Welcome to my first post of 2015! And a very Happy New Year to you 馃檪

"Happy Holidays" by Marcus Quigmire, available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Happy_Holidays_%285318408861%29.jpg. Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0
“Happy Holidays” by Marcus Quigmire, available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Happy_Holidays_%285318408861%29.jpg. Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

Back in the swing of things, I remembered a conversation I had with a gentleman who had very strong objections regarding the use of the word “holidays” when talking about the Christmas season.

‘Nobody will ever convince me that a Christmas tree is a holiday tree!’ he said. ‘If non-Christians dislike the Christmas season, they should either convert or go back to where they came from!’

Go back to where they came from: that’s the bigot’s one-liner when they feel their core beliefs are threatened. I can’t remember how (or where) I diverted that conversation, which I felt was going to rather nasty places.

A few days after that, I met with one of my very best friends and mentioned my “Christmas” vs “Holidays” conversation, and she made a commonsense comment that also made perfect linguistic sense.

‘Of course Christmas is a holiday! It’s a “holy day”,’ she said.

My friend is a qualified ESL teacher and knows what she’s talking about. All the same, before writing this blog post, I had a look at Dictionary Dot Com, where the etymology of all English words is duly mentioned. My friend was absolutely right, as you can read there.

What about Spanish?

‘Happy Holidays’ translates into Spanish as ‘Felices Fiestas’. ‘Fiesta’ means party, as you can read in Dictionary Spanish Dot Com. But it also translates as saint’s day or religious celebration.

Between you and I, nobody that I remember has ever objected to the expression ‘Felices Fiestas’. It only takes a simple Google search to find out how many festivals, holidays and even secular celebrations take place around Christmas time.

Happy 2015 and a thought on the derided phrase “Happy Holidays”

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