Should you say “Merry Christmas!”?

December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays

The controversy rages regarding what greeting salespeople should give to shoppers as they enter your store. Happy Holidays? Season’s Greetings? Merry Christmas? It continues to be a debate between the reason for the season and political correctness. Or is it? The reason for the season is the birth of Jesus Christ and among many things, Christ is noted for being a lover of all humanity. He is the ultimate example of inclusive.

The Retail Doctor noted last year that 75% of Americans consider themselves Christian. He stated therefore, “…I believe pointedly saying “Merry Christmas” to 100% of your customers is wrong. It is not inclusive for 25% of them.” Do a quarter of your customers truly become offended when they are greeted traditionally and do the other 75% really take offense to not being greeted with “Merry Christmas!”? He has an interesting thought albeit many shoppers today are becoming more vocal when a sales representative is not allowed to greet them as they choose.

The bottom line

The bottom line, I believe, is the underlying reason behind your choice. Do you choose to say “Merry Christmas” to make a point? That isn’t the message of the season. Do you say “Happy Holidays” out of fear of being offensive? That isn’t the point of the season either. Let your shop’s greeting be a part of your overall branding message. If you’ve decorated and promoted the birth of Christ throughout your shop, happily greet your shoppers with “Merry Christmas!” If you’ve chosen to decorate with other symbols such as Santa, snowmen and snowflakes, greet with a rousing “Happy Holidays!” Remember, branding is a part of everything you do.

No matter what, let your greeting be joyful and compassionate because that is the ultimate reason for the season. “Merry Christmas!”


Deb McGonagle

I have been a writer for various forms of marketing for awhile now. I've written my share of radio and TV scripts, magazine and newspaper ads as well as direct mail brochures and newsletters. Currently, as the Marketing Director for Traxia, home of SimpleConsign software, I've moved into blog posts, eBooks and website text. It's been an ever changing and ever challenging journey but I've loved it all along the way.