by Jason Snell
FiveThirtyEight looks at stats about where in the U.S. people are more predisposed to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”, and it’s more complicated than you might expect:
It is easy to imagine saying “Merry Christmas” as another cudgel in the culture wars between Christians and the irreligious. The actual story, however, is much more nuanced.
As someone who was raised with Christmas and married someone who was raised with Hanukkah, I find “Happy Holidays” a helpful phrase when I just don’t know what holidays they celebrate.1 I also find “Merry Christmas”—and its British equivalent “Happy Christmas”—delightful for people who celebrate Christmas. Either one works for me.
Since this site lacks most of the cutting-edge data mining features so popular on the web these days, I can’t actually detect which holiday or holidays you prefer to celebrate. So let me wish you happiness in all of them. We’ll be having the proverbial Merry Little Christmas here. Merry Christmas to everyone out there who celebrates it, and Happy Christmas to Doctor Who, who has to work every Christmas. Saving the world is a tough job.
- If any, I suppose, but there’s always the solstice and New Year’s Day. ↩