Tucked away in the pages of memory I recall how merchants went out of their way to decorate the stores for the Christmas Season. In recent years the tradition withdrew into a bit of a visual absence. At first many chalked it up to the cost of doing it. I spent the last several days in Calgary and it is nice to see the decorating spirit is returning to shop window, and the critical eye of shoppers is not focused on being critical these days but rather enjoyed.
Unfortunately for a long time it has become the brunt of undue criticism in many areas. In fact it became a no win for anyone as merchants were in some cases criticized if they did and chastised if they didn’t decorate.
A short term solution? The Happy Holiday debate that in some cases became worse. So how did we get here? Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday, who is right, and is anyone wrong?
We have to go to the well of history for an answer. To start with for those arguing you are all right. For those in the strictest tradition, Merry Christmas is fully acceptable. For those who are using Happy Holiday, believe it or not you are being just as respectful.
See the term Happy Holiday is not the creation of Walmart, or Coca-Cola or any other commercial enterprise. Oh for sure in the late eighteen hundreds advertising in major centers used the term to create more secular involvement, but that was not the origin of Happy Holiday. The craze did not start in the nineteen thirties either as scores of other believe. No it goes back much further than that.
When those who argue with their heart in the spiritual tradition
that Merry Christmas is the only response and the secular folks argue for Happy Holiday or Holidays, both sides miss the point.
The word Holiday actually comes from the Old English words Holy Day or Holy Days. And the terms origins begin around nine fifty AD,
I just thought it would be nice to know we’ve all been arguing for nothing and saying the same thing.
So Merry Christmas or if you like or Happy Holidays if you prefer.
Editor’s Note: some people ask me – who is this Fred Steele. Follow him on Facebook. A former broadcaster in the Okanagan, raised on a farm and when the microphone failed one day he returned to the land near Kelowna and was elected a number of times as the leader who could speak to government – President of the BC Fruit Growers. Merry Christmas Fred….