0 . Merry Christmas vs. President Trump is clear which season's greeting he thinks should be used - but do Americans care? Anonymous: If you know the other person celebrates Christmas, "Merry Christmas". Wait. While merry depicts an active behavior of boisterous gaiety, mostly raucous. However, today, rules on “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Christmas” aren’t so strict. In the 18th century, when merry was first developed, it was actually a euphemism for being intoxicated. Trump, Obama and the War on Christmas A look at how the phrases "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" were used under President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama. How no-one dares to say “Happy CHRISTMAS” in public anymore? For example, you might say: Have a very merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year! Merry Christmas refers, specifically, to the Christmas holiday, celebrated December 25th. Your email address will not be published. How to Use “Merry Christmas” “Merry Christmas” is a traditional greeting used to express good tidings during the holiday season. The greeting “Merry Christmas” has a pretty long history. Variations are: "Merry Christmas", the traditional English greeting, composed of merry (jolly, happy) and Christmas (Old English: Cristes mæsse, for Christ's Mass). In the U.K. you will find Queen Elizabeth’s II’s annual Christmas address concluding with a “Happy Christmas” to all. The phrases Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays do have some differences. Saying 'Merry Christmas' rather than 'Happy Christmas' seems to go back several hundred years. Many people started greetings with “Merry” instead of “Happy”—some members of the British upper class thought that the word merry had vulgar connotations. There is no denying that these two terms are quite similar, and almost identical in nature. So Merry and Happy Christmas to you and your love ones! (Another example would be “Fall” instead of “Autumn.”)  Americans went through Prohibition but still used “Merry,” whereas Australians–who make merry quite a bit in the 16th century sense–still use “Happy Christmas.”. Merry Christmas or Happy Christmas, why do we say Merry instead of Happy? You may hear the phrase “Merry Christmas” around the world, including in England. Merry Christmas to all! IMPORTANT: We are dedicated to spreading the spirit and joy of Christmas everyday of the year. They have the same meaning, are similar phrases. Andrew McGill December 20, 2016. WHY?? Matthew Schmitz explains the difference between “merry Christmas” and “happy Christmas” and why the former is a more fitting greeting. @16PinOak: You said it started as Merry Christmas so I was just working from that.We said all 3 Merry Christmas to Christians, Happy Holidays when it was not the exact day but in between Thanksgiving and NYE and Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends of which I have many and I'm 65. This is because “Happy Christmas” is still a widely used phrase in many places—particularly in England. I don't care what you wish me. Before this, the term “Happy Christmas” was more common. Merrymaking of the ancient, alcoholic sort was frowned on year-round, perhaps never more so than during the celebration of the Savior’s birth. Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters. Required fields are marked *. Suffice it to say that when our Lord comes I hope I do not greet him with dignified reserve but instead rush at him with the unguarded, unembarrassed joy of a child at play or man at his cups. We asked an English Professor at High Point University to explain. © I Spot Santa™ 2009-2019, Murena Entertainment LLC™, NP Newsroom, Denali Park: The Puffy Jacket, Official Letter To Santa Claus (Printable), Mrs. Claus’ Favorite Christmas Recipes: Cookies and Breads, Santa Facts – Magical Powers and Revelations, 5 Santa Sightings That Will Make You Believe, The BEST Soft & Chewy Snickerdoodle Cookies Recipe. However, in the 17th century, it didn’t mean this was a phrase that was being used as regularly as it is today. 12/25/2020 01:35 Subject: Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays! Matthew Schmitz,  It’s Merry Christmas, Not Happy Christmas » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog: Christmas is conspicuously the only time of year when the word “merry” receives heavy use. Back to the Middle Ages, when Christmas was truly a holiday that could be described as “merry.” Back then, Christmas included 12 days of feasting, entertainment, singing and celebrating—it was a merry Christmas back then indeed. Many people wanted to bring the holiday back to its former glory. Christmas was a regular day of work and an opportunity to remember God. Merry Christmas is frequently used by the American people while Happy Christmas is commonly used by the British. Does anyone say "Happy Christmas"?. Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays. The same cultural impact wasn’t happening across the pond. Ilana Mermelstein can be reached at imerm@umich.edu . Most people think this is the biggest way to differentiate between “merry” and “happy” is simply that. See what he says after the jump, along with what I say. Both happy and merry are terms used to describe a joyous and pleasureful situation. In the 18th and 19th century when Christmas began to be more accepted in popular culture. and other seasonal greetings.” The dictionary says “happy” is used similarly “in expressions of good wishes for a person or persons on a celebratory occasion, event, day, etc., as happy birthday, happy Christmas, happy New Year, etc.” Well of course, it’s all down to “political correctness”. By M. Smith. The phrase "Merry Christmas" refers to a specific Christian holiday, while "Happy holidays" covers the winter holidays from a variety of traditions. Then of course did this new phrase “Merry Christmas.”, It was in 1843 when the term was used in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I suspect this is an example of American English preserving older expressions that were current when the colonies were settled but that have since dropped out of British English. It could also be due to Charles Dickens book A Christmas Carol. If you found this article interesting, you’ll found “Why Christmas is on December 25th” interesting too, the reason surprised us. I want to defend