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Why There’s No “Happy” With “Christmas”

Why do we say “Merry Christmas” and not “Happy Christmas?” Most people often use the word “Happy” for the New Year, holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. But for Christmas, the majority of people in the United States use “Merry” instead of “Happy.” The fact that Christmas is greeted as a “Merry Christmas” and not as a “Happy Christmas” is a traditional saying that has endured for centuries.

“We wish you a Merry Christmas” was mentioned in Charles Dickens’ novel “A Christmas Carol” in 1843, which is a big reason for its popularity since then. In the same year, the phrase began to appear in commercial Christmas cards. Victorian Christmas defined many Christmas traditions and customs and this is one of them.

Some say “Merry Christmas” offers an emotional and unbridled celebratory connotation, while “Happy Christmas” means a conservative and reserved celebration. It could be the reason is based on what the language means: “merry” is an emotion, while “happy” is behavior. The term “merry” has become so popular and intrinsically associated with Christmas now that just hearing it brings Christmas to mind.

The festive spirit at the end of the year around the world surrounds Christmas which marks the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated on December 25. It is one of the biggest religious holidays. This 12th month, originally named in Latin for “ten,” is filled with shopping for gifts, decorating the house and tree, sending Christmas cards, attending school programs and concerts, going to holiday parties and celebrating Christmas Eve and Day — to mention but a few activities.

It’s our last chance to make the best of the year swiftly passing as well as the perfect time for reflecting and setting intentions. But no matter what your faith or whether you celebrate religiously or secularly, there seems to be no avoiding that holiday fever that surrounds us all at this time of year, And, no matter how hard you try, something or things will go wrong, so try to keep your cool.

If you wish to keep your patience, remain calm and retain your spiritual center amidst the tensions and conflicts of the month, don’t forget to count to “decem,” for “ten,” before reacting to any stressful situation.

For example, your wife agrees to sign your names and even write a short note in the 53 Christmas cards you’re sending if you will address the envelopes and mail them. Easy enough, correct? But as you take the address list and cards to the kitchen table, the top card falls off the stack and lands unnoticed behind your easy chair. You then address each envelope beginning with the first name on the list not realizing you’re actually putting the second recipient’s card into an envelope addressed to the first person on the list. Shortly after the cards are mailed you discover the first card behind your chair.

You do a nice job of decorating the evergreens and bushes in front of your home with colored lights, but you didn’t check each old light strand before entwining them in and around the shrubs. When you plug in the lights most of last year’s lights don’t work.

When you get home from selecting the perfect Christmas tree on a corner lot advertising beautiful, fresh trees, you discover it has a S-shaped trunk and will not fit in your tree holder.

The large pan of lasagna you placed in the oven more than an hour ago that is to feed eight people is as cold as when you first turned on the oven because evidently the oven quit working!

We could go on, but we think you get the picture. In fact, you can probably add several of your own mishaps to this narrative. Just remember: your Christmas preparations and celebrations may not turn out like a Hallmark movie, so try to make the best of it when things go wrong — and they will go wrong! Besides, it’s more fun to share the holiday mishaps with others. Also, all the incidents mentioned above actually happened to us except one. Can you identify the one holiday mishap that was not true for us? Maybe I’ll send you a Christmas card and tell you which one it was!

Let’s close on a humorous note with some Christmas holiday puns from www.countryliving.com/life to inspire you to have a fantastic month and not lose your sense of humor: “Your presents is requested;” “But wait—there’s myrrh;” “The Christmas alphabet has noel;” “Yule be sorry;” “I love you from head to mistletoe;” and “Love at frost sight!”

Wait, there’s more: “That look soots you;” “I’m Claus-trophobic;” “Christmas has me feeling extra Santa-mental;” “Santa cleans his sleigh with Santa-tizer;” “Claus I said so!”

Had enough? Awe c’mon, just a few more: “Time to spruce things up;” “I’m feelin’ pine;” “We have great chemis-tree;” “I’ll never fir-get;” “These decorations are tree-mendous;” “Fir sure;” and “You need to branch out.”

Finally: “You snow the drill;” “Up to snow good;” “Say it ain’t snow;” “Snow on and snow forth;” “Let’s take an elfie;” “Don’t be elfish;” “Believe in your elf;” and “Have your elf a merry little Christmas!”

Vince LaBarbera
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Vince LaBarbera

Vince is a Fort Wayne native. He earned a master of science degree in journalism and advertising from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. LaBarbera is retired but continues to enjoy freelance writing and serving the Radio Reading Service of the Allen County Public Library. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer