Pro: Remember reason for season
BY APRILL BRANDON - ABRANDON@VICAD.COM
Dec. 13, 2009 at 6:13 a.m.
Updated Dec. 14, 2009 at 6:14 a.m.
For the past several years, December has been the battleground for what some call the War on Christmas.
On one side are the people fed up with "Merry Christmas" being replaced by the more politically correct "Happy Holidays," especially considering Christmas is celebrated by the majority of Americans.
On the other are those who say the U.S. is a diverse country and the "Happy Holidays" phrase encompasses people of all religions, including those who celebrate Hanukkah and Kwanzaa this time of year.
About 95 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas.
With that in mind, some have become increasingly opposed to businesses, organizations and even individuals using the more generic term "Happy Holidays" this time of year.
"I cannot imagine why anyone who takes the time to celebrate Christmas would have a problem calling it what it is," Vickers Elementary teacher Will Durham said. "If you have a problem with the term 'Christmas,' then maybe you should not be celebrating it. Just call it what it is."
Most Americans feel the same way as Durham, according to a 2009 Rasmussen Reports national survey. Rasmussen Reports is an electronic media company specializing in public opinion polling information.
Seventy-two percent of adults prefer "Merry Christmas" while 22 percent prefer "Happy Holidays," according to the survey.
Many Americans feel so strongly about this that in 2006 Walmart switched back to using "Merry Christmas" in its products and around its stores after using "Happy Holidays" in 2005, according to a 2006 CNN.com article. Religious groups such as The American Family Association and The Catholic League had boycotted the major retailer and others in 2005 for excluding the word "Christmas."
Russell Janecka of Victoria believes it all comes down to political correctness, which he said has hurt the U.S. culture more than it has helped it.
"The PC movement is all about giving a voice to the lowest denominator or smallest voice against whom it is perceived a slight may have been committed. Thus the aggravation felt by the majority, who are often well intended people chaffing at being subtly scolded for the inferred insensitivity," he added. "People need to put on their sweaters against the cold, and don their self-esteem and goodwill lest they be too easily offended and want others to avoid repeating the offense by setting up esoteric rules."
Instead of being offended when someone says "Merry Christmas," Janecka suggests instead to look at the well-intentioned gesture of wishing shoppers a greeting for the season being celebrated by the majority of Christians in the country.
"To dismiss the religious source of the holiday, which is now the implied meaning behind saying 'Happy Holidays,' is in itself an act of religious bigotry," he added. "Perception becomes fact."
Although there is a debate as to when the birth of Jesus actually occurred, his birth is still why Christians celebrate this time of year, Roy L. Jones of Victoria said.
"As for all the other holidays that have been invented by certain other groups to detract from the original celebration, they can say what they want or perform their pagan dances in the town square. But we know that they are jealous of us who know and understand the real reason for having a Merry Christmas," he said. "And anyone wishing me 'Happy Holidays' will get the reply 'And a very Merry Christmas to you and yours' and a big smile."