Happy Holidays

I am coming to loath the greeting Happy Holidays. By itself, happy holidays is an innocuous phrase with nothing even remotely offensive about it, yet, in recent years, it has come to represent a certain way of thinking that I do not really appreciate. Let me explain by first showing a recent email I have received.

Friend —

The official organization charged with electing Republicans to the House — the national Republican Party! — thinks that telling people “Happy Holidays” is something that only liberals do.

They’re even selling coffee mugs and t-shirts with that claim and using the proceeds to elect more Republicans.

It isn’t just divisive. It’s offensive.

As Democrats (and Americans) we want everyone to enjoy whatever holiday it is that they’re celebrating this time of year. And that goes for our Republican friends, too.

So in the spirit of the season, we thought we’d make it easy for everyone to share a holiday greeting with the GOP!

At the very least, it’ll be a nice reminder that even though we come from different places with different sets of traditions, Americans everywhere love a good holiday card.
Seasons greetings!


Mo Elleithee
Communications Director
Democratic National Committee

The list of holidays that the Democrats celebrate can be found at the link. They are Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, and New Year. First, Festivus is a made up holiday. It was introduced as a joke in the sitcom Seinfeld. I have no objection to anyone deciding to celebrate Festivus, but please don’t insult us by comparing to the real holidays that are celebrated this time of year.

Kwanzaa is another made up holiday. Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by a Black Nationalist named Maulana Karenga as a holiday to replace Christmas and celebrate Black American’s African heritage. Kwanzaa actually has very little to do with any authentic African tradition or celebration. Even the name, and the names of the seven virtues it celebrates are from the wrong part of Africa. They are words in Swahili, which is spoken on the east coast of Africa. Most African Americans have ancestors from the west coast, a continent away. Still, I will take Kwanzaa at face value as a celebration of African culture.

Chanukah is, of course, a commemoration of a Jewish struggle for religious freedom against a ruler who insisted on being worshiped as a god. I can imagine why our contemporary progressives who believe the state should be worshiped as a god might not like that story.

Not much needs to be said about Christmas. For Christians, Christmas is the anniversary of one of the most important events in human history. Only Good Friday and Easter are more important. Christmas is the day when the Creator of the universe took on humanity for our redemption.

New Years is, well the beginning of the year.

Each of these holidays has a distinct meaning that is worth celebrating. My complaint about happy holidays is that it blends all of these distinct traditions into a sort of generic “holidays” that really doesn’t mean much at all. I would prefer the various holidays to remain distinct and meaningful.

The other reason that I dislike happy holidays is that somehow, Christmas is the only holiday that anyone finds offensive. There seems to be a real effort to make the public celebration of Christmas somehow unseemly, except in its most secular manifestations. This seems to be part of an effort to make public displays of Christianity somehow shameful. The idea is to fundamentally transform the United States from a Christian nation into something very different. Yes, we are, or were a Christian nation. We have never had an established church, nor should we, but our culture and institutions has, until very recently, been influenced by the Christian tradition. This would be a very different country if the people who had settled North America had been Muslims or Buddhists. This will be a very different country, and not a better one, if the radical secularists have their way.

So, there you have it. To me, happy holidays has come to represent trends that I do not approve of and would stop if I could. I love Christmas and would have it keep its meaning. I support the cause that Chanukah represents. I am even starting to admire African culture as I learn something of the history of Africa. I don’t want these traditions forgotten or trivialized.



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