then you are probably wrong.
    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @05:07PM (#55805813)

      It depends on which side of the political spectrum you are in. Some people say Merry Christmas in a tone to say. Most of us are Christians so deal with it, vs just a friendly well wishing of the holidays.
      I tend to use Happy Holidays myself when dealing with people I don’t know. Not because I am trying to be PC or afraid they will be insulted for using a Christian holiday. But because I may not see this person for a few months so they will go then the holiday gauntlet thanks giving, Christmas and new years. And if they are celebrating some other holiday I hope they have a good time with it as well.
      If it is someone closer to me then I’ll use Merry Christmas just because I know they are celebrating Christmas and I’ll probably see them for other holidays.
      There is being PC then there is just being kind.

      • If someone says "Merry Christmas" in order to present themselves are holier than you are, then that's a very un-Christian greeting.

    • Goddamn Gallows - Y'all Motherfuckers Need Jesus []

      And a Merry Christmas to all of you.

    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      No. I'll not explain why because if you made that connection your don't grok logic.

    • One example does not a principle make.

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @10:42PM (#55806923)

      Maybe the constant begging and ringing of the damn bell caused that person to flip. I sure can sympathize.

    • This is an exaggerated story with details added that aren't there. The bell ringer was indeed beaten. There is no evidence whatsoever that he was beaten for saying "Merry Christmas", and no evidence that the beaten would have been averted if he had said "Happy Holidays".

      Nobody really cares that much over this issue, and we've been saying Merry Christmas long before Trump claimed he was leading the charge.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 25, 2017 @03:48PM (#55805463)

    Conservative snowflakes need to be reminded of Jesus Christ, the Liberal activist? Too bad they don't seem to know anything about his teachings.

    • What don't they know? The greatest commandment [] which starts with loving God with everything, first?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is a silly post. Let's discuss all the reasons why.

      Christmas has its origins as a religious holiday, and is still celebrated as such. It's also the largest secular holiday of the year. No other holiday has nearly a month of special TV programming or the level of decorations that are given to Christmas. It's a federal holiday, as well. It's also become extremely commercialized. And there's also a lot of encouragement during the Christmas season to donate to charity and to more generally show good will t

    • It's all fake news anyway.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 25, 2017 @03:50PM (#55805475)

    "Happy Holidays" was invented because 100% of Americans aren't Christian. But 65%? Congratulations! You just found a percentage of your sample audience that is Christian! Now you just have to ask yourself: Do you support tolerance of others?

  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @03:52PM (#55805485) Homepage

    Happy holidays is inclusive for everyone, and includes people who don't celebrate Christmas. Merry Christmas is fundamentally exclusionary. I'm Jewish, and I don't care much, but after living in Alabama for a while, I can see why people care. Let me tell a story that's relevant that occurred with a work colleague (who already knew I was Jewish based on earlier conversations) when I was in Alabama (this occurred about December 20th or so last year):

    Colleague: So are you going anywhere for Christmas break? Me: Well, for break, I'll be spending time with my family who is going to be in Puerto Rico, and my wife is going back to visit her family back North. Colleague: So you won't be together for Christmas? That's sad! Me: Well, the relevant winter holiday for Jews is Channukah, which isn't a big family holiday for us. The big family holidays are Passover and the Jewish New Year. Colleague: Oh ok, have a Merry Christmas, Me: You too, NAME.

    It was like he could not get in his head that someone didn't celebrate Christmas. Given that, it isn't at all surprising that some people find the repeated "Merry Christmas" really uncomfortable.

    • by tjansen ( 2845 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @04:05PM (#55805545) Homepage
      But isn't wishing a Merry Christmas like wishing someone to have a great weekend? It feels odd when someone says it even though you're going to work all weekend, but it's just a custom and well intentioned.
      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        But isn't wishing a Merry Christmas like wishing someone to have a great weekend? It feels odd when someone says it even though you're going to work all weekend, but it's just a custom and well intentioned.

        I don't think they're equal because the weekend is the weekend, whether you're working or not. Is Christmas Christmas if you don't believe in Christ? Imagine an online conversation that went like "So what are you doing for Independence Day?" "Nothing, I'm not American and nor in the US so it's nothing to me" "Well okay, happy Independence Day then" and you wouldn't go a little WTF? I know we've done it with ancient religions because nobody bats an eye that Thursday is dedicated to the Norse god Thor and Sat

        • Great summary, but I'll add that in your example with week days it's not just Thursday and Saturday; it's pretty much the whole week.

