MTYT: Using the phrase 'Happy holidays' - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

MTYT: Using the phrase 'Happy holidays'

By Gary McNair - bio|email

Once upon a time, "Bah Humbug" was about the only expression you could use to voice your disapproval of the Christmas season.  But in recent years, it seems "Happy Holidays" is becoming just as bad. 

I can't understand why some people perceive a slight if I, or anyone else, use the phrase "Happy Holidays."  We get emails here about our holiday greetings and the use of "Happy Holidays" by advertisers. 

One woman even emailed us to complain about how we called the Wilmington Holiday Parade -- the Wilmington Holiday Parade.  We didn't name the parade, but it takes place in early December, not December 25th, so why shouldn't it be called the Holiday Parade?   

It seems right now some people are just looking for the slightest slip up in a greeting so they can accuse you of being either anti-Christian, or insensitive to other religions. 

My mother always said if you're looking for trouble, you can usually find it, and it seems to me that's exactly what's going on with these people fixated on analyzing greetings.  I think they do more harm than good to the point they are trying to make.  They certainly aren't demonstrating much love and understanding by putting a negative spin on it and shoving it back in your face.

If someone takes the time to say something nice to me in the form of a greeting, I'm going to accept it in the spirit I hope it was intended.  Shouldn't we all? 

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at


Emailed comments from viewers:

I'm afraid you missed the big picture with your opinion of expressing, "Happy Holiday" instead of, "Merry Christmas."  The attitude of, "it's just a word, what's the big deal, we don't want to offend other religions, there are other religions' celebration at the same time," misses the mark. 

What society wants to do is remove Jesus Christ and His name from EVERYTHING.  Oh no, I'm sure you're thinking, not another whiny Christian!  Well, it's really happening.  There are people who hate the name of Jesus, and there are those, with their heads in the sand, that don't see, or refuse to see, the truth.

Christmas, like most other Christian holidays, has a good dose of pagan ritual; enter Santa Claus.  In itself, that might not be a problem.  The kids love him , and who doesn't like getting gifts.  But why play down the Virgin Birth, the Love of God the Father, and incredible Love and Sacrifice of Jesus who came to save even the ones who want His name out of Christmas? 

But then again, maybe you're right.  Let's go with "Happy Holiday" and not worry about all that religious stuff.  Why don't we just officially rename the day, "Holiday" or maybe "Santa Day."  I've heard of an "Easter Bunny Day" in the spring.


I believe the removal of "Christ" and the continued attack on Christians by the "politically correct at all costs" groups is offensive to those of us who were raised under this country's Judeo-Christian tradition. We remember growing up having a "Christmas" break from school at this time of year, having a "Christmas" tree in our living room with "Christmas" presents under it, decorating the house with "Christmas" lights, receiving "Christmas" cards in the mail, attending "Christmas" parades and listening to "Christmas" music. There has been a continuous and systematic effort - aided by the media - to replace the "Christmas" theme that has been part of this country's tradition with a generic and sanitized "Holiday" season. I really didn't mind when I heard someone say "Happy Holidays" many, many years ago. But when "Holiday Lights", "Holiday Trees", and "Holiday Cards" started becoming more common, the term "Holiday" anything became associated with an attack on Christmas. Any person from any religious background is free to participate in the Christian tradions, but why do these things have to be renamed in the name of political correctness? Why has the simple mention of "Christ" became taboo? The fact that Christians are generally a non-violent, tolerant people is why this trend has continued - many religions would not tolerate this assault without an organized, deliberate and possibly violent response.


i am sure Mr Mcnair, that your station doesn't mind making money off of the Christmas advertising that comes into your station this time of the year as other businesses as well. let me ask you, have you ever thought about  July 4th, labor day,Easter, Martin Luther King day, Presidents day, Memorial day, Columbus day and new years day and saying to people HAPPY HOLIDAY when these days roll around? i am sure you dont. alot of people do not like to use the term Merry Christmas, but do not mind monopolizing on it at all. in fact they enjoy making the money, stock markets predictions depend on people spending their money for CHRISTmas it.i have never crammed my Christianity down anyones throat as most non believers call it.i choose to say Merry Christmas . after all, my understanding is holiday is derived from HOLY-DAY. so in fact ,if that is true then you are giving reverence to Christ-mas. but if your station chooses to say happy holidays, then i expect to hear it on your station when the above mentioned days roll around. after all, 73% according to the polls on other stations i look at, that people prefer to use Merry Christmas. i use stores that say Merry Christmas and look at tv stations that say the same. thank you for your time and Merry Christmas.


