The Christmas Card flap

Check out Jeanette’s new Christmas screen and while you’re at it you can see the White House Christmas Card that is supposedly putting people into a frenzy because the president says “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

KJLopez at NRO writes:

I’ve never been entirely comfortable with the Holiday vs. Christmas debate. I’ve said “best wishes for the holidays,” as a sign off more than once and I’ve never seriously considered that that might be code indicating that I’m anti-Christian or hypersecularized. This White House Christmas card flap noted in the Washington Post just seems silly (dogs are frolicking in White House snow on the card’s cover and the word “holiday” appears inside). It is a matter of degrees of course. There are some legitimate fights people out there are having about getting their Nativity scene outside a city hall building and the like–and the Capitol Christmas tree should be a Christmas tree, or don’t bother with one–but George and Laura Bush, I am confident, are not trying to keep Christ out of Christmas.

On a similar issue Jay Nordlinger quotes a correspondant.

Dear Mr. Nordlinger, Thank you for your article “December’s C-Word” from December 2003. [That article is found here.] It’s because of articles like yours that parents at our public school took action. Every Christmas, the 5th graders have hummed “Silent Night” rather than sing it. A number of us felt it was offensive that the students were not allowed to sing the song and also that the students never sang a real Christmas carol. They sang religious Hanukah songs and even a Kwanza song. Well, this year the principal responded to our complaints and the 5th graders are actually going to sing “Silent Night.” This is a wonderful step in the right direction.

I think it comes down to balance. No one in their right minds is going to think that President Bush is trying to wipe the Baby Jesus out of Christmas, and he IS the president of “all” the people (even the ones who don’t want him to be) and “Happy Holidays” makes sense in that case. Just as (to my way of thinking) it doesn’t make sense for a shop clerk to say “Happy Holidays” when he is checking out a family buying Christmas trees and Santas. If you know what the person before you celebrates, wish them well with it. If someone is buying a menorah, say “Happy Hannukah!” If someone is buying a nativity set say “Merry Christmas!” If you have no idea what someone is celebrating, say “Happy Holidays!.”

It’s not rocket science.

I read something just this past week, and I wish I could remember where, a rabbi saying he has no problem hearing “Merry Christmas” or even saying it to others because if he goes to a birthday party, it does not offend him to hear/say “happy birthday” even though it is not his birthday. A good analogy.

All of this confusion is the fault of the hyper-sensitive “tolerant”folks trying so hard to “celebrate diversity.” In their mania for diversity, they’ve decided that if one family in a village objects to Christmas, the whole village should forego a public lighting of a Christmas tree. That’s not diversity. I’ll leave it to others to define what it is, but it’s not diversity.

Speaking of Christmas Cards, Michelle Malkin has more names of recovering troops who might like one, maybe one with a phone card inside.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://badhairblog.blogspot.com Fausta

    I saw the White House Christmas card and thought it was lovely and have no problem with that at all.

    As for saying Merry Christmas, “If you know what the person before you celebrates, wish them well with it”, is certainly the right approach. Which reminds me, last year after Christmas eve Mass, one the clergy wished me “Happy Holidays”. I couldn’t resist, and told her it was OK to say “Merry Christmas”, since, after all, we were at church. Sometimes (!) I can’t help being a wiseacre.

  • http://bamapachyderm.com Beth

    THANK YOU for writing this, Anchoress. You’re exactly right. If you don’t know, it IS “happy holidays.” (Although Fausta’s story is hilarious!)

  • http://sigcarlfred.blogspot.com/ Sigmund, Carl and Alfred

    Jeannette is right on the money, when she says she isn’t offended.

    A WH Christmas Card is to 250,000 ‘friends of the President,’ isn’t quite the same as the dozen and a half sent to close family and friends- and what is on those cards isn’t our business.

    Beth, of My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, has a post on the war of the war on Christmas. Your remarks echo hers.

    The whole point of America is that no one ought to feel out of place ar not at home, because of their beliefs.

    I am delighted- really delighted- to wish friends Happy Christmas, Happy Hannuka or whatever else puts THEM in good spirits.

    That’s the point, right?

  • kelleyb

    I think the card is beautiful. I like the Psalm verse (28:7). I’m not going to throw mine out just because it does not say Merry christmas.:-)

    kelleyb

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  • Donna

    I say “Happy Holidays” when I don’t know the religion of the person I’m speaking to, but if someone said “Happy Hannukah!” to me, I wouldn’t feel at all offended. What rubs me the wrong way about this debate is how quick some malcontents are to be offended by a phrase which is meant to give cheer. You’d think people were walking around saying “Damn you to hell!” rather than expressing good wishes.


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