Are You Ready for the Holiday?

melissa curtin Dec 23, 2021

I’ve observed this week how immediately following, “Hello. How are you today?” the next question is, “Are you ready for the holiday?”

This Saturday, December 25th, is Christmas Day, as you are probably well aware. So, I understand why I am asked if I am ready for this particular holiday.

In a coaching session earlier this week, I got caught up in this holiday small talk myself. 

We were wrapping up the session, talking about having a few days off, when I asked my client how he was planning on spending his time off from work, and I mindlessly said, “Are you ready for…?” 

I stopped cold. “You don’t celebrate Christmas, do you?” And he said, “No, I don’t.” 

I was reminded that many other celebrations happen during this “holiday season” besides Christmas.

While the great debate about whether to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” rages on, consider that according to the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute’s (PRRI) 2020 Census of American Religion:

  • Seven in ten Americans (70%) identify as Christians 
  • One-quarter of Americans (25%) identify as Christians of color
  • Nearly one in four Americans (23%) are religiously unaffiliated
  • 5% of Americans identify with non-Christian religions
  • 2% don’t know or chose not to respond to the survey.

(This all gets broken down in much more detail in the report, so if you like data as much as I do, check it out.) 

So, for some 70% of Americans, Christmas is a significant celebration and I am happy to acknowledge this with a cheery “Merry Christmas!” when I know for sure that this is a holiday the person I am speaking with celebrates. 

In the interest of not making assumptions and respecting those in my path who don’t celebrate Christian holidays (28% of Americans), I consistently offer a cheery “Happy Holidays!” 

Now and then, someone will “correct” me, usually with extra passion in their voice, letting me know that they disapprove of my choice of wording. 

And that’s ok. I have a choice, as they do, about which approach feels most inclusive for me. 

Whatever you choose to celebrate or say, in the spirit of the holiday season, may you be surrounded with love, health, friends, family, laughter, and light.

P.S. I found this Stacker article by Jodi Ellis, 20 Celebrations This Holiday Season Besides Christmas, to be interesting and informative, and you may, too. 


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.