There’s a lot of controversy out there about the correct way to offer holiday greetings in our multi-cultural society. Although I’m not one for political correctness, I do have strong opinions about the slow but steady encroaching of holiday greetings in our society, and so on behalf of all who are fed up with excessive obligatory phrases, I present:
Guidelines for Greetings
“Happy New Year!” Appropriate for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day only. After that, shut up about it. Other cultural New Years greetings, (Jewish, Chinese, Tibetan, whatever), should be exchanged on the appropriate day, by people who celebrate that tradition and their close friends.
“Happy Valentines Day” This greeting should be exchanged between loved ones on Valentines’ Day only. Also appropriate for elementary school Valentines parties and card exchanges. Should not be used among random strangers, except as an invitation for a one night stand.
“Happy St. Patricks’ Day.” On March 17th only. Must be either a.) Irish b.) Wearing Green or c.) Drunk.
“Happy Easter.” Should be used in conjunction with the actual celebration of Easter either at a place of worship or among friends and family. Exception: if you are wearing an Easter Bunny costume.
“Happy Memorial Day” Seriously? Don’t say it. Remember your loved ones, appreciate your family, grill some meat.
“Happy Fourth of July” Can be said on July 4th. Preferably while waving a flag or watching fireworks.
“Happy Labor Day” Come on people, just shut up. We are in denial that summer is over. Besides this just sounds like you’re creepily encouraging a birth.
“Happy Halloween” this should be said to or by trick-or-treaters. On Halloween. Please do not wish me a Happy Halloween the entire month of October. It’s just weird, and pretty much convinces me you’re trying to sell extra Halloween crap.
“Happy Thanksgiving” Say it on Thanksgiving. Or the day before. If you must.
“Merry Christmas” can be said up to one week before or 3 days after Christmas. Best used among those actually celebrating, but can be given as a standard greeting, in place of other meaningless conventional phrases, like “How are you?” and “Have a nice day.” If you choose to take offense when someone wishes you Merry Christmas, you must also ask probing follow-up questions every time someone says they’re “Fine, thank you.”
“Happy Holidays” is a perfectly acceptable generic greeting that can be used from about a week before Thanksgiving, until the day after New Year’s Day. Those offended by this should feel free to NOT have a nice day.
All other religious, cultural or personal holidays can be wished on the appropriate day to and by those celebrating. Happy Birthday to you. You’re welcome.