People who don’t celebrate Christmas sometimes get offended when we say “Merry Christmas.” A user asked the forum, “Have you ever met someone offended by the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’?” 

The original poster added, “It comes up so often in conversation, the idea that this phrase is considered offensive to people who don’t celebrate Christmas. But I know lots of people who don’t celebrate Christmas. I tend to say ‘Merry Christmas’ rather than some kind of secular variant, and I’ve never had even one encounter where I offended someone. 

Christmas is so secular nowadays that I feel like ‘Merry Christmas’ is almost like a festive variant of ‘Good to see you’ – it doesn’t have as many religious connotations as it is. 

It’s one of those things that everyone thinks is offensive but isn’t. But to be fair, I wondered if anyone here has ever known anyone to take offense at this?”


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“Yeah, it’s me. I hate Christmas, and one of my least favorite things about it is the assumption that everyone is a participant and the way it’s shoved down everyone’s throat, all the time, for months.

I’d never actually confront a stranger about it, though. It’s my burden; I don’t expect the world to bend to me.”


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“No, but I had a colleague, and she politely asked us not to send her a Christmas card.”


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“I just find it silly to say ‘Merry Christmas’ when it’s not Christmas, just the month it’s in. You wouldn’t say ‘Happy Birthday’ to someone as a greeting during their entire birth month. 

I like ‘Happy Holidays’ because it implies the many things that are celebrated during December rather than just one thing that happens in one day.”


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“Not sure if she was offended, but a woman once said to me, ‘My church doesn’t believe in Christmas.’ Then she explained a little, and we moved on to other topics.”


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“Getting offended at people saying ‘Merry Christmas’ is something Fox News invented to keep the old people who watch them angry.”


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“I worked with someone who said, ‘Saying Merry Christmas makes this a hostile work environment.’ Three hours later, she wondered aloud if our boss was going to ‘take the team out for a Christmas lunch.'”


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“When I worked retail, customers got mad at me for saying ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy Holidays.’ I stopped with any season’s greetings altogether.”


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“The only people who get upset about these things are Christians, either because they’re offended by ‘Happy Holidays’ or because they’re devout enough to be offended by the modern commercialization of Christmas.”


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“Yes. I was a teenage newspaper delivery boy in the ’60s, and I said ‘Merry Christmas’ to a customer when I was collecting the 35-cent weekly fee. 

She went on a rant about the commercialization of Christmas and the disrespect everyone showed the Savior with house lights, Santa, and Snowman decorations. She told me I was a horrible child for saying it.”


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“I’m Jewish, and it only bothers me when my close friends who know I don’t celebrate Christmas wish me a merry Christmas. You’ve known me for 25 years, Sarah! I’ve never once celebrated Christmas!”


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“The problem isn’t that it is ‘offensive,’ but it is marginalizing.

If you don’t know someone else’s religion, why would you give them a religious greeting? No matter how secular Christmas becomes, it is a religious holiday.”


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“When I was in school, two Jehovah’s Witness teenagers got upset that everyone was saying Merry Christmas to them. 

It doesn’t hurt to say ‘Seasons Greetings’ or ‘Happy Holidays’ to be more inclusive. Many people celebrate different holidays around that time, and some none at all.”


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“Even though I would never say something, I am one of those people. I’m Jewish, and I have never in my life celebrated Christmas (besides going to friends’ Christmas parties).

Growing up in the south, I was surrounded by Christians and Christmas for the entire month of December. The train stations in my town would play only Christmas music over the public address systems for the entire month, etc. 

Strangers would ask me what I was doing for Christmas, what my family was cooking for Christmas evening, etc. So yeah, the constant ‘Merry Christmas’ and the assumption that I was Christian got pretty old.

You might think the greeting is ‘secular,’ but I promise you it isn’t. It’s hard to explain, but it felt so good when I moved to New York City, and that assumption went away. I understand that 99% of the people who say ‘Happy Holidays’ to me now mean Christmas, but it’s nice that they at least acknowledge the fact I may not be Christian.

You need to understand that most people who are ‘offended’ by the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ will not actually tell you we are offended.”


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“Yes. My Jewish friend would get annoyed by the assumption that everyone celebrates Christmas. It is like pretending non-Christians don’t exist or that Christianity is the default.”


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“I don’t love it. I don’t celebrate Christmas or other Christian holidays (no, it’s not secular), and none of my big holidays take place in winter, so even ‘Happy Holidays’ is not good. But sometimes you have to let things go and accept gestures in the spirit they were intended. Otherwise, you’ll spend your whole life mad.”

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.

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