“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 is frequently used by the American people while Happy Christmas is commonly used by the British. 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. They are generally used interchangeably but let’s take a closer look. You need to look this up on Wikipedia. Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas. They felt it was a term better associated with activities in the pub not celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. And rightfully so. Does anyone say "Happy Christmas"?. For example, you might say: Have a very merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year! 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. I think the issue is when major retailers say Merry Christmas, it kind of assumes that everyone celebrates Christmas. Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas: The Last Thing That Ever Needs To Be Said About It 12/04/2013 04:00 pm ET Updated Feb 03, 2014 Every year at the beginning of December some Americans engage in a ridiculous rhetorical ritual that recycles righteous arguments about whether people should say to one another Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Have a great solstice whatever. People associated being happy with being polite and quietly content and merry with dancing, drinking, feasting and celebrating. So Merry and Happy Christmas to you and your love ones! Why do we say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Christmas? Merrymaking of the ancient, alcoholic sort was frowned on year-round, perhaps never more so than during the celebration of the Savior’s birth. Merry Christmas Vs Happy Christmas. By M. Smith. 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. 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. Makes you sick, doesn’t it? 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). The phrases Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays do have some differences. Variations include “happy Christmas” and “merry Xmas” (where the “X” stands in for “Christ”). Church and ministry leadership resources to better equip, train and provide ideas for today's church and ministry leaders, like you. “Merry Christmas” is used in the U.S. while “Happy Christmas” is used in the U.K. We do say both, but Happy Christmas tends to predominate. "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays": A Summary of U.S. Holiday Greetings. Christmas was a regular day of work and an opportunity to remember God. Both are about enjoying Christmas…the only difference lies in the beginning adjectives. (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.”. 12/25/2020 01:35 Subject: Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays! Please also opt me in for Exclusive Offers from Patheos’s Partners, Swiss will vote on a guaranteed national income. 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. Ilana Mermelstein can be reached at imerm@umich.edu . The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, It’s Merry Christmas, Not Happy Christmas » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog. I don’t know about you, but I want to stand up for this Christmas season I love. In the 18th and 19th century when Christmas began to be more accepted in popular culture. Traditionally, the term happy means to be pleased, co… Merry Christmas refers, specifically, to the Christmas holiday, celebrated December 25th. The greetings and farewells "merry Christmas" and "happy Christmas" are traditionally used in English-speaking countries, starting a few weeks before December 25 each year. © 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. The greeting “Merry Christmas” has a pretty long history. Get updates from Cranach delivered straight to your inbox. Both are about enjoying Christmas…the only difference lies in the beginning adjectives. “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. Never do this - it's one of the quickest and easiest ways to irritate a Brit. Otherwise Happy Holidays. I want to defend the Christ whose birth I celebrate. Both happy and merry are terms used to describe a joyous and pleasureful situation. 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). 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. In Culture Exchange. 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. However, merry tends to be more of a celebration. Should we greet each other with vague holiday cheer or specific Christmas-related well wishes? Many of which are still used in modern Christmas celebrations today. They have the same meaning, are similar phrases. Charles Dickens was also thought to be a major influencer behind the popularity of this term. In fact, around this time, in the late 18th and 19th centuries, the term “Merry Christmas” really started to catch on. Once you look deeper at their origins and definitions you will see a few key differences. However, things began to change, and the holiday began to become more popular in everyday culture. Technically, retailers can say merry christmas, happy hanukkah, happy kwanzaa, etc, but it's just easier to say happy … In general, “Happy Holidays” is accepted as the broadest and most inclusive greeting at this time of year. This is because “Happy Christmas” is still a widely used phrase in many places—particularly in England. Both happy and merryare terms used to describe a joyous and pleasureful situation. Happy Holidays, Round 2,016. In the 18th century, when merry was first developed, it was actually a euphemism for being intoxicated. See what he says after the jump, along with what I say. 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. Merry Christmas vs. Merry Christmas to all! Also, send me the Evangelical Newsletter and special offers. 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… Also, send me the Evangelical Newsletter. European Santa Tracker – Pictures and Videos. Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters. Every year, around this time, the same debate comes to light. 0 . While merry depicts an active behavior of boisterous gaiety, mostly raucous. You are confusing England with the UK. 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. Yet, it isn’t like that everywhere else in the world. All visitors must be smiling and spreading that cheer also. This is a great post, but let me pose another possibility. Happy Holidays" debate has been a hot topic for a while now. Happy Christmas December 20, 2013 Gene Veith. Why Americans Say Happy Holidays Vs Merry Christmas. I don't care what you wish me. Yet “Merry Christmas” did not gain universal support. How no-one dares to say “Happy CHRISTMAS” in public anymore? Main Points About Merry Christmas vs Happy Christmas. Merry Christmas vs. Once you look deeper at their origins and definitions you will see a few key differences. The "Merry Christmas vs. You may hear the phrase “Merry Christmas” around the world, including in England. If … The term appears in 1534 in a Christmas letter between the Catholic Bishop John Fisher and Thomas Cromwell. Yes! Take a similar stroll down the streets of London and you may hear friendly voices wishing you a “Happy Christmas” instead. In fact, Christmas was illegal and the puritans in England and America panned the holiday. A 9-year-old viewer asked us to find out why we say Merry Christmas and not Happy Christmas. 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? 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. 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. To certain ears, then, “Happy Christmas” conveys a sober, well-earned enjoyment, the satisfaction resulting from hard work and virtuous living. Wait. It includes Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and even New Years. It contained the now household phrase “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”. Or should we say Happy Holidays? The debate between the 2 phrases goes back several decades. Yes, I want the Patheos Evangelical Newsletter as well, Identity Politics vs. Transactional Politics. 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. In the U.K. you will find Queen Elizabeth’s II’s annual Christmas address concluding with a “Happy Christmas” to all. Variations are: "Merry Christmas", the traditional English greeting, composed of merry (jolly, happy) and Christmas (Old English: Cristes mæsse, for Christ's Mass). The phrase "Merry Christmas" refers to a specific Christian holiday, while "Happy holidays" covers the winter holidays from a variety of traditions. WHY?? It made sense why the term merry began to be associated with Christmas so often during the 18th century. 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”. 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