Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays up for debate

As the year draws to a close, many people find themselves having to decide to wish each other "Merry Christmas," or opt for the more politically correct "Happy Holidays."

Debate over winter seasonal greeting speaks to "people's deepest values"

The Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta, GA displays a multi-cultural seasonal greeting. Choosing to wish people "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" will be up for debate at the Port Moody Public Library tonight. (Kamran Aslam)

As the year draws to a close, people have to decide to wish each other "Merry Christmas," or opt for the more politically correct "Happy Holidays."

"It's a thorny topic, isn't it?" Maryn Ashdown, the Programs and Youth Services Co-ordinator with Port Moody Public Library told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

The library will host an SFU Philosophers' Cafe tonight at the Port Moody Public Library on the longstanding debate over which to use.

Retailer ThinkGeek has capitalized on the debate over seasonal greetings with this gift wrapping paper. (ThinkGeek)

"It speaks to such deep ideas," said Ashdown.

"They're talking about some pretty deep dichotomies about pluralism versus traditionalism and religiousness versus secularity"

Ashdown said she won't be surprised if the conversation gets heated.

"If you've ever had a tense Thanksgiving, you know that talking about your values, even with people you love and trust, is hard. Talking about your values with strangers — that can be a scary thing."

Ashdown said a faculty member from SFU will moderate the discussion to ensure it's respectful.

Ashdown doesn't expect tonight's debate to end in agreement but she hopes people start to examine why there are such strong feelings over choosing one greeting over the other.

As for greeting people, Ashdown said it's the thought that counts.

"I think it's incumbent on both the listener and the speaker to try to understand the context of the conversation, and flex your words so you can make your message heard."

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