Pro: Keep Christ in Christmas with traditional greeting
Jennifer Lee Preyss
Dec. 11, 2011 at 6:11 a.m.
Updated Dec. 12, 2011 at 6:12 a.m.
The expression "Merry Christmas" has long been used throughout the month of December to spread Christmas joy.
The saying is exchanged among friends, written on Christmas cards, and promoted in major retail outlets nationwide. But in recent years, Christian groups have carried another meaning with "Merry Christmas" - the birth of Jesus will not be secularized.
About five years ago, Walmart came under fire for lumping Christmas into a generic holiday marketing campaign. Christmas trees were mislabeled holiday trees, and store employees were directed to use "Happy Holidays" to greet and bid farewell to store patrons, even if the patrons initiated the first "Merry Christmas" greeting.
Organizations such as the Christian-based American Family Association launched a national campaign of their own, encouraging faithful Christians to insist upon the use of "Merry Christmas," in the public, at church, and especially in retail stores.
"We have to remember that 95 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas . and we feel the appropriate greeting would be 'Merry Christmas,'" said Randy Sharp, AFA director of special projects. "I'm not offended by 'Happy Holidays,' but we don't want Christmas to get lost in the shuffle."
Sharp pointed out that while other holidays may be celebrated during the same time of year, the majority of people will be celebrating Christmas, and therefore the retailers will be making most of their profit from Christians celebrating Christmas. Therefore, it wouldn't be inappropriate to use "Merry Christmas." He also cited an AFA poll that found 86 percent of Americans are not offended by the use of "Merry Christmas."
"I truly feel the number of people who are offended by not using 'Merry Christmas' outnumber the people who are offended by it," he said.
Victoria resident Jennifer Ramirez, 33, agrees with Sharp. As a Christian, she views the holidays as a time to remember and celebrate the birth of her Lord. So she will always prefer "Merry Christmas" to "Happy Holidays."
"Because I'm a Christian, I will use 'Merry Christmas,''' she said. "I don't want to see Christ exploited in any way."
Ramirez said she isn't offended by "Happy Holidays," but feels the greeting isn't specific enough to demonstrate the true celebration of the season.
Cuero resident Ryan Keith, 37, said, he too, prefers "Merry Christmas." Simply stated, he uses the saying, "Because you've got to keep Christ in Christmas," he said.