Threatening to punch someone in the face for saying, “Happy Holidays,” doesn’t seem to be a good example of the Christmas spirit.

In fact, it seems closer to Ebenezer Scrooge’s “Bah, Humbug” than a defense of the greeting “Merry Christmas.”

In the past several years, there has been an open movement against the phrase “Happy Holidays.” This movement claims that it is a movement against the movement to replace “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays.” That’s a lot of movement.

Yet, I remain unmoved by this movement.

Judging from some of this rhetoric, one would think that “Happy Holidays” means “Go to the nether regions,” or a threat to stop Christmas, or a diabolical plot to undermine the very moral fiber and foundations of the American way of life. Such sentiments are a lot of humbug.

The phrase “Happy Holidays” has been around for years. It is nothing new, and “Merry Christmas” is doing just fine judging from the Christmas advertisements, decorations and shows that have flooded everything.

Perhaps, we have forgotten somewhere along the way that the word “holiday” actually means “holy day.” So what’s so unholy about “Happy Holidays” if it means “Happy Holy Days”?

“Happy Holidays” covers everything, too. “Happy Holidays” says, “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah,” “Merry Kwaanza” and “Happy New Year.”

Purely on a Christian level, “Happy Holidays” covers Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, then the “12 days of Christmas,” which start Christmas Day and continue through Jan. 5. Jan. 6 is the Epiphany which is the day the Three Wise Men arrived, or Three Kings Day as some folks in the world call it.

For many years and in some parts of the world still, this prolonged Christmas observance of holy days is celebrated.

In this context, “Happy Holidays” is a very Christian and religiously accurate greeting.

Also, we don’t know when we may see someone again. You may see some family members often enough to wish them “Merry Christmas” and then see them in time again to wish them “Happy New Year.” But with friends and acquaintances, “Happy Holidays” says “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year” in case you don’t see them again to wish them both closer to the date.

Most importantly, “Happy Holidays” is a greeting. “Happy Holidays” wishes someone well.

Treating a greeting and warm wishes as a threat does nothing to brighten the world.

Condemning “Happy Holidays” with an actual threat or even a sneer abuses the meaning of Christmas.

So, Happy Holidays to you one and all.

Dean Poling is an editor with The Valdosta Daily Times.

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