I completely agree with what you said this morning. I have been in public education for 11 years and one of my frustrations are the educators that continue to fight against the teachings of the history of other holidays. We are in America - the reason that people came here was for religious freedom! We need to continue to demonstrate that belief. People can say what they want - that our country was build on Christian prinicples - and I am proud to be a Christian - however, when I look into the eyes of my children at school that do not celebrate Christmas, I am reminded that we must respect ALL Holidays - we may not agree with it, but we need to at least respect it. In my profession, I am continually frustrated by folks that cannot see "outside their little world." As Americans, we need to include all of our brothers and sisters. As you said - Christmas is on December 25th - why should we say "Happy Holidays" on all the other days??

Once again, thank you for discussing this controversial subject!  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


I was so glad to hear and agree with your commentary on the above subject.  Since moving permanently from Raleigh, NC to the Surf City area 10 years ago we have attended a local church.  In the last year every Sunday the minister is recommending to the congregation to boycott certain businesses (Dicks Sporting, Home Depot, etc.) because of Christian beliefs, such as saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas".  We think this is wrong and certainly not "Christian", like you said - trying to start trouble.  We have enough "hate" in our country especially to come from so called Christians.  In the last 3 weeks we have attended church at home (watching tv-with Charles Stanley, David Jeremiah, etc,) who never indicates boycotting anyone or business instead of attending this church.  When someone wishes me Happy Holidays (and I am sure they are talking about all the holidays not just Christmas), I do wish them a Merry Christmas.  We live in America where we have freedom of speech - so any business or person should have the opportunity to have that freedom.

Thanks again for your positive comment on this subject.  Your negative comments from viewers on this subject is "Disgruntled Christians" I'm sure and I do not want to be a part of this.


Thank you!  Couldn't have been said any better!


This evening I just saw your views & comments on TV regarding the Christmas Season.  I disagree with you 100%.  It is not the Holiday Season but it is the Christmas Season.  If not why does the parade have Santa Claus in the parade?  He is there because it is the Christmas Season.  So please have the courtesy to say  " Merry Christmas and Happy & Healthy New Year.  Don't beat around the bush.  Say it as been said for so many years prior.  The ads for the stores in the Southeastern, NC  all talk about Christmas bargains and I believe stores ads throughout the US state Christmas opportunities in one way or another.  I am 76 years old and for all the years when I lived in South Jersey,. Kingston, NY , Raleigh, NC and now Hampstead, NC all I can  remember is people saying  was "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  The cards we receive this year, even from our Jewish friends, state Merry Christmas & Happy New Year., 


I watch your segment every time it is on. I do not think that saying Merry Christmas to someone who has said Happy Holidays to me is throwing it back in their face.


I usually agree with most of the things you share on My Turn, Your, Turn. However tonight on your broadcast on My Turn, Your Turn,  I did not agree with you on the issue of using the words Happy Holidays.  The reason for the season is celebrating Christ's birthday and we do not want to take Christ out of Christmas.  It is not an issue of whether we are offended or don't like the other greeting. It is not a matter of showing love or not. It is to the point and that is Christmas was started over 2000 years ago when Christ was born and we want to keep it.  We wish folks Happy Hanukkah,  Kwanza, or Ramadan and Merry Christmas should stay.


I agree that it's nice to receive at this time a year any pleasant greeting such as "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas" but let's be realistic...most businesses moved to the "Happy Holidays" greeting to maintain political correctness so as to avoid offending anyone.  I wonder what the greeting would be if Christmas Day simply did not exist.  Would their still be parades with Santa in them during the month of December?  Would the huge focus by retail stores to promote the "Holiday Season" and lure the public into buying their products still occur?  I don't think so.  The festive atmosphere is leading up to Christmas Day is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and that's why my family says "Merry Christmas"!


In response to you promoting the phrase "Happy Holiday" and stating that we should say this instead of the real greeting for the season "MERRY CHRISTMAS".

They do not call the Rose Bowl Parade "The Holiday Parade"

They do not call the Southport 4th of July Celebration "The Holiday Celebration"

I could give you probably a hundred of such celebrated days and events.

This parade is strictly to celebrate Christmas. 

It appears the only thing that can be left out being political correct is God and religion. 

I could get a lot more detailed and show how much it upsets me to hear you and others do this to the religion our nation was founded on.

Trying to take God and religion out of the celebration of the birth of Jesus, which is what Christmas is all about, is really disturbing.


I cheered as I watched your segment this evening.  I am a Christian who chooses to keep the "Christ" in "Christmas."  But I don't need everyone else to agree with me or celebrate the same way I do.  I will happily accept a "Happy Holidays" from anyone who is kind enough to share it with me.

