December 25th became an official Federal holiday in 1870 when it was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant. Americans have been officially “Merry Christmasing” for 146 years.
A few years ago a Rasmussen poll reflected:
Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 66% of American Adults prefer Merry Christmas. Just 21% like Happy Holidays instead. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided.
I looked for a more recent poll and couldn’t find one. Those numbers could have changed since then…
In my search I did find “predictions” that folks are becoming less religious intimating that “Merry Christmas” will go away. I certainly do not see an indication of that in all the TV commercials or add papers stuffed into my postal box. Folks seem to like “Merry Christmas” as greeting of good tidings and cheer. (The reason for the season conversation is a topic for another blog and post…)
Is Merry Christmas Offensive?
Probably to some. It seems there are folks who make a full-time job out of being offended now-a-days. We certainly do not want to offend anyone when it comes to our business communications.
However, are people really becoming offended or upset by a simple good wish of a Merry Christmas? The survey above doesn’t show that. Reading other recently published articles appears to indicate that folks don’t get all bent out of shape about it either.
In fact, if Happy Holidays is used it is generally not as a slam against Christmas, rather it is viewed to be a more inclusive greeting covering Christmas to New Years and everything in between.
Not in my experience…
All my life I have wished folks in person or in written cards and e-mails “Merry Christmas!” and I continue to do so to this day — including my business e-mails. Not once have my actions been brought to my attention as not appreciated, nor have I alienated or lost a single contact by doing so. Every single e-mail is responded back with a “Merry Christmas to you too!” — or just a “You too!”.
And, when I moved to the south a decade ago, I can tell you from experience there is a heck of a lot of “Merry Christmasing” going on — folks down here wouldn’t have it any other way! So, there you have a regional aspect to consider as well.
I have had folks wish me a Happy Hanukkah over the years. I’m not Jewish and I was not offended nor did I feel uncomfortable with them doing so. They offered me a nice wish with sincerity. What could be wrong with that?
If I know someone’s preference, I do not hesitate to offer them specific greetings of the season. Or if I’m addressing a large audience, I use Happy Holidays! Not because I am trying to avoid offending anyone, rather I am trying to offer mass good wishes!
What should you do in your Business E-mails? Whatever you decide; just be sincere!