The War On "Happy Holidays"

"Happy Holidays" has been a part of our culture for over a hundred years. Why is there suddenly a war against it? Why is this simple phrase suddenly so scandalous?

I was inspired to do this research by a friend who, I guess, travels in somewhat more conservative circles than I do. She mentioned to me that she'd "gotten @#$%^" one year when she sent a "Happy Holidays" card instead of a "Merry Christmas" card....

And yet... somehow, children's book authors, record companies, Hallmark Cards, various chambers of commerce (Corpus Christi, Texas!), Lorne Greene, Mattel, True Value Hardware and even Mario Lanza have all gotten into the act. Apparently, this anti-American cabal has been wishing people Happy Holidays since at least the middle of the century BEFORE the last one!

Just for fun, the following is a partial list of books and musical recordings and scores published between the 1850s and the 1970s that use the phrase "Happy Holidays" (or "Happy Holiday" in an obviously Christmas-oriented sense) in their titles. (In chronological order by category; courtesy of Worldcat.)


Edmund Evans, Woodleigh House, or, The happy holidays. 1852 and many subsequent printings
Emma Davenport, The happy holidays, or, Brothers and sisters at home. 1880s
Palmer Cox, Eight happy holidays. 1882
Anon. Happy holidays: records of many merry days. 1884
Anon. Our happy holidays : poems, stories, and pictures. 1888
E. T. Roe, Happy holidays: profusely illustrated. 1894
Frances G. Wickes, Happy holidays. 1921
Eleanor Graham, Happy holidays; stories, legends and customs of red-letter days and holidays. 1933
Corpus Christi, Texas Chamber of Commerce, Rest or play in Corpus Christi: "Where Texas Meets the Sea": harbour of happy holidays. 1935
Oshkosh, Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, Happy holidays flourish in Winnebagoland. 1936
D. J. Dickie, Happy holidays. 1938
Edwin Clark Reichert, Happy holidays, and other fun days around the year. 1953
Leon D. Cowan, Happy holidays. (note publisher: Brigham City, Utah: Materials Preparation Dept., Intermountain Indian School) 1953
Zena Henderson, Happy holidays. Thesis (M.A. Ed.), 1954
Charles Honce, Happy holidays 1957-1958. 1957
Stella Craft Tremble, Happy holidays! Holiday verse for all occasions. 1963
Minneapolis Gas Co., Happy holidays. 1964
Hallmark Cards, Inc., Happy holidays recipe book. 1965
Jane Ashley, Recipes for happy holidays and "goodies for giving." 1960s or 70s

Recordings and musical scores

Leila France, Happy holidays for children; a collection of nineteen songs. 1925
Ray Noble et al. Happy holidays a musical story. 1949
Mistletoe Records, Happy holidays. 1960
Capitol Records, Happy holidays. Album seven. 1960s
Columbia records, Happy holidays. 1960s
George Anson, Happy holidays: a set of piano pieces for holidays throughout the year. 1962
Mario Lanza, et al., Happy holidays. 1962
Florence Girlamo, Music for happy holidays. 1965
Lorne Greene, Have a happy holiday. 1965
The Mummers, Happy holidays with the best of the Mummers. 1965
Raymond Paige et al., Happy holidays. 1967
Jim Reeves et al., Happy holidays, volume IV. 1968
Jo Stafford, Happy holidays. 1968
Happy holidays from the United States Army Field Band. Sometime in the 1970s

But wait...there's more:

An article entitled “Happy Holidays, 1880” appeared in the Charleston (South Carolina) News and Courier, 27 December 1880. An excerpt:

“…there were not many casualties. A negro boy lost an eye destroyed by a ball from a Roman candle….a colored man from the country was badly beaten…a colored woman was run over by a dray and severely injured.”

What could be more American than happy holidays like those?


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