‘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.