Attention Christians: the surest way to ruin your Christmas season is to spend it complaining about something as insignificant as "Happy Holidays." If you'll're far more likely to have a merry Christmas.


Just a quick note to let you know I absolutely agree with you! We have people just waiting for something to complain about. They go looking for whatever offends their "better than thee" approach to life then are quick to react. Rather than try to meet ALL people where they are at in life, they feel somehow specially designated to ensure "christ" is in everything. They miss the most important fact of Christ...he met people where they were in their life's journey, embraced them, loved them and showed them the way to kindness and love. These hypocritical people are seeking to cover their shallow and helpless existence with being the "protectors" of Christ in everything. They sadly miss the point of His life and somehow feel worthy by trying for lame attention for their misguided work. Unfortunately, this element has been in play for many, many years. They were the witch hunter's in Salem, the Mcarthy era supporters and will constantly be amongst us. I just hope that when I pass on to the next life I do not end up in the same place as these folks. And to all this I wish you a "Happy Holiday"!!


I'm getting pretty close to the 70's and I grew up with "Merry Christmas" and "Christmas Parade" and any thing else that has to do with the season of Christ being born and anything  with Christ in the name!  There are too many changes and this one I don't like.  It is no wonder my grandmother kept saying, " I'm ready to go", because of so many changes that she was just tired of.  I understand now.


When I offer up greetings at this time of the year, I am cognizant of the fact that not all people have the same religious beliefs. HOLIDAY GREETINGS does not offend those whose beliefs are not of the Christian faith...and as a Christian, my greetings are sincere to all to whom they are offered.


The question is, what is wrong with "Merry Christmas", and why did it have to be changed?  An examination of that question may be revealing as to why some disagree with replacing that greeting with "Happy Holidays".  Christmas, you see,  is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Without Him there is no national "holiday" this month in the United States because this is a Christian nation founded on Christian principles and beliefs. Yes, the US is a Christian nation, much like Iran is a Muslim nation, and others were founded on the principles of Buddhism or Hinduism.  We Americans definitely do have a culture based in Christianity and do not have to subvert to foreign cultures. While people of those cultures are welcome to legally immigrate here and will not be persecuted for practicing their native religion here, that does not mean that we must stop openly practicing our religion or the way we celebrate our religious holidays for fear of "offending" them. It is obvious that you are a typically shallow liberal thinker.  To you, "Merry Christmas" is offensive enough to a small minority that it MUST be changed in the name of political correctness, however if a Christian refuses to exchange "Happy Holidays" with you then they are overly sensitive, petty, and mean spirited.  I could say the same about  those who are offended by "Merry Christmas".  As for your comment about the parade, Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and is the beginning of the Christmas Season on the Church calendar.  The retail Christmas Season begins the day after Thanksgiving.  This is why any parade held between the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day would be a "Christmas" parade. Personally, if you were to greet me with "Happy Holidays" I would take it as your trying to be nice and would simply respond with "Merry Christmas".


Point taken. So I can call Martin Lurther King Day civil rights day instead?


Gary, I appreciate your thoughts on this.  Here are my thoughts from my perspective as a Christian, for what it's worth:

What does the Bible say?
Romans 14:5 "One person regards one day above another, another regards every day {alike.} Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind."

Colossians 2:16 "Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day"

In my opinion, based on what I read in the Bible, we are not to force our thoughts on other people. If one choses to honor one day above another, so be it. If they chose not to, that is their choice. I don't think we are showing God's true nature, LOVE, when we attack others for not doing what we think they should be doing. If we do disagree with them, do so in a loving manner.

I agree with your statement that "They certainly aren't demonstrating much love and understanding by putting a negative spin on it and shoving it back in your face."  Christian's have done more to turn people away from God by responding without love than by having a loving heart and demeanor.


If the term is meant to replace Merry Christmas, then it is right to question its use. If it is used simply to refer to the holiday season, then it is acceptable.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season


There is nothing inherently offensive with the term "Happy Holidays". I do, however,  believe your comments miss the point that Christians are making.

As a Christian, Christmas is a very important time as we celebrate the birth of our Savior – Jesus.   HE is the "Christ" in Christmas – so the removal of Christ from the holiday is what we take issue with.

I will not be offended if you wish me "Happy Holidays", but I will wish you a "Merry Christmas",  because anything less doesn't represent the true meaning of the season.


Most of the time I agree with your comments, but this time I disagree... The parade should be called a Christmas Parade because it is all about Christmas. For many, many years the parade has been called a Christmas parade. Why change the name? What holiday are we celebrating? There is no holiday in early December, so what holiday are you referring to if not Christmas..I think the name has been changed to j be politically correct!!!! Thanks for allowing me to comment. LETS CALL IT WHAT IT IS A CHRISTMAS PARADE.