          Monday = Moon's Day / Roman Goddess Luna
          Tuesday = Tiw's Day / Norse God
          Wednesday = Wodan's Day / Norse God
          Thursday = Thor's Day / Norse God
          Friday = Frige's Day / Anglo-Saxon Goddess
          Saturday = Saturn's Day / Roman God
          Sunday = Sun's Day / A god in many religions

          Our week is pretty goddamn multicultural, and very religious.

          • by Kjella ( 173770 )

            Great summary, but I'll add that in your example with week days it's not just Thursday and Saturday; it's pretty much the whole week.

            Yeah and you could do half the months too, I just thought that would be over-explaining the point. You could also use Ramadan as example, if you live in a country that uses the the Islamic calendar it's a month whether you're a Muslim or not. It's not just not a special month.

      • But isn't wishing a Merry Christmas like wishing someone to have a great weekend? It feels odd when someone says it even though you're going to work all weekend, but it's just a custom and well intentioned.

        Yes, I believe you're onto something there. Christmas may have begun as a Christian Holiday, that perhaps borrowed from earlier religious celebrations, yet it has evolved into a seasonal celebration with family and loved ones in which giving is emphasized.

        In some respects, Thanksgiving has evolved into the same sort of family gathering, but being thankful for the blessings one has is the focus.

        Neither are exclusive to devout, even irregular, church goers or god worshipers.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Monday December 25, 2017 @11:00PM (#55806983) Homepage Journal

        It's the merry part I object to. I am not a merry man!

      • Many of the same people who go on and on about the "War On Christmas" (there was never one) and getting everyone to say "Merry Christmas" again (you were never banned from saying it) are also the same people who insist on "putting the Christ back in Christmas." They want to return Christmas to its religious roots instead of it being a commercial holiday whose sole purpose seems to be to generate sales at retail shops and toy stores. Now, I can't say I blame these people for wanting to cut back on the commer

    • by iNaya ( 1049686 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @04:12PM (#55805601)
      I don't celebrate Christmas, and I don't give a damn if someone says "Merry Christmas" or anything else. I also don't care if people celebrate other religious holidays. It's not exclusionary - they're not excluding anyone. What kind of self-righteous dickhead does someone have to be to be offended by someone saying "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Channukah", or spreading their joy of a Hindu holiday or whatever. Who honestly gives a fuck?
    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      What response do you expect when you treat people like they're stupid. Pretty much all adults in the US know all about the Jewish holidays,

      • I'm guessing that you haven't spent much time in the South. I can assure you that this is very much not the case.

    • by Picodon ( 4937267 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @04:18PM (#55805633)

      Frankly, I don’t see anything in that conversation showing that your colleague “could not get in his head that someome didn’t celebrate Christmas”. He heard you, and on his way out, merely wished you an enjoyable day on the day that he calls Christmas Day.

      Seasonal greetings are not a reference to you, your culture and your lifestyle. They are a reference to those of the person greeting you (and, typically, of the larger community around you).

      For example, on Thanksgiving day, people who were not born in America likely won’t care a bit. Does that mean that it’s not Thanksgiving Day for them? Don’t they have the day off like everyone else? Should we care that they aren’t going to celebrate it? We wish them a happy day, and that day is named Thanksgiving Day. So Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

      Same thing for Christmas and any other holiday that’s massively followed by the larger part of the population. There’s nothing oppressive about it, unless one chooses to feel oppressed by it. Conversely, there is something oppressive about telling people that they may not name traditions that their community has long been widely following.

      If a Jewish faithful said something like “Happy Hanukkah” to me, I would absolutely find it oppressive on my part to tell him that I feel harassed by it. Personally, I would find his greeting inclusive on his part. I’d feel that he was mostly expressing friendship, while sharing a bit of his faith and culture, in a welcoming way, without trying to force it on me: a greeting is not the same thing as proselytising!

      • Nice post. Wanted to mod you up but you are maxxed already. It appears that 56% of /. agree with you.

        Merry New Year to all, and to all, a good pint!

