I've never understood the big deal about saying "Happy Holidays!" rather than "Merry Christmas!". The only people who DO seem to have their panties in a bunch over the issue are the devout fundie-nutberger Hypochristians that seem to be trying to mandate all social, political, educational, environmental, economic and spiritual aspects of public American life.
I, as a self-affirmed atheist, prefer Happy Holidays. And not just because I'm an atheist. I have enough empathy and outer-awareness to realize that there are many people in the world who do not believe in Jesus, or who celebrate other religious holidays that just happen to coincide with the Christian holiday of Christmas. In conscious acknowledgment of these people, and with deepest respect for them, I will gladly wish people a "Happy Holiday".
If someone should wish me a Merry Christmas I tend to be okay with that because I realize that they probably just don't understand the vast array of human religions that occupy the same time frame on the calendar as Christmas. Furthermore, the wish was made from good intentions, so no harm no foul. I can excuse people their ignorance (to a degree!) if they at least meant well.
What bothers me deeply, however, are those fundie-nutbergers I referred to previously. For all their defense of Jesus they just refuse to share the arena with anyone who doesn't believe what they believe. They don't say, "Merry Christmas" because they don't know any better. They say it because it's a defiant in-your-face to everybody who is not like them. But they don't stop there. No, not those rabid Palin-Knows-Best hypocrites. They go one step further: they are furiously insulted if someone wishes them a "Happy Holiday", or even worse, if a business or any other establishment espouses "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas". They have no regard for other people's beliefs and somehow think they hold a monopoly on December... a month in which Jesus was never even really born.
And yet, they don't realize and/or care that there are people of other faiths out there who may be offended by their narrow-minded Christmas wish of happiness.
After all, it's not a blessing they are trying to bestow on others, it's a mandate.
Intolerance of others was not something Jesus ever espoused (okay, except for maybe the money-changers) yet these Christo-fanatics are in fact behaving in a very Un-christian like fashion. Thusly, they have disqualified themselves as true Christians, i.e., a religious FAIL.
And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Take the poll and let the world know where you stand:
Peace on Earth, good will to ALL... even if you believe in Flying Spaghetti Monsters (maybe even especially).