Leone’s Chronicle: Just say Merry Christmas

By Tanner Leone

As the Christmas season rolls around, it’s pretty obvious the spirit of the holidays has undergone change over the last few years. Just a few years ago, December was marked with beautiful Starbucks cups, Christmas trees and lights in storefronts and greeting each other with “Merry Christmas!”

Now, the month of December is not “Christmas season” anymore. It’s “holiday season.”

It’s not just corporations that have phased out Christmas spirit. I get odd stares from waiters, teachers and friends when I tell them “Merry Christmas.” Almost every store has winter-themed decorations and few are brave enough to put up a Christmas tree.

Proponents of the term “Happy Holidays” claim it’s a minor change for everyone, but so much effort goes into stripping down Christmas-related garb.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AUSCS) have initiated efforts to remove Christmas from advertising and public displays through lawsuits and boycotts. In the town of Mesquite, NV, teachers were no longer able to say the words Merry Christmas on campus according to David Courtman, an attorney on the case. Courtman noted how employees at most major corporations can no longer wish their customers a merry Christmas without their company risking formal complaints or legal action.

For example last year, students at the University of North Carolina were forced to sell “holiday” trees instead of Christmas trees to fundraise for their clubs out of “respect for other religions.” I guess the holiday of giving is offensive.

Except, the fact is that the majority of Americans are not happy with the greeting of “Happy Holidays.” According to a study by Rasmussen Reports, a little over two-thirds of Americans prefer to be greeted with “Merry Christmas” by companies instead of “Happy Holidays.”

Furthermore, the ACLU has discussed initiatives to remove secularly-celebrated Christmas as a national holiday. In doing so, millions of federal employees would lose a day off for Christmas, and companies across many states would no longer be required to give holiday pay to workers or even allow workers the day off.

It would be one thing if a small minority of Americans celebrate Christmas, either religiously or secularly. However, a Pew Research study found that 92 percent of Americans, a large portion being non-Christians, celebrate Christmas.

The group of non-Christians who celebrate Christmas generally do so completely secularly. Non-religiously celebrated, the day turns from a holiday of Jesus’ birth to a day of giving, family and feasts.

Besides, Christmas, celebrated secularly, is a national holiday. Without the religious aspect of the 25th, Christmas could still be celebrated as the day of giving. There is nothing religious about lights, trees and giving gifts. I wish my fellow Americans a merry Christmas because it is a secular national holiday.

So please, celebrate the greatest treasure in life this 25th. The gift of giving and the treasure of family, or the day of Jesus’s birth. Merry Christmas to all.