Happy holidays!

Okay, this one’s got me confused. I have just received an email from amazon.co.uk which refers to the “holiday season”. This expression is used in the United States to mean “Christmas”. They do actually use the word “Christmas” in the email as well, but it’s the first time I have seen this Americanism used by a UK company at all.

The holiday season for me is summer time. That’s when I go on holiday. Christmas is when people stampede to the shops in the cold rain and endure Noddy Holder blaring out as they hand over the plastic for stuff specially imported from China to exchange with friends and relatives.

I shouldn’t care one bit about this euphemism, for two reasons. Firstly, I’m not a Christian. Secondly, Christmas is a meaningless and artificial celebration pumped up by retailers to rake in the cash, and has nothing to do with Christianity. Nevertheless, “holiday season” is just one of those expressions which really irks me.

I think it is because I suspect the motives of those who are seeking to replace the word “Christmas”. I don’t think they are doing so in acceptance of the commercialisation of Christmas. I think it has more to do with wanting to maximise the market for Christmas spending. If you are of a faith other than Christian, the thinking goes, you aren’t going to feel the imperative to overspend on gifts to exchange in December. You might even be offended or angered. But if we call it “holidays”, what is there to object to?

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