Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The word holiday came from a mispronunciation of the word holy day (or, as it was spelled in Old English, hāligdæg).

So it confuses me when Christians get upset at being wished Happy Holidays (or Happy Holy Days) instead of Merry Christmas. How in the world is saying Happy Holidays secularizing Christmas?!? What part of holy don't they get?

I'm an Atheist, yet I'm not offended when someone wishes me Happy Holidays, even though the days aren't at all holy to me. I'm not offended when someone wishes me Merry Christmas either. Or salam walaikum, for that matter (it means peace be with you or peace be upon you, in case you didn't know). Heck, I don't even get upset when someone says, Bless you. I take any of these greetings as good will gestures - people wishing me happiness. And the world needs more good will, no question.

What do I say? I'll say just about anything to wish someone a happy day:
  • Happy Eid
  • Happy Hanukkah
  • Happy New Year (Lunar, Persian or Gregorian calendar)
  • Merry Christmas
  • Joyous Yule
  • Happy Festivus
I just want you to have a happy day, with or without a belief in an invisible friend. I hope you will wish the same for me.

And in case you are wondering: yes, we'll be having turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, and cream of tomato soup on Thursday. Turns out it all tastes just as good without God. We'll be thankful to the farmers, supermarket workers, truckers and other food producers and shippers that made our meal possible. We'll be counting up the good things that have happened, through our own hard work, through the help of others, and through chance. And drinking heavily. We might even take some time to think about scientists, inventors, engineers, researchers, activists and others who have helped our world and our lives. And, yes, we'll still call it Thanksgiving - we'll just be thankful to humans rather than an invisible friend.

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