Northwest Horizons

Is it okay to wish people a Merry Christmas in schools or stores?

A+decorated+Christmas+tree+sits+in+an+open+window%2C+a+popular+decoration+to+celebrate+the+holiday.
A decorated Christmas tree sits in an open window, a popular decoration to celebrate the holiday.

A decorated Christmas tree sits in an open window, a popular decoration to celebrate the holiday.

A decorated Christmas tree sits in an open window, a popular decoration to celebrate the holiday.

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The snow falls sleepily on the frozen ground as christmas music floats from the radio.  Silver bells ring from every street corner, carolers singing along with them.

December is a month dominated by Christmas, even from November 1st you can hear the distant sound of bell-ringers and can see lights up on every street.  So, with so many people celebrating this holiday, is it wrong to say Merry Christmas to strangers or in school?

I would say no.  

Christmas has been a western tradition since the 4th century, when church officials decided to mark the birth of Jesus a holiday.  And because a birth date isn’t mentioned, Pope Julius I named the date to be December 25.  The holiday has taken many traditions from other cultures, spreading across the globe and transforming into new holidays with new ways to celebrate.

It wasn’t originally celebrated by the settlers of America, it was actually banned in Boston from 1659-81.  But after the United States was formed and new culture started to develop, Christmas as we know today started up again.

However, Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until 1870, after Christmas died out due to the American Revolution.  Since then, Christmas has taken on many forms, but most people share their ideas on Christmas and celebrate it the same.  

Today, around 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas, according to Pew Research Center, and, surprisingly, around 80% of non-christians celebrate Christmas.  It’s become more American culture than a religious holiday since its beginnings, prompting more and more to join in on the celebrations.  

Christmas has more or less turned into a celebration of coming together and charity, a long part of American tradition that has slowly transitioned from Christian beliefs to a season of giving and family.  People now share the tradition of Santa Claus and decorating trees, rather than the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Because of this, I believe it’s okay to wish people a merry Christmas.

Sophomore Mya Hulse, however, has a different opinion.

“I think people should say ‘happy holidays’ if they aren’t sure what to say, but I don’t think saying ‘Merry Christmas’ is necessarily a bad thing.”  Hulse said.  

Christmas is not just a religious holiday, it’s a celebration of family and the winter season.  Since it’s spread in America, it’s taken on new connotations, new traditions, and many more people celebrate.  People should be able to wish people a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or whatever their heart desires.  

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Is it okay to wish people a Merry Christmas in schools or stores?