I say "Merry Christmas" on December 25, to people who I know celebrate that holiday.
I say "Happy Hanukah" on that date to my Jewish friends.
When I had next-door neighbours who celebrated Eid al-Fitr, I wished them all the best as they celebrated the breaking of their fast.
When I don't know what someone celebrates, I wish them the best of the season, most often with a "Happy Holidays."
When I worked in retail, that was the greeting I gave the most. Sometimes, it was easy to say "Merry Christmas" when that salutation was obvious. For example, when someone would come into the camera store and say, "I'm buying a camera for my child, for Christmas." I would utter those two words, along with "Thank you."
Working in a bank, I learned a lot about my customers, so I'd often try to give them a wish for a happy holiday season that I thought applied. Sometimes, I didn't get it right, but they would simply respond with a smile and wish me a season's greeting.
No one ever showed that he or she was offended, nor did they complain. Their reply would convey a sense of good will.
No, no one ever seemed outraged that I tried to spread good cheer over the holidays.
On social media, I do see signs of intolerance. Not for incorrectly wishing a Merry Christmas to somebody outside the Christian faith, but for wishing someone a Happy Holiday instead of Merry Christmas:
I say Merry Christmas and I don't care who it offends.
Share if you believe in saying Merry Christmas.
To me, there rings a note of intolerance in these messages, as though the people who post them are ready for a fight. As though, they're expecting some sort of pushback from the non-Christian crowd.
To me, posts like these on social media defy the spirit of the season: peace on Earth, good will towards all. Posts like these have got to be the least Christian messages of the season.
I'm not offended when someone says "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" to me. I'm just glad that they're saying something nice, are exhibiting the joy of the season, no matter what religion I celebrate. Or don't celebrate.
This year, Christmas and Hanukah fall on the same day. What are you going to say if you see a stranger on December 25?
This year, I'll say "Happy Holidays."