      • by skam240 ( 789197 )

        I couldnt disagree more. If you know some one doesnt celebrate a holiday then what are you doing wishing them have a happy version of the holiday? They arent participating so from the recipients point of view all you're doing is pointing that out and making them feel like they arent part of the heard.

        In doing something like this you're either being an idiot (which is what the above scenario sounds like) or trying to put your own holiday onto people who dont want it.

    • Merry Christmas is fundamentally exclusionary.

      Technically it's pagan in origin (Winter Solstice/Yule) but it has become entirely cultural.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Quite frankly, I think you're just being really touchy about the whole issue with your work colleague. As someone else said, he just wanted to wish you a good day on what he considered a special day. You seem desperately needing to be offended in some way by someone who's only trying to inquire about your family and plans. I think that's a big problem in our society right now.

      Your colleague is certainly tolerate and accepting of your different religion. He's not particularly knowledgeable about yours, a

    • Or, you know, people can very well celebrate the non-religious aspects of the civil holiday of Christmas like taking the day off work, exchanging gifts, eating too much ham, and getting tipsy on eggnog and port; without actually observing it religiously as christ's mass. After all, it's pretty well known and understood that the historical Jesus Christ, son of god or not, was definitely NOT born on December 25th, and that there early church moved just his birthday, in a PR campaign, so as to glom on to the

    • That response is still better than my "Merry Christmas" story. We were in a local Wal-Mart doing some shopping before the holiday season. We got in the elevator with another couple. (Yes, this Wal-Mart has an elevator... they converted an old Sam's Club downstairs/Wal-Mart upstairs into a 2 story Wal-Mart.) The couple asked my boys if they were excited for Christmas. My oldest son informed her that we are Jewish and don't celebrate Christmas. She then starts a pitch about how we can worship Jesus and still

  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @03:56PM (#55805499)

    I have to work tonight, You Insensitive Clod!
    and I worked last night (Christmas Eve) as well

    • I used to volunteer to work on Christmas Day. I don't celebrate the holiday and I can get a lot of work done without people calling/e-mailing with little tasks that take "only two minutes." Sadly, my company decided to stop allowing this a few years ago so now I'm required to take the day off.

  • Majority (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @04:03PM (#55805533)

    The majority of Americans aren't hate-filled malcontents that actively seek opportunities to be offended by nothing little holiday traditions. The majority of Americans know there is nothing in "Merry Christmas" that needs to be fixed and have low regard the shitheels that think there is.

  • Loathing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @04:03PM (#55805537)

    The only reason 'happy holidays' exists is because of people who are triggered by hearing 'merry christmas'. Unless the poll records how many people HATE 'merry christmas', then it won't reveal why 'happy holidays' exists.

    • Uh... no (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @05:06PM (#55805811)
      it mostly came out of government functions. Schools, court buildings, etc. People were 'triggered' because a lot of non Christians get kinda nervous about the cult-like atmosphere of the evangelicals [], the fact that many of our closest allies are still theocracies [] and the thousands of years of recorded history of religion being used in conjuncture with government to oppress.

      Through a lot of hard fought battles America became a secular nation, there are those of us who want to keep it that way. And then there are those among us who do not.
    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      Fuck that. I'm not triggered, I just don't celebrate Christmas, so I wish people a "Happy Holidays" instead.

    • The only reason 'happy holidays' exists is because of people who are triggered by hearing 'merry christmas'. Unless the poll records how many people HATE 'merry christmas', then it won't reveal why 'happy holidays' exists.

      It's not about triggering, it's about inclusiveness.

      I personally feel a bit weird wishing Merry Christmas to someone whom I know is Muslim or Jewish. Not because I don't want to offend or trigger them, but because it implies that I didn't know their faith, or I didn't realize their culture didn't celebrate Christmas in the same way mine did. I usually use something like "enjoy the holidays" unless they lead with "Merry Christmas" themselves.

      But it's a different issue for businesses, if the business says "Me

    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      No. It's because it's a generic phrase that covers those that sees the holidays as religious (several religions), those that aren't religious and those that don't give a fuck. It is a generic well-wishing that applies to all.

      The triggering is from the Christians that can't accept (or perhaps understand) that this isn't something only for celebrating the birth of a carpenter a long time ago. Reasonable people - including Christians - aren't triggered.

