As the holidays are just around the corner, we are continuously bombarded by messages of season’s greetings everywhere we go. However, over the years, messages have changed from “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah” to “Happy Holidays”. Companies under pressure to avoid alienating their customer base have made decisions to go with a generic message.
Having been raised in a household which celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas, this has always interested me. In fact, as I write this, I sit between a Christmas tree and a menorah.
So what do you think? Is “Merry Christmas” an acceptable festive greeting or a religiously alienating term which has no place in corporate America?
Many religious and political organizations have taken a stand on either side of the fence regarding this topic. The American Family Association (AFA) has started a naughty or nice list which calls out major retailers using the more generic season’s greeting in their December advertising. This year’s “naughty” bunch includes companies such as Barnes & Noble, Office Depot, and Victoria’s Secret. The AFA has even gone as far as to spearhead a one-month boycott of PetSmart for their censorship of the word “Christmas”.
According to the AFA, the trend is swinging back in favor of Christmas as they’ve seen the percentage of retailers referring to Christmas in their holiday advertising rise from 20 percent to 80 percent over the past 5 years.
Personally, I have no problem with saying “Happy Holidays”. However, if you feature a Christmas tree in your ad, you may as well say “Merry Christmas”.