Difference between Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Key Difference: Merry Christmas is to wish someone a happy and joyful Christmas. Happy Holidays wishes someone a happy whatever holiday they celebrate.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! These are cheers often heard almost everywhere towards the end of a year. The start of December brings with it many different holidays that are celebrated across many cultures and religions. Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are the three major holidays that can be found in December. The terms Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays have become a very controversial subject and are under constant debate.

Merry Christmas is a greeting that is used when specifying Christmas, so if one wishes someone Merry Christmas, they are only wishing them to have a happy Christmas. However, Happy Holidays include all festivals, whether they are religious or not. It includes Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and even New Years. Christmas, is a Christian holiday that is commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ and is celebrated on 25 December. However, other holidays are not Christian specific and are celebrated by other religions such as Jewish people and African American people.

In countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, where there is a melting pot of people, cultures and religions, it is often said that Happy Holidays is a more appropriate greeting as it does not hurt anyone’s feelings by leaving out their festival. However, many churches are claiming that by leaving out Christmas from the greeting is considered as an insult to Jesus Christ.

The two words are often used interchangeably, but one must be sure that the greeting they choose does end up hurting someone’s sentiments. The two terms are used to spread holiday cheer and the spirit of the holiday.

Comparison between Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays:


Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays


To wish some a very happy and joyful Christmas

To wish someone a happy and joyful holiday, no matter what they celebrate



Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and even New Years

Image Courtesy: techbeasts.com, happyholidays2014.com

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