Happy Holidays

A guest post from Brett G., aka Mr. KnowledgeHungry


As Christmas approaches many of us change our greetings to each other from “Hello,” “Hi,” “How are you,” etc. to “Merry Christmas.”  This was typical in stores until a few years ago when corporate management changed this as they did not want to offend people who are not Christian.  So a simple “Happy Holidays” covers all religions.  When I see signs for Hanukah and Kwanza, but nothing for Christmas, I think that these businesses have gone too far in separating themselves from Christmas.  I know I am not alone when I hear others reply with “Merry Christmas” to the store employee’s greeting of “Happy Holidays.”


There is more to both of these greetings.  The word “merry” is an adjective for happy.  The definitions for merry include full of high spirited gaiety, jolly, and cheerful.  These are all good things to wish to someone when celebrating Christmas.  Slightly drunk is another definition for “merry.”  This poses a problem to some people for a variety of reasons.  So perhaps “Happy Christmas” is a better greeting than “Merry Christmas.”


Then there is the popular corporate greeting of “Happy Holidays.”  The word “holiday” means Holy Day.  Although this is meant to be a catch-all for all religions, there are many Holy Days for us to observe from late November to early January.  Following is a list of Holy Days for the season from the General Roman Calendar and the Proper Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America:


Last Sunday of Ordinary Time – SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING (may fall between 11/20 to 11/26)

Fourth Thursday – Thanksgiving Day (may fall between 11/22 to 11/28)

11/30 – Feast of St. Andrew

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT (may fall between 11/27 to 12/3)

12/3 – Memorial of St. Francis Xavier

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT (may fall between 12/4 to 12/10)

12/4 – Memorial of St. John Damascene

12/6 – Optional Memorial of St. Nicholas

12/7 – Memorial of St. Ambrose


12/9 – Optional Memorial of St. Juan Diego

THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT (may fall between 12/11 to 12/17)

12/11 – Optional Memorial of St. Damasus I

12/12 – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

12/13 – Memorial of St. Lucy

12/14 – Memorial of St. John of the Cross

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT (may fall between 12/18 to 12/24)

12/21 – Optional Memorial of St. Peter Canisius

12/23 – Optional Memorial of St. John of Kanty


Sunday in the octave of Christmas (or 12/30 if none) – Feast of the Holy Family

12/26 – Feast of St. Stephen

12/27 – Feast of St. John

12/28 – Feast of the Holy Innocents

12/29 – Optional Memorial of St. Thomas Becket

12/31 – Optional Memorial of St. Sylvester I

1/1 – Octave of Christmas


First Sunday after 1/1 – SOLEMNITY OF EPIPHANY (may fall between 1/2 to 1/8)

1/2 – Memorial of Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen

1/4 – Memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

1/5 – Memorial of St. John Neumann

1/6 – Optional Memorial of Saint Andre Bessette

Sunday after 1/6 – Feast of the Baptism of the Lord


Please keep all of these holidays in mind when greeted with “Happy Holidays.”  Whatever greeting you choose, please remember to Keep Christ in Christmas.




I have been tempted to respond to a cashier’s greeting of “Happy Holidays” with “If your employer knew all of the Catholic holidays I celebrate, you wouldn’t be allowed to wish me ‘Happy Holidays.'”  That is not a very charitable response, so I just smile and return a Christmas or holiday greeting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s