25 Things More Offensive Than Saying, “Happy Holidays!”

With more than two weeks until Thanksgiving, I was already seeing the “It’s Merry Christmas, NOT Happy holidays!” memes on Facebook. There are probably hundreds of blog posts written on this subject every year, including several explaining that “holiday” derives from “holy day,” although, to be fair, the meaning and use has changed over centuries. I won’t even go into the whole “Can we wait until after Thanksgiving to even start thinking about Christmas?” thing on this post.

So this popped up on my TimeHop app yesterday, and I reposted it:

Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas: A list of things you can REALLY be offended about

Then, I posted this as an additional comment. (Well, okay, mostly this. I have edited it just a bit.)

Someone may say “Happy holidays” out of respect [for your unknown-to-them beliefs]. A stranger does not know what holidays you celebrate, and they can’t see your Facebook posts. Just smile, say “Merry Christmas” if you want, and go on with your day. No outrage necessary. If someone else can “take the Christ out” of YOUR Christmas, you have bigger problems than which greeting someone uses. [And, really, it’s a little arrogant of you to assume they care whether Christ is in your Christmas. They probably only care about theirs.]

I just can not understand getting angry and offended because someone offered a sincere greeting. I can’t. Unless you’re wearing a sweater with “Merry Christmas” on it (and please don’t – but Ugly Christmas Sweaters are another post altogether), a complete stranger has no clue what, if any, holidays you celebrate. I have people of many (and no) faiths on my Facebook list. In six years on Facebook, I have NEVER seen one of them complain about someone wishing them Merry Christmas.

So, as I was trying to figure this out yesterday, it occurred to me that maybe people get offended by a simple greeting because they don’t realize that there are other more important things they can be offended by! So I thought I’d help them out. Feel free to share this list with others who enjoy being offended.

This list is in no particular order, and is not an exhaustive list. Pick your favorite and go spread a Facebook meme.

1. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 15.8 million children under 18 in the United States live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. (That’s 1 in 5 kids.) Source

2. 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).

3. About 3% of American men — or 1 in 33 — have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.

4. 15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12. Source for 2-4

5. In January 2013, 610,042 people were homeless on a given night.

6. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent or 138,149) of all homeless people were children, under the age of 18.

7. There were 222,197 homeless people in families on a single night in January 2013, accounting for 36 percent of all homeless people.

8. There were 57,849 homeless veterans on a single night in January 2013.

9. There were 46,924 unaccompanied homeless children and youth on a single night in 2013 — 13% (6,100)were under the age of 18. Source for 5-9

10. Increasing reports of police brutality and abuse of authority.

11. Some 805 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That’s about one in nine people on earth.

12. Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year. (worldwide)

13. If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million. Source for 11-13

14. In the U.S. 397,122 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system.

15. Around the world, there are 17,900,000 orphans who are living in orphanages or on the streets and lack the care and attention required for healthy development. These children are at risk for disease, malnutrition, and death.

16. In 2012, 23,396 youth aged out of the U.S. foster care system without the emotional and financial support necessary to succeed. Nearly 40% had been homeless or couch-surfed, nearly 60% of young men had been convicted of a crime, and only 48% were employed. 75% of women and 33% of men receive government benefits to meet basic needs. 50% of all youth who aged out were involved in substance use and 17% of the females were pregnant. Source for 14-16

17. More than 200,000 crashes a year are caused by texting drivers.

18. Drivers are at least 8x more likely to crash while texting, and one study even puts the risk at 23x. Even 8x is higher than the risk of crashing while driving drunk. Source for 17, 18

19. In 2013, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline received multiple reports of human trafficking cases in all 50 states and D.C.

20. More than 14,000 total cases of human trafficking have been reported to the NHTRC hotline in the last six years. The hotline receives an average of 100 calls per day.

21. The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. 5.5 million of those are children. 14.2 million of those are victims of labor exploitation, including 1.8 million children being used illegally to farm cocoa for our chocolate. Source

22. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that there are 100,000 youths under the age of 18 in the commercial sex trade in the U.S. Source for 19-22

23. Only 36% of eligible voters voted in the most recent mid-term election. Source Back when people were still offended by real issues, everyone who wasn’t a rich white man had to fight for their right to vote. Now we’re too busy worrying about stupid stuff to think about the people who sacrificed — and even died — so we can all vote.

24. The increasing number of reports in both the US and the UK of children being taken away from completely capable and acceptable parents.

25. It is estimated that 50,000-70,000 Christians are detained in North Korean prison camps just for being Christian. Source In August, an American was detained for allegedly leaving a bible behind for someone else to find. Source This, folks, is real religious persecution. Not having a nativity scene on the courthouse lawn is not religious persecution. Nor, for example, is being forced to listen to someone say,  “Happy holidays!”