Happy whatever

I usually have no qualms at all about saying “Merry Christmas”, but that’s all over now, thanks to a certain orange person who wants to compel us to say it. So fuck Merry Christmas.

I’m celebrating Sithmas this year, instead.

Oglaf (NSFW)

Oglaf (NSFW)

And every year hereafter. The man, and every other “War on Christmas” jerk, has tainted an inoffensive greeting forever.


  1. Gregory Greenwood says

    This calls for small act of mockery. So, this year I dedicate We wish you a Scary Cthulumas to you, Donald. I’ve got your war on Christmas right here:-

    We wish you a Scary Cthulumas
    We wish you a Scary Cthulumas
    We wish you a Scary Cthulumas
    And a Squamous New Year!

    Dark tidings we bring
    To you and your kin
    Dark tidings of Cthulumas
    And a Squamous New Year!

    Now bring us a Squiddy Overlord
    Now bring us a Squiddy Overlord
    Now bring us a Squiddy Overlord
    And may we be eaten first!

    We won’t go until He rises
    We won’t go until He rises
    We won’t go until He rises
    So bring forth His rebirth!

    Dark tidings we bring
    To you and your kin
    We wish you a scary Cthulhumas
    And a Squamous New Year!

  2. HidariMak says

    I just go with the bog standard “Happy Holidays”. And if they complain, I follow up with “in that case, have a Merry Christmas and a miserable New Years”. Cheers, y’all.

  3. millssg99 says

    If you consider it a inoffensive greeting and you don’t say it now because of Trump or you consider it “tainted” IMO you have let him win. I wouldn’t let him have that kind of power over my inoffensive behavior.

  4. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @4:
    better response than mine. I would just follow such response with rude expletive. you know, “FU2” [not abbreviated]
    (me such a shithead) ?

  5. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I wouldn’t let him have that kind of power over my inoffensive behavior.

    Gee, I don’t give a shit what Trump says, other than it is likely wrong. But I don’t say merry christmas to everybody. Some of our friends are atheists, jews, muslims, hindus….get the picture? Personalize the message, and don’t offend people through your own ignorance. When in doubt, be general. That is called politeness/civility.

  6. millssg99 says

    Nerd I don’t say Merry Christmas to a lot of people either for the same reasons you just cited. Did you really completely miss the point of my post??? I don’t need to “get the picture”. PZ just said he considered inoffensive and it is now tainted for him because of Trump. Good grief.

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @9:
    I thought PZ was saying “Merry Christmas” is now tainted, becuase of Trump when it had previously been a generic, inoffensive greeting to all regardless of affiliation. Maybe my reading comprehension misunderstood. Regardless, I have, since high school, gone with the pagan “Happy Solstice” during this part of the year for greeting randoms. Select few get the Merry Christmas only out of respect for their feelz.
    Even with all the ubiquity of the outrage, I still get the offense at “Happy Holidays”. me still not understands.

  8. jacksprocket says

    I was wished a happy Christmas by a Hindu on Friday, and by a different one yesterday. And I responded, as a nontheist, by reciprocating. Wonderful people, and I hope they think the same of me.

  9. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @10
    all hail tpyos:
    I still don’t get the offense at “Happy Holidays”
    the bolded got typoed @10

  10. millssg99 says

    I said:

    If you consider it a inoffensive greeting and you don’t say it now because of Trump or you consider it “tainted” IMO you have let him win. I wouldn’t let him have that kind of power over my inoffensive behavior.

    Let x represent what one considers inoffensive behavior. Leave out for a moment whether that is or is not inoffensive behavior. I was simply submitting that I wouldn’t change that behavior because of Trump. My point was not about what is or is not inoffensive behavior. I thought that was clear. As I reread it I still think it was clear. However, if it was not let this stand as a clarification.

    For the record right before I commented this morning I texted two Merry Christmas’s and one Happy Holiday.

  11. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @13:
    I said I was having trouble with reading comprehension for a moment. sorry I misconstrued your earlier response.
    I am currently AFU.
    To clarify. I understand you fully and simply hold exactly the same approach to this season’s greetings. *shrug*

  12. malachiconstant says

    What are you really talking about?

    I’m an atheist public school teacher in Texas who has to stand there for the pledge of allegiance each morning. Are you actually saying that you’re never gonna say “merry christmas” because that idiot is in office? Like, when you’re checking out in a grocery store and the checkout person says it? To that person who probably isn’t even aware about the “war on christmas” stuff?

    THAT’S why you’re not gonna say it? THAT’S your breaking point?

    What does this post even mean? When someone says “merry christmas” to you I’m guessing you’ll nod or not acknowledge it, cause you’re not a jerk.

