Since moving to Australia over thirteen years ago, I’ve come to really like the expression “Happy Christmas.” It’s common in the UK as well, as opposed to the more-frequently used “Merry Christmas” in the U.S.
In discussing this with Clive (who is English by birth, as I wrote about in Living with a Brit), we’ve determined that “merry” connotes more in the way of being jolly or in high spirits, even noisy and a bit tipsy, in Australia and the UK. “Merry” also seems to imply some form of participation, or being actively involved in an event.
“Happy” seems a broader, more inclusive word to me. Someone could have a happy Christmas without necessarily being jolly, but simply by being content, or thankful, or satisfied with the day, the season, or life in general. Happiness comes in a million different ways, and we may not be “merry” but we may feel at peace and blessed with moments of happiness.
“Happy holidays” is used often in the U.S. and Canada, and I used it with business colleagues of multiple religions. I don’t consider myself religious, but I have a spiritual side and a strong personal faith, and I don’t think any individual or belief system can claim exclusivity and ownership of the path to love, grace, and enlightenment.
That said, I was born and raised in the Christian faith, and its principles work for me. It’s been a new experience in Australia, to see the word “Christmas” publicly displayed, and to more openly use and say “Happy Christmas” at this time of year.
A Banner Holiday
Sydney often has colourful banners lining its main streets and pedestrian thoroughfares, acknowledging holidays and special events. Last evening was grey and drizzly, but we still enjoyed the lights and Aussie decorations.
Happy Christmas to all who celebrate this holiday.
Filed under: Sydney |