Although the Christmas season is one of the most beloved aspects of American society, it has become increasingly subject to the same liberal ideologies that afflict institutions of higher education. During the Christmas season, acknowledging others with “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” has become a tacitly pejorative phrase. Conservative Americans have unwittingly allowed themselves to be reined in by the constraints of a secular population devoted to political correctness.

Former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly popularized the phrase “War on Christmas,” which identified Happy Holidays as the politically correct version to wish merriment unto others. Naturally, the propensity to regulate mainstream speech has altered other holidays — most notably Columbus Day, which was changed to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in Salt Lake this year. Virtue signaling on behalf of “inclusivity” drives Americans apart, focusing on the incongruences between members of society. Yet, for all the earnest effort that O’Reilly expended covering the War on Christmas, his hypothesis was slightly askew.

The actual problem is a coordinated offensive on the religious aspect of the Christmas season.

Those with liberal beliefs tend to believe in a thoroughly secular society that neutralizes language. Perhaps that is why saying Merry Christmas has created such a stir in the last decade — the terminology is a stark reminder of the religious underbelly of America. The War on Christmas might be a tiresome feud, but the fear on behalf of Americans to say Merry Christmas is a tangible issue. Whenever an administrator speaks about a “Holiday Tree,” they remove “Christ” from the environment. Christmas — a form of religious expression — is the vehicle for anti-religious organizers.

How does the attitude toward wishing another a Merry Christmas divide between Republicans and Democrats? According to a nationally representative study conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), “Democrats are more than twice as likely as Republicans to say that stores should use more general greetings such as ‘Happy Holidays’ (66% vs. 28%, respectively).” Perhaps that explains why Republican individuals feel the need to censure their language during the Christmas season — but this was already apparent.

More intriguing than the political divide is how Americans are choosing to celebrate and observe Christmas. “This year, 27 percent told PRRI their Christmas isn’t particularly religious — exchange presents, have a meal, head on home. That’s a 10-point jump from 2010 when only 17 percent of Americans said the same,” wrote PRRI in the aforementioned study. Resulting from the liberalization of the Christmas season is a secularization of the holiday. There is ample reason to be concerned about this trend; especially considering the de-emphasis on religious institutions in the United States.

Nonetheless, Christmas continues to be America’s dominant holiday — nearly 90 percent of Americans celebrate the day each year, regardless of religious affiliation. Through the influence of President Trump, the phrase Merry Christmas should continue to make its resurgence back into mainstream culture. Unlike the Obama family, Trump chose to sign the official White House Christmas card with Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. Of course, critics are already chastising the President for his decision, asserting that Merry Christmas is not inclusive.

Christmas Day Observance
The appeal to inclusivity, as Dennis Prager writes, “…plays on Americans’ highly developed sense of decency. Most Americans don’t want to gratuitously offend other Americans, so the inclusiveness argument has been effective.” Yet, who is being excluded from a celebration of a national holiday? Although Christmas is certainly not a Jewish individual’s “holy day,” it is a day recognized officially for celebration and merriment. Forcing others to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas is, therefore, the exact opposite of inclusive — it excludes the 90 percent of Americans who choose to celebrate a nationally recognized holiday.

Approaching Christmas, there is no rationale behind drastically altering your language to fit the progressive norm. If you celebrate the holiday for religious purposes, continue to wish others a Merry Christmas. Similarly, if you understand the value of a cohesive society joining together on a particular day, do not conform to the Happy Holidays nonsense. There might not be a War on Christmas in the sense that O’Reilly reported, but there is a distinctly liberal effort to neutralize the English language. Secularization and polarization are at the heart of the politically correct movement.

Thus, I wish a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

Nick Coleman

Nicholas Coleman

Vice Chair at Utah Federation of College Republicans