    What do you mean by “fuck Merry Christmas”?

  13. says

    It means I won’t say it. I have no problem with others saying it.

    But if my saying “Happy Holidays” pisses someone off, I now have a useful tool to detect assholes.

  14. says

    @#10, slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem))

    Even with all the ubiquity of the outrage, I still get the offense at “Happy Holidays”. me still not understands.

    In the U.S., people who describe themselves as “conservative” are more accurately described as “reactionary”. They don’t actually have any independent plan or ideology, beyond “make liberals angry and upset”. Liberals don’t want to presume Christianity, and want to be inclusive to minorities, and saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” accomplishes the first directly and permits non-Christians (who are made up of various minority religious groups) to be accommodated.

    If, tomorrow, all the targets of their hate vanished somehow — aliens or magic or something — they would be saying “Happy Holidays” again; it’s only because it permits them to strike a blow against their perceived enemies that they raise a fuss at all.

  15. says

    My, my. Well, that wonderful Xmas spirit is certainly in evidence in this thread, with so many people rushing to spit poison at PZ. A Very Merry indeed.
    PZ, I am very sorry you were denied a sabbatical, and it must be difficult, not having your loved ones with this year. It’s been an awful year, and I can’t say I’m overly filled with any holiday warmness. That said, I do hope that in the following year, we can all commit to being better, more mindful and compassionate, and hopefully, by this time next year, my Happy Holidays! will ring more true.

    Have a restful Holiday, PZ, and here’s to a better year for all (I’m just going to ignore reality for a moment.)

  16. robro says

    Some of the original lyrics to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” as written by Hugh Martin in 1943 before Judy Garland and Vincent Minelli got him to rewrite the song to lighten it up for Meet Me in St. Louis.

    Have yourself a merry little Christmas
    It may be your last
    Next year we may all be living in the past

    Have yourself a merry little Christmas
    Pop that champagne cork
    Next year we may all be living in New York.

    Under the circumstances, the original lyrics may be appropriate.

    Personally, I’m going to say whatever I feel like saying in the moment. What Trump is suggesting is forcing businesses to use “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays” in their advertising…we’re looking at you Starbucks. Whether he can make that actually happen is to be determined, of course. It is a matter of free speech and businesses have some clout in government and batteries of lawyers to make their case…can we say Citizens United?

    And Trudeau is right on target about Trump’s credentials as a Christian. I’m fairly confident he is not a religious person, and only been to churches when it served his business cum political purposes. His support among conservative and evangelical Christians merely servers to highlight their moral turpitude.

  17. futurechemist says

    I think context matters. As long as they are genuinely wishing me well, I don’t really care if someone tells me happy holidays or merry Christmas. As a culturally Jewish atheist who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, I will always say happy holidays because I won’t assume the other person celebrates Christmas.

    That said, I’ve actually mellowed out over the years. As a child, I was always insecure about my otherness. So whenever someone would say merry Christmas to me, it always made me feel uncomfortable because it was emphasizing to me that I wasn’t “normal”.

    At a mall a couple of weeks ago, I overheard a woman telling her young kids “Now remember. Always say merry Christmas, and never happy holidays”. My initial opinion of her was that she was a bad parent.

  18. rpjohnston says

    All Greetings Matter. Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Happy Holidays =)

    – That’s what I’m going with.

  19. John Morales says

    I’m happy to say “Merry Christmas” as a phatic utterance, but then I’m in Australia.

    What a weird thing to get culturally hung up about — turning it into a shibboleth.

  20. malachiconstant says

    @16 PZ Myers

    You interact with regular people/students. You’re really gonna make a point of responding to their “merry christmas” comments with “happy holidays”? I have christian kids who are going through terrible stuff. I have no interest in explaining to him why his belief in the bible is dumb. You’re really gonna make a point of saying “happy holidays” to them to make some random point about how you hate Trump?

    Again, THIS is the hill you’re gonna die on? This is the cartoon version of atheism.

  21. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You’re really gonna make a point of saying “happy holidays” to them to make some random point about how you hate Trump?

    Who the fuck is Donald Trump to tell us what we must say? Our freedom of speech says we can ignore and resist his dictates on the subject, just as I can ignore your dictates and reflexive reasoning.
    What we shouldn’t do is expect everybody else to be flaming fundies (a vast minority) who require being coddled and supported by all people they interact with into thinking everybody else agrees with their forcing their religion down our throats.
    What is offensive about happy holidays? NOTHING, unless you don’t celebrate any holidays this time of year.

