Ugh, it started on Facebook right at Thanksgiving. People bitching and moaning that you "can't" say "Merry Christmas" anymore. Let's explore why this is annoying.
First of all, "Happy Holidays" has always, in part, been used to group Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year together. This isn't political correctness, or some other such nonsense, it's just shorthand.
Second, 75% of Americans self-identify as some flavor of Christian. So if you're a retailer, you ask yourself, "Do I really want my messaging to appeal to everyone, or just leave out one in four?" Or maybe, if you work and live in a diverse place, you just figure you won't make any assumptions about what the people around you believe. You know, just as a courtesy.
Third, in the case of government, and I'm talking about public schools here, it's not permitted to establish religion. You know this. And frankly, it's hard enough to trust some school districts to teach your kids the basics. I sure as hell wouldn't want them taking a stab at religion. I'll own my kid's religious education, thanks.
Let's be even more obvious: You can say Merry Christmas all you want. I hear it all of the time. I mean, we've got two radio stations here that play Christmas music all day, every day, for an entire month out of the year. Don't be dramatic.
More importantly, the intent here is not to crush Christianity or some other stupid conspiracy. There is no coordinated effort here to squish anything. The issue reminds me of the loudest critics of same-sex marriage, who make the case that it somehow dilutes the value of their own marriage. That's absurd. You don't become any less married because a couple of dudes are married. Similarly, you don't become any less Christian than because someone else isn't.
There's a part of me that wants to explore why people get so bent out of shape about this, but I would probably be making a whole lot of assumptions and generalizations. The bottom line is that if you observe Christmas, perhaps you should spend more time celebrating the joyous birth of Christ instead of being angry about something that isn't a problem.