The Corner

In Defense Of “Happy Holidays”

Having read and heard several times today the usual complaint about the greeting “Happy Holidays,” I feel compelled to offer a defense. It was not originally intended to devalue Christmas and its meaning to Christians. The phrase was made popular by Irving Berlin’s original 1942 song, used in the film Holiday Inn. There was no mention of Jewish, Islamic, or synthetic African holidays. The song to “merry bells” and was clearly intended to refer to the holiday season between Christmas Eve and New Year’s. The phrase was used for many years by Americans and Canadians to refer to this holiday season, sometimes extending all the way through the 12 days of Christmas to Epiphany.

Only comparatively recently have some seculars sought to expropriate the term. Fie on them, but the phrase is a fine and useful one, particularly when visiting with friends or family on, say, Dec. 27.

Happy Holidays to you!

John Hood — John Hood is president of the John William Pope Foundation, a Raleigh-based grantmaker that supports public policy organizations, educational institutions, arts and cultural programs, and humanitarian relief in North Carolina ...

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