Merry Whatevs

Merry Valentine's! Merry St. Patrick's Day! Merry Fourth of July!

Last year, I attended a delightful holiday party co-hosted by my friend Susie S. This party included a cinema light box with rearrangeable letters, the kind you’ve likely seen at some point in the past few years.

I decided to craft this message:

A sign reading 'Merry Whatevs'
Please note the use of the champagne emoji

This was an inclusive message, for any and all to be merry at the end of the year, regardless of what holidays one celebrates. I was thus quite surprised when it created a most ridiculous controversy, after Susie posted it to her Facebook page. As I have no desire to brew a further tempest in this teapot, I won’t link to the thread in question. However, I will share some choice quotes (all presented as they were posted, with typographical errors preserved).

  • [W]hy would you even repost something like this I respect your religion and I respect my religion

  • As a Christian, this is offensive. It’s not like we say “Merry Hanukkah, or Merry Kwanza”….no… we say “Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanza.” This is directly related to Christmas. And it is taking Christ out of Christmas 😞 please reconsider this as your cover photo. It is harboring negativity and anger in our country.

I was truly taken aback by these responses. Two different Christians seemed to feel they owned the word “merry”. That was really something to me. Frankly, it was terribly difficult to wrap my head around the idea of someone going through life so privileged, and so oblivious to that privilege, that they could believe someone using the word “merry” is offensive. And yet, there we were. There we all were.

Fortunately, many additional folks came in to defend this goofy thing which should have needed no defending.

  • This isn’t mentioning any religion at all. If anything I think it reads as “Enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate.” by saying MerryWhatever.

  • I find it kind and inclusive and joyful. Merry is a word that belongs to everyone.

  • It’s lighthearted. Some of the people at the party don’t have religious affiliations, I’m sure. ” Merry” is not a Christian word. In fact in merry old England the phrase they’ve always used is “Happy Xmas” not “merry”.

  • If your faith is threatened by someone’s greeting, then you may need to reexamine your faith and/or religious choices.

  • Love this! I want one! Inclusive and also highlighting the exhaustion of the holiday season!

  • I think it’s cheerful and inclusive, and doubly that it’s a damn shame folks don’t take it in the obvious holiday spirit with which it was intended.

Despite what a few ridiculous blowhards have been spouting on television for years, there’s not actually a war on Christmas. However, I’m now starting a war for “Merry”. After this incident, I’ve determined to apply merry to everything I can. So Merry Hanukkah! Merry New Year! Merry Martin Luther King Day!

Merry Whatever, everyone!