Saying Happy Holidays

Hello everyone. First time poster here.

I’ve got a question I hope I could get some input on. I was on the phone with a client today and before I hung up, instead of saying “Merry Christmas” I said “Happy Holidays.”

I mentally kicked myself for doing so after the phone call and examined why I did it. I realized I had a knee jerk reaction at the last second and out of fear of offending my client and also because of a longstanding issue with embarresment I have with displaying my faith to others, I switched to happy holidays.

Now, I’m beginning to wonder if this was sinful behavior. I dont think the act of saying, “Happy Holidays” was sinful but rather that my intent was sinful–hiding my belief in Jesus out of fear of offending someone or causing myself embarrassment.

Does anyone have any thoughts that could shed some light on this interaction? Was this sinful behavior? Might this be considered a grave matter (something along the lines of denying Jesus)?

Thank you!

Welcome to CAF.

No, you did not commit a sin or deny Jesus. You simply did something we all do, say something without thinking i.e. without deliberate intent. If you continue to feel a bit off about it, bring it to your daily examination of conscience and leave it with Jesus and move on. That is what I do with my bloopers.

You said the key word for me “workplace.”

When I was working in sales in the early 2000s, we had a client become very offended when she received a bottle of wine after the sales rep handed the bottle to her and said
“Merry Christmas”

She refused the bottle, handed it back to him and said “I don’t celebrate Christmas.”

Under his breath, he said a more colorful version of “forget you.”

But in the work place, we are sensitive to these kinds of things (espcially with clients) because our relationships are built on political correctness and corporate image.

When out and about, in stores, I will usually say Merry Christmas. With clients I don’t know well, I will say Happy Holidays. With people I know very well (but I don’t know their religion) I will sometimes say “Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah & Happy Kwanzaa” (leaving out Happy New Year). But if I know, or if I’m pretty sure, I will always say Merry Christmas.

This might seem terrible, but the Happy Holidays, really didn’t become the political norm until the TV stations tried saying all three. I rememeber when the TV stations would say “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”

Then they started saying “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah”

Next, for a short time, they tried saying “Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah & Happy Kwanzaa”

That just got crazy… so now, instead of trying to list all the holidays, they simply say Happy Holidays.

Its funny, the director of my daughter’s pre-school is Jewish. At their holiday recital, she started to give a speech about growing up in Jewish in New York around Christmas. She said she would feel left out and her parents would take her to the city to see the lights and tree. Then she said, “to those who do not celebrate Christmas; if someone wishes you a ‘Merry Christmas’ understand that they are wishing you well. They are wishing you a wonderful day, full of joy and love.”

She is one of those people who strongly believes that if we lose Christmas from the December holidays, it won’t be the same thing. All the non-Christians who exchange gifts in this country in the US in December do so because of Christmas.

We need to embrace Christmas and take it back… not just for the non-believers, but also from the retail giants…

Let’s start buying gifts on 12/26… after all… we do have Twelve Days of Christmas!

God Bless and Merry Christmas!!!

Once, I gave a Christmas gift to my niece. It was refused, because I said it was a Christmas present. My sister said she’d only accept it if we said it was just a “present” not a “Christmas” present. My sister says she’s even “Christian” but just doesn’t celebrate Christmas in her particular faith!

Hi greenambience,

I wouldn’t worry about it or feel bad about it. I wouldn’t consider it sinful behavior, either.

You mentioned that you were in your work place, too. I personally think that it is better to err on the side of caution there. That is my own personal opinion.

I will say “Merry Christmas” to someone. However, If I am not sure whether someone is Christian or not at this time of year, I will say “Happy Holidays,” as New Year’s is coming up, too.


I just say because I get tired of telling everyone Merry Christmas/Happy New Year in the same breath.


You said Happy Holy Days since that is where holidays is derived. You are fine. Now…Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!

holiday (n.), earlier haliday (c.1200), from Old English haligdæg “holy day; Sabbath,” from halig “holy” (see holy) + dæg “day” (see day); in 14c. meaning both “religious festival” and “day of recreation,” but pronunciation and sense diverged 16c. As a verb meaning “to pass the holidays” by 1869.

Oh no, one shouldn’t say “Merry Christmas” until tonight! This Catholic knows what I’m talking about!


(Seriously, you’re fine.)

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