When I was growing up in the BPC era (Before Politically Correct), my young vocabulary knew nothing of Chanukkah or Kwanzaa. I only knew Christmas. Occasionally my parents would receive a card with the sentiment, “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays.” Most often, the card read, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”
Today, we celebrate many religious and cultural holidays this time of year. Some people think that the phrase “Happy Holidays” was created in recent years so that people could be more politically correct in their greetings (thinking that it covered all holidays).
It was a song, entitled Happy Holiday (no “s”) composed by Irving Berlin, one of America’s greatest song writers, and introduced in 1942 that popularized this greeting among Americans. At that time, America and many of its allies were engaged in World War II. This song helped to lighten the holidays with its upbeat tempo. Berlin’s most beloved holiday song, White Christmas, was also featured in the movie, Holiday Inn, that same year. A much more somber, reflective piece, the song was written for soldiers who were far away from home during the holidays.
No matter how you choose to extend your greetings to others this season, allow them to come from your heart. To all families – including our soldiers’ – who are away from their loved ones this season, I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah and Joyous Kwanzaa from my home to yours.