the Christ whose birth I celebrate. The Night Before Christmas (Clement C. Moore’s, I mean, not Nikolai Gogol’s) ends with the words, “A Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.” Queen Elizabeth II wishes British subjects a “Happy Christmas” in her annual Christmas broadcasts, and the phrase enjoys a broad general currency the U.K. What accounts for the difference? European Santa Tracker – Pictures and Videos. Frequently in Merry Christmas! Both are about enjoying Christmas…the only difference lies in the beginning adjectives. They have the same meaning, are similar phrases. People associated being happy with being polite and quietly content and merry with dancing, drinking, feasting and celebrating. Explore the world's faith through different perspectives on religion and spirituality! In Culture Exchange. However, you can also see just as many literary references to the phrase “Happy Christmas.” Clement C. Moore’s The Night Before Christmas, ends with “A Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.”. They are both wonderful greetings to those you see around the Christmas holiday. I Spot Santa April 24, 2019 Christmas Facts Leave a Comment. Walk down a festive, holly-trimmed street in December, and chances are you will be greeted with a hearty “Merry Christmas.” Here in the United States, this is the average greeting during the holiday season. Here is a look at where these two terms come from and what they mean. False Right-wing Political Appeal to Ancient Christian Heretic... False Right-wing Political Appeal to the Ancient Christian Heretic Pelagius All too... There’s a message that kills and a message that gives life. It includes Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and even New Years. Your email address will not be published. You can look at literary references to see how far back the term “Merry Christmas” is used. The "Merry Christmas vs. It contained the now household phrase “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”. Why do we say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Christmas? 0. Yes, I want the Patheos Evangelical Newsletter as well, Identity Politics vs. Transactional Politics. (Similarly, in Holland some of the more strictly reformed Dutch prefer Zalig Kerstfeest—“Blessed Christmas”—to Vrolijk Kerstmis—“Merry Christmas.”). I don’t know about you, but I want to stand up for this Christmas season I love. Christmas is the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, which, in Western Christian Churches, is held annually on 25 December.For centuries, it has been the subject of several reformations, both religious and secular. Then again in 1565 in a document called the Hereford Municipal Manuscript. Many of which are still used in modern Christmas celebrations today. Once you look deeper at their origins and definitions you will see a few key differences. To certain ears, then, “Happy Christmas” conveys a sober, well-earned enjoyment, the satisfaction resulting from hard work and virtuous living. The word “Merry” stems from the old English myrge, which means “pleasing, agreeable, pleasant or sweet”, and Christmas stems from the late Old English Cristes mæsse, that means “Mass of Christ.” Merry Christmas everyone! Happy Christmas December 20, 2013 Gene Veith. Every year, around this time, the same debate comes to light. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, pushed it forward, as did industrialization: The first commercially sold Christmas card (also printed in 1843) contained the salutation “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You,” which depicted a prosperous family framed by images of people feeding and clothing poor people. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Have a great solstice whatever. In fact, Christmas was illegal and the puritans in England and America panned the holiday. “Merry” appeared in both the Wyclife and King James bibles in reference to intoxication, where it describes an evening in the life of the rich man Nabal: “He held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken.” (To wish someone a holiday feast like Nabal’s was to wish him a very good Christmas indeed.). "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays": A Summary of U.S. Holiday Greetings. I think the issue is when major retailers say Merry Christmas, it kind of assumes that everyone celebrates Christmas. The perennial debate gets a new coat of cheer from Donald Trump. Which phrase conveys a more fitting response to the overwhelming, unearned, gift of Christ’s birth? Technically, retailers can say merry christmas, happy hanukkah, happy kwanzaa, etc, but it's just easier to say happy … Should we greet each other with vague holiday cheer or specific Christmas-related well wishes? “Merry Christmas” is used in the U.S. while “Happy Christmas” is used in the U.K. Otherwise Happy Holidays. Persecution: The New Reality for Biblical... Trump Turns the Country Over to the Democrats, The Cranach Reader Who Predicted COVID-19. If you are anything like me, your social media feed has been full of debate relating to the use of “Merry Christmas” this holiday season. However, Happy Holidays include all festivals, whether they are religious or not. They are generally used interchangeably but let’s take a closer look. Merry Christmas is a greeting that is used when specifying Christmas, so if one wishes someone Merry Christmas, they are only wishing them to have a happy Christmas. Yes! Did you know the first Christmas Card, sent in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole, had this wording on it: “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You”. Once you look deeper at their origins and definitions you will see a few key differences. After a period of time where Christmas celebrations were outlawed by the Puritans. It's a controversy that everyone has an opinion on. Why Americans Say Happy Holidays Vs Merry Christmas. Also, send me the Evangelical Newsletter. Is Santa Claus Real? By looking at historic literary works, you will see how far back this greeting can be traced. You may be surprised to find that while many people think of “Merry Christmas” as the more modern of the two phrases. Patheos has the views of the prevalent religions and spiritualities of the world. You are confusing England with the UK. Find out the truth here! Also, send me the Evangelical Newsletter