    • Happy Holidays exists not because people got visibly offended by the constant slights to non-Christians. And they do exist.

      Instead what happened was that the majority of the world is not christian and enough non-Christians owned companies and these non-Christians started saying Happy Holiday because they are not christian, so why would they wish some one to have a Merry Christmas. It was simply what people that are not christian did.

      But Christians also started saying it. Do you want to know why?

      Because t

  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @04:05PM (#55805547)

    Welcome, newcomers. The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you're gonna hear about it!

  • by ysth ( 1368415 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @04:07PM (#55805563)

    First, the poll was of "likely" greetings, not "preferred" ones. Huge difference there.

    Second, the poll was of what greetings the respondents used, not received. Even bigger difference.

  • Bah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Subm ( 79417 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @04:11PM (#55805599)


  • That would be my preference. But I'm not American, so I don't count. Also, I agree it doesn't exactly run off the tongue.

  • Most people prefer their own religion to the one of other people, especially if they're in the majority.
    It's called 'bigotry'.

  • by ToTheStars ( 4807725 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @04:26PM (#55805663)

    Sir Isaac Newton was definitely verifiably born on Dec 25, 1642. To be fair, that was under the Julian Calendar, which corresponds to Jan 4 on our calendar, but it's as good a reason for the season as any. (Well, after axial tilt, of course, and orbital eccentricity on certain planets.) Sometimes I get really mixed up and say "Happy Halloween" because, y'know, DEC 25 == OCT 31.

    Aside: even ca. 200 AD, people were mostly guessing when Jesus Christ was actually born. The Church picked the date December 25 to align with the Roman celebration of the winter solstice, even though the date was "probably" wrong (and in fact some Eastern churches celebrate Christmas on Dec 25 in non-Gregorian calendars, and they definitely can't all be right), because the point of Christmas is celebrating Jesus's birth (and life, teachings, and death/resurrection^H^H^H^H bad weekend), not getting the exact dates right.

    • by CODiNE ( 27417 )

      As to "Probably wrong"...

      Luke chapter 2 says shepherds were sleeping outside overnight with their flocks when he was born so... yeah, it wasn't likely anywhere near Dec 25 by a large margin.

      The fact that nobody even remembered the date makes sense when you consider that Jews and Christians of the first century considered birthdays a pagan custom and would have been somewhat repulsed by the idea. At the time both groups were hated by the Romans for refusing to join into the state religion and culture. Possib

      • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

        Luke chapter 2 says shepherds were sleeping outside overnight with their flocks when he was born so... yeah, it wasn't likely anywhere near Dec 25 by a large margin.

        I dunno, the interwebs tells me that weather in Bethlehem in December averages around 59 degrees Fahrenheit, with record temperatures of up to 83 degrees -- so it doesn't sound crazy. You live the shepherd life back then, you're probably sleeping outdoors a lot.

  • I would love to be greeted by a oral sex from every single 20 year old woman that weighs less than 150 lbs. But that is not the issue. What is the issue is how the people that do NOT want to do that feel.

    On Dec 24 and Dec 25th, I enjoy being wished a Merry Christmas. It's a great sentiment and I reply the same. So on Dec 24 and on Dec 25th, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

    But I do not do that on Thanksgiving. Nor do I do it on New Year's Eve. Doing that would be obnoxious. I wish everyone a Happy Th

  • The problem is when 1 of the many greetings are forced on ppl. Seriously, back in the 60s, we used both, but probably more merry Christmas. However, the far left started pushing out merry Christmas, then the far right tried to force it on everyone, and finally, the extreme far right runs around screaming that it is all about baby Jesus birth, hates santa, trees, etc and ignores the evidence in the Bible that proves, he was either spring/fall.
  • and a Joyous Festivus for the rest of us

  • by meglon ( 1001833 )
    A Glorious Saturnalia to all.
  • Valid population sample? Useless opt-in survey?
  • Years ago now, Wal-mart went on record as preferring Merry Christmas. And of course many agnostics still set up a Christmas tree and exchange gifts, even if they don't care about the birth of Jesus (which by the way, Biblical scholars agree was in the spring since sheep would be in the barn during winter). Christmas and Hannukah (their spelling) are listed on the calendar, the latter being the 13th of December this year. And unfortunately most people do get a Christmas break and not Hannukah so ... it is wh

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky