Happy Christmas vs. Merry Christmas

Guest   Tue Dec 27, 2005 7:40 pm GMT
"Time zones are irrelevant in this discussion." I know, sorry for the "hors sujet" I don't know the English phrase for it!
Larissa   Tue Dec 27, 2005 7:41 pm GMT
oh sorry, the guest above is me! :)
Guest   Tue Dec 27, 2005 8:13 pm GMT
you're a whore
Larissa   Tue Dec 27, 2005 8:30 pm GMT
ok if you say so
SpaceFlight   Wed Dec 28, 2005 3:24 pm GMT
<<I only say "Happy Birthday"--which is all I've ever heard for it.>>

It's ''happy'' before every other celebration. Christmas is an exception (at least in the United States) where we tend to use ''merry''. I'm not sure why that is.
Gerald   Thu Dec 29, 2005 5:23 am GMT
Never mind...
I'm sorry I even asked.
Dagoberto   Tue Dec 12, 2006 2:44 pm GMT
I thought it was a good question. I had a student of mine (12th grade" ask why people are starting to use "Happy" insead of "Merry" and I didn't have the answer.... so I went looking and this is the only place I've seen any intelectual discussion on the matter.

Thanks for asking the question.

Mxsmanic   Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:09 am GMT
"Merry Christmas" is standard. "Happy Christmas" is substandard.
Dude Who Knows   Wed Dec 20, 2006 7:17 am GMT
My impression is that "Happy Christmas" is used to varying extents in every English speaking country outside of North America (where only "Merry Christmas" is heard).
Guest   Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:09 am GMT
Have a merry happy one!
Damian in Edinburgh   Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:19 am GMT
Birmingham, England: As soon as you emerge from New Street train station in Birmingham (the main train station in the city) you see a massive illuminated banner suspended right across one of the busiest shopping streets there and it says: HAPPY CHRISTMAS BIRMINGHAM

Some loony dickheads on Birmingham City Council expressed a wish to ban the word "Christmas" from the city's vocabulary on the grounds of somethig weird called "political correctness" because Birmingham truly is a very diverse city with a large ethnic population. Their off beam thinking was that the word "Christmas" may offend certain non-Christian religious groups. They wanted the festival known as Christmas to be renamed "Winterval" of "Winter Festival". These muppets completely disregarded the fact that Birmingham, in spite of it's large ethnic, but nontheless minority, non-white, non Caucasian, non British, non European population, did not want this insanity thrust upon it.

Pretty soon afterwards this sign appeared over this busy street right in the heart of the city centre. "HAPPY CHRISTMAS BIRMINGHAM". The silent majority had spoken.

From here in Scotland to all in Antimoon I send seasonal greetings:

Ricedaddy   Mon Dec 25, 2006 6:36 pm GMT
The split bewteen "Merry" and "Happy" Christmas probably emerged during Queen Elizabeth's reign, where she preferred to use "Happy" as opposed to "Merry" due to its connotations with drinking. This ties in with the fact that Europeans (well, the majority of them excluding the Vikings who got there during the 1100's before Columbus & Vespucii & Cabral) got there in ~1492, and Queen Elizabeth's Reign was from 1533 - 1603, and so she was the main "force" in Europe, as such causing the language divergence.
Lazar   Mon Dec 25, 2006 6:42 pm GMT
<<This ties in with the fact that Europeans (well, the majority of them excluding the Vikings who got there during the 1100's before Columbus & Vespucii & Cabral) got there in ~1492, and Queen Elizabeth's Reign was from 1533 - 1603...>>

Well no; English-speaking Europeans didn't come to the New World until the 1600s, well after Elizabeth's reign. (The Jamestown settlement wasn't until 1607.) Thus I don't really think the situation was as clear cut as you say.
neutroroberts   Mon Dec 25, 2006 7:17 pm GMT
I grew up in Wales in the 80s, and I can only remember people saying "Merry Christmas". I can clearly remember making greeting cards in school and writing "Merry Xmas". I moved to the continent when I was 16 and have now moved to Scotland, and in fact have heard many people say Happy Christmas, and seen this written on most of the Christmas cards.
(shrug) I don't know when this change happened really, it seems quite strange to me!
Lazar   Mon Dec 25, 2006 8:23 pm GMT
Oh, and concerning what I said to Ricedaddy, I just remembered that in "A Christmas Carol" (written 1843), Dickens consistently uses the phrase "merry Christmas". (You can check out the text here: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_Christmas_Carol ) So I think that the switch to "happy Christmas" in Britain is probably a very recent (perhaps 20th century) phenomenon, and I don't think Good Queen Bess had anything to do with it.

Regardless, merry/happy Christmas to everybody!