Notice: All forms on this website are temporarily down for maintenance. You will not be able to complete a form to request information or a resource. We apologize for any inconvenience and will reactivate the forms as soon as possible.

Should We Say ‘Merry Christmas’?

‘Tis the season for, among other things, the annual division between those who say “Merry Christmas” and those who say “Happy Holidays.” You’ll never catch me saying the latter, for reasons I trust don’t need explaining on a Christian site. But I must say that, over the years, I’ve cooled a bit toward “Merry Christmas” too.

Don’t misunderstand. It’s not that I think the phrase is wrong or that I’ve banished it from my vocabulary. I still say it at times, especially when someone says it to me first. It’s just that I think there are better alternatives.

Merry is a word that fits comfortably with the secular version of Christmas. It’s about a mood: It’s about festivity and good feelings. That’s nice, but tradition aside, it’s not especially Christmas-y.

So how to improve on it? Sometimes I’ll wish people a joyous Christmas. Joy is deeper and more abiding than merriment, more likely to call attention to the Reason for the Season. Other times I’ll wish them a blessed Christmas. Same reason. After all, you can’t be blessed without the Source of the blessing.

Your thoughts?

Share This Post:

About the Author

Matt Kaufman

Matt Kaufman has been a columnist for Boundless since the site’s founding in 1998, and did a stint as editor in 2002-2003. He’s also a former staffer and current contributing editor for Focus on the Family Citizen magazine. Matt is a freelance writer/editor who spent some years in Colorado, but gave up the mountains for the cornfields: He now lives in his hometown of Urbana, home of the University of Illinois. His house is a five minute drive from the one where he grew up, and he enjoys daily walks around the park where he used to play baseball.

Related Content