As for your editorial on  Happy Holiday versus Merry Christmas...I would personally prefer to hear someone say Merry Christmas.  Why?  Because the holiday we are celebrating as a Christian Nation is the remembrance of the birth of "Christ"...therefore we call it Christmas.  If someone chose to say Happy Holiday, I would be happy to accept that as kindness and I would merely say "Merry Christmas"back to them.

For as long as I can remember we have always said "Merry Christmas": and the parade was called the "Christmas" parade and the season was the "Christmas" Season.  It is obvious that your station goes out of it's way to avoid the Christmas word.  Political correctness I suppose. 

I personally will continue to say...

Merry Christmas!


Dear WECT. I understand your point on accepting a greeting that is in a good spirit. However December is the Christmas season and "Happy Holidays" is not the same is "Merry Christmas" because without Christ you have no Christmas. Also about the sales industry, Christmas has became way too commercial and many people miss the fact that Christmas is solely to celebrate the birth of Christ so the greeting "Happy Holidays" is a sort of generic greeting. About religious tolerance, the Christian people are always said to be intolerant but the Christians do not commit acts of violence like the Muslims they are said to be intolerant to. So we need to recognize the Holiday we are celebrating and not just use Generic terms such as "Happy Holidays" and if someone greets you with that nicely tell them that it is Christmas we are celebrating.


The Christmas parade could be held in July, and still be called the Christmas parade.  How dare you say it's no big deal to say Happy Holdidays or Merry Christmas.  To the most of the population of Wilmington, and probably all of America,  We have always celebrated Christmas, and wished our friends and neighbors, a Merry Christmas.  The celebration is of Christ's birth. 

Why try to be "politically correct and change this????  Why bow down to a few??

Oh, by the way.  Any idea why we haven't see the "Christmas" decorations at the White House yet?  Every year the public has been ivited via TV to see how beautifully decorated this "building" is.

Funny thing, last year on Thanksgiving day, my daughter and I went to a grocery store, the clerk was Indian, Pakistani, I'm truly not sure, but as we were leaving I wished him a Happy Thanksgiving, he responded, you too.  My daughter said, "They don't celebrate Thanksgiving" .  The young man didn't go off and say, Happy Holiday.  He responded like any American would. 

Merry Christmas to ya'll at the station. 


I see that those in charge at WECT still dion't get it!! Why do you tell your employees not to mention Christmas, if at all possible, in there broadcast. I would dare to say that 90% of your viewers are christians, Yet you continue to ignore them, and take the politically correct atheist view of the Christmas season. If there is no difference in saying "Happy Holidays" and "Merry Christmas". Then why not use the term "Merry Christmas"!! Your refusal to acknowledge Christmas as a christian holiday is like a slap in the face!! I will no longer do business with your advertisers and will encourage my friends to do the same.***BAH HUMBUG to those in charge at WECT. You are truly the Grinches who stole Christmas***  But to the rest of the employees "HAVE A VERY VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS"!!!!!


When i was growing up in the 1940's and 50's the term to discribe the season was the christmas season. Merry christmas was the term used when greeting people at that time. Since those times the term happy holidays has creeped in to replace merrry christmas. I don't know how it happened but as for me i for one prefer "merry christmas".


I hope you're having a good holiday season.  After listening to your segment I tried to imagine what it would have sounded like years ago when WECT did use "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" as its greeting.  I may be wrong but that's what I seem to remember.  If you had been at the station back then, I really couldn't imagine you having done a segment in which you politely scolded those that would say you should use "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year".

Instead, as is usually the case, the station decided to listen to the very loud small minority and ignore the silent majority just for the sake of political correctness.  However, nothing you or anyone else can say will change the fact that the two holidays (when we actually get time off) we celebrate this time of year are Christmas and New Years.  It's sad to see that our business leaders in many industries are falling victim to the vocal minority.

I'm a Christian and I don't believe that I'm being mean spirited or unloving when I take offense at someone reducing my Lords birth to the simple term holiday.  Christ told us that if we deny him in public that he will deny us in Heaven.  I can only assume from your position that this doesn't bother you. 

Have a Merry Christmas and I'll keep you in my prayers,


Beyond un-Christian reactions to a pleasant greeting, the irony of this situation is the lack of knowledge about the faith those complaining claim.

On the Christmas calendar, the four weeks before Christmas are Advent. Christmas starts -- not ends -- on December 25 and runs for 12 days until January 6.

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