and special offers. Happy describes inner emotional conditions too deep to demonstrate. You need to look this up on Wikipedia. Whether it’s “merry Christmas” or “happy holidays,” they say the same thing: I hope you have a happy, healthy holiday season. They are generally used interchangeably but let’s take a closer look. Variations include “happy Christmas” and “merry Xmas” (where the “X” stands in for “Christ”). His popular story helped usher in new Victorian Christmas stories, myths and traditions. It's first recorded in 1534 when John Fisher (an English Catholic Bishop in the 1500s) wrote it in a Christmas letter to Thomas Cromwell: "And this our Lord God send you a mery Christmas… I want to advocate for the God whose name is being blighted and whose glory is being shoved as far from public circles as possible. However, the resilience of the U.K. with this term actually has to do with some of the British upper class. For starters, it's important to note that "Happy Christmas" hasn't faded completely—it's still widely used in England. We do say both, but Happy Christmas tends to predominate. Both are about enjoying Christmas…the only difference lies in the beginning adjectives. If … In fact, around this time, in the late 18th and 19th centuries, the term “Merry Christmas” really started to catch on. When living in America during the December holiday season you may have noticed a little more than just Christmas trees, Santa hats, and other festive decorations. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, It’s Merry Christmas, Not Happy Christmas » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog. Merry Christmas and Happy Christmas are both greetings used during the last part of December, around Christmastime.The first word of each is only capitalized when used as a greeting. This is believed to be because "happy" took on a higher class connotation than "merry," which was associated with the rowdiness of the lower classes. The phrase “Merry Christmas” would hang on, but the image of a family sharing a bottle of port or wine in the first commercial Christmas card was to give way to more temperate holiday depictions. Take a similar stroll down the streets of London and you may hear friendly voices wishing you a “Happy Christmas” instead. While each of these phrases have a unique history—they both share the same sentiment. What started as a dispute forged by religious preference became an argument of political malice. All visitors must be smiling and spreading that cheer also. Not one to celebrate with feasts and celebrations. Happy Holidays" debate has been a hot topic for a while now. Charles Dickens was also thought to be a major influencer behind the popularity of this term. Yet “Merry Christmas” did not gain universal support. Also, if “merry” connotes intoxication, why isn’t there a tradition of saying “Merry New Year!”  It is interesting that the secularist levellers say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Holidays.”  I propose that we say “merry” in those contexts, just to throw people off. There is no denying that these two terms are quite similar, and almost identical in nature. Never do this - it's one of the quickest and easiest ways to irritate a Brit. Posted November 24, 2016. Patheos Explore the world's faith through different perspectives on religion and spirituality! They felt it was a term better associated with activities in the pub not celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Traditionally, the term happy means to be pleased, content and satisfied. If you know someone celebrates Christmas you can go with “Merry Christmas,” but ‘tis the season for interacting with strangers (selling to them, buying from them, bumping into them on your way out of Target). However, it is more complex than that. In general, “Happy Holidays” is accepted as the broadest and most inclusive greeting at this time of year. We may no longer associate “merry” with spirits alcoholic as well as high, but the meaning was once familiar. The greeting “Merry Christmas” dates back to at least 1565, in which year the author of the Hereford Municipal Manuscript wrote “And thus I comytt you to god, who send you a mery Christmas & many.” Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, pushed it forward, as did industrialization: The first commercially sold Christmas card (also printed in 1843) contained the salutation “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.”. Merry Christmas Vs Happy Christmas. ‘Happy Holidays’ Is Pro-Christmas ... I’ll say, “Merry Christmas.” The other person will respond, “Happy holidays.” Tranquility turns to tension. This moral suspicion of “Merry Christmas” dates back to the Methodist churchmen of the Victorian era who sought to promote sobriety among the English working class. Merry Christmas vs. After all, we say, “Happy Birthday” and “Happy New Year” but why do we say “Merry Christmas”? Especially as the term “merry” continued to become a more common phrase in common English American language. Many attribute this to the fact that while Americans started to change from “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Christmas” (a term that was brought over from British settlers). So, influencers of the time looked back to the history of the Christmas holiday. When one is speaking of a happy or merry Christmas, the adjectives are lowercase. Both happy and merryare terms used to describe a joyous and pleasureful situation. “Merry Christmas” stirs in us an impulse more primitive and unrestrained: The childlike giddiness of Christmas morning, the rush down the stairs and tearing at paper, the intemperate delight in gifts long hoped-for and wholly undeserved. I think you will find that “Happy Christmas” is what they say in England and much of its  Commonwealth, whereas “Merry Christmas” is what we say in America. However, things began to change, and the holiday began to become more popular in everyday culture. Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas. And rightfully so. Get updates from Cranach delivered straight to your inbox. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Happy Christmas -- the season of goodwill and peace carries loaded greetings. The debate between the 2 phrases goes back several decades. However, merry tends to be more of a celebration. 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