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The Official Student Media of Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Purple Media Network

Purple Media Network

Embracing Inclusivity: The significance of “Happy Holidays”

Naomi Adams
Choosing to say “Happy Holidays” is a way to include everyone.

Working in customer service, particularly where you deal with older customers, you might know how vocal people can be about their beliefs and feelings. In the South, as winter approaches, service workers are often subjected to hearing customers’ thoughts, especially when opting for “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” when bidding farewell.

Some Christians who celebrate Christmas feel that December is solely the Christmas season, that it should be the only holiday that is celebrated during this time. This could be rooted in a perception that their faith is the only valid one.

This sentiment might also come from the feeling that Christianity is being ‘pushed out of schools and government.’ Although, the First Amendment clearly established the separation of church and state. Public schools, ideally, should be free in matters of religion, ensuring that students of all faiths should not have others forced upon them.

In fact, Christianity is sometimes integrated into public schools in the United States. The daily Pledge of Allegiance, during which most schools require students to recite while facing the flag, includes the phrase “one nation under God.” In most schools in the U.S., students are required to recite this everyday, regardless of the students’ religious beliefs.

At my high school, there were consequences for not standing up when the bell signaled the daily ritual. Furthermore, most U.S. schools observe Christian holidays, which means students of other faiths must either attend school during their holidays or skip classes to observe their traditions.

The Pledge of Allegiance is just one example of Christianity’s presence in all kinds of public life, despite claims of its exclusion and beliefs of being persecuted for being Christian. Christmas is a major and commercialized holiday in the U.S. Nearly every department store caters to Christmas-themed advertisements, decorations and exclusive Christmas deals. But Christmas is not the only holiday in December: others include Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day and Ōmisoka. All those holidays are celebrated not only globally, but also by Natchitoches and Louisiana residents.

Choosing to say “Happy Holidays” is a way to include everyone. In the grand scheme of things, one statement does not mean life or death. Still, everyone should have an opportunity to feel included. I have heard personal accounts where Jewish peers, for example, participated in Christmas activities in elementary school, never able to share their Hanukkah traditions.

Simple changes like referring to “winter break” instead of “Christmas break,” including activities that respect diverse religious backgrounds and overall allowing an environment where students can be proud of their faith are meaningful steps. Christianity is not the only religion, and no one should be made to feel bad for the religion that they chose to celebrate, whether Christian or not.

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About the Contributor
Destin Lopez, Current Sauce - Viewpoints Editor
Destin Lopez is a senior communication major, with a minor in pre-law and paralegal studies at NSU. She is currently the 2023 Viewpoints editor of the Current Sauce. She has had a love for writing and design since highschool, where she spent two years as the Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook. Destin is excited to share her stories to NSU and Natchitoches, and is hoping to leave a mark with her writing.

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