The debate over whether to say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” took a new turn this week, when a Salvation Army worker was allegedly assaulted for saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.
The battle over “Happy Holidays” vs “Merry Christmas” may well go on forever.
But once in a while, it takes such a bizarre turn that it’s worth talking about. This story is such an example.
It happened in Pheonix, where a Salvation Army bell ringer says she was punched by a shopper for saying, “Happy Holidays.”
The bell ringer claims that she greeted a shopper with, “Happy Holidays,” which isn’t an unreasonable thing to say to someone you don’t know and no nothing about. Contrary to what most on the “Merry Christmas” side of the debate seem to think, everyone doesn’t celebrate Christmas.
This shopper, apparently, didn’t take time to think it through. Instead, she approached the bell ringer and asked, “Do you believe in God?” When the bell ringer said she did, the shopper responded, “You’re supposed to say ‘Merry Christmas!’” and hit her in the arm.
Though police were called, they weren’t able to track down the angry shopper.
I’m going to guess that this shopper thought she was doing “God’s work” when she complained about the bell ringer’s choice of words. But somehow, I don’t see assault as falling within the definition of “loving your neighbor.”
She could have, just as easily, nodded a smile, walked inside the store to a private area, and said a brief prayer for the bell ringer. God probably would have appreciate that a lot more than rudeness committed in His name.
The only time I’m bothered by the use of “Happy Holidays” is when holiday-specific signage is used and Christmas is conspicuously absent. I’ve been in stores where there were displays for Kwanzaa and Hannukah, but the word Christmas was almost impossible to find.
In my book, if you’re going to get specific, then be consistent.
Otherwise, stay generic: “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” work fine if you don’t want to step on toes.
Just don’t call it a “Holiday Tree.” We all know it’s a Christmas tree.
And don’t punch someone who doesn’t do it the way you want them to. Say a prayer instead.