  22. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re malachiconstant@24:
    Huh, didn’t realize your christian kids consider ‘happy holidays” an insult. Who taught them Christmas was not a holiday? (aka ‘holy day’), or that it is the only holiday; that every other celebratory day of this season are just horning in on Christmas? hmmm
    you might want to talk to that person rather than the people saying “happy holidays”.
    sheesh. your reaction sounds a little too sensitive.
    ack. me too. reading this note of mine sounds like I’m overreacting. ?
    Merry Christmas, etc.

  23. cubist says

    malachiconstant @24: You… really think you can tell PZ how to atheist?


    Am unsure if you’re cluelessly idealistic, or yet another friggin’ tone troll. Perhaps further communiqués from you will settle that question.

  24. cartomancer says

    John Morales, #23

    In the UK too pretty much everyone says “Happy Christmas”, but it has none of the rancour or contentiousness it does in the US. We’re far more comfortable with weird phrases taken from religion as parts of the cultural furniture, because we take religion far less seriously by and large. Christmas is a very private family-based thing here, and dictating to others how they should spend their time with their family behind closed doors and what they should call it is seen as the height of rudeness.

    Though, to be honest, “Christmas” isn’t seen as a very religious word here. To most people it just means time off work, decorating the house, seeing your family, getting presents and (to many) overindulging in food and alcohol. Which is how we’ve celebrated this time of year since well before there were any Christians. As I see it the Christians stole the name of the Germanic fertility goddess Eostre for their spring festival, so they have no claim to object when wider society at large steals the name of their winter festival for its own generic language.

    But, of course, the US has a different culture, where these things are politicised, and it is not possible to be quite as sanguine about the language over there as it is here. I’ve noticed over the years that Americans do tend to take their festivals and holidays rather more seriously than we do (Independence Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving… a far bigger deal to you than Bonfire Night, St. George’s Day or the Queen’s Official Birthday are to us).

  25. flange says

    I’m nominally a Jew. Have been an atheist my whole sentient life. “Merry Christmas” has always irritated me. It seems presumptuous, if not ignorant. But I always respond, “Thank you”, or, “Have a good holiday.” I’m old enough for there to have been a Christmas tree in my high school. That pissed me off, too.
    But “Merry Christmas” is small potatoes compared to the racism and misanthropy this country is steeped in.

  26. chigau (ever-elliptical) says

    John Morales #31
    I get that, but I grew up with those (cartoon) people.
    They should age.
    because it would make me comfortable…
    this is all about me….

  27. says

    @#33, chigau (ever-elliptical)

    I get that, but I grew up with those (cartoon) people.
    They should age.

    Let’s see… Mike and Zonker and so forth were college kids in the early 1970s, while the Rev up there certainly seemed to be their elder by at least a little bit. So, if they were 18 when the strip started, and he was 20 (let’s say), then he’d be 66 now. People with red hair can still have color in their 60s, so it’s plausible, albeit barely.

    The less plausible thing is that Zonker didn’t get a million melanomas and die from all the tanning back in the day. Although maybe his switch to using shoe polish came earlier than when he mentioned it in the 80s.

  28. Ichthyic says

    Again, THIS is the hill you’re gonna die on?

    that you think this is so important that it’s a “hill to die on” is precious.

  29. Ichthyic says

    … malachiconstant, I wonder if you were here to tell PZ how he was gonna die on the hill of a communion wafer too?

    he looks surprisingly spry for a dead guy.

  30. Greta Samsa says

    malachiconstant, #15

    To that person who probably isn’t even aware about the “war on christmas” stuff?

    I’ll presume that you don’t live in the United States (perhaps in Texas, Australia, or on 35352 Texas), as you’d have to live under a mountain to be an American unaware of the “war on Christmas”. This engineered controversy is spoken about in nearly every media around this time, since an imaginary oppression invented by a privileged few receives days of perennial coverage.
    If only the minoritized could locate and harness this magical force to allow their real and damaging persecution public awareness.

  31. says

    It is very easy: There’s not much in the words “Merry Christmas” in and on themselves. In countries like Germany or the UK people will just say it without thinking much, in Germany there will be a mix of “merry Christmas” “happy holidays” and so on, though I must say I find overly religious celebrations at public schools out of place. There’s a ton of non-Jesusy songs and poems aound.

    But then you come to the USA and the right makes it a shibboleth. Not saying “Merry Christmas becomes an act of resistance just as saying it in Erdogan’s Turkey can be an act of resistance as well.

  32. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Hmm, the OC makes me wonder what greetings those who received Xmas card from The Donald said, and if, they aren’t Xian, what they think about it.
    Somebody should start a web site….