Should you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

Christmas is coming. ‘Tis the season of good cheer, work parties and questions about appropriate workplace behaviour. We’re not going to tackle what to do (or not do!) at the office party – instead, we’re thinking about how to behave on social media: should you say Merry Christmas?

Why Does It Matter?

As a business, it’s important to remain professional and courteous, and this means not making too many assumptions about your customers, suppliers and associates. Individuals often react strongly to being mis-categorized. You don’t want to alienate your supporters, or appear insular and unprepared for the international market. And, of course, other members of your team may not be celebrating Christmas even if you are, and may be uncomfortable with being part of a group message about a holiday they don’t share.

‘Tis Better To Be Inclusive Than Specific – Say Happy Holidays

Not everyone celebrates Christmas – we’re assuming you do, because it’s certainly not necessary to say anything if you don’t. It’s impossible tell face-to-face if someone is celebrating and if you’re broadcasting a message on social media to all your customers, Facebook fans or Twitter followers, you’re sure to have someone in the crowd who doesn’t celebrate. Happy holidays is a neat way to catch all the winter festivals in one phrase.

While a few grumps may object to you not saying ‘Merry Christmas’ your customers overseas are more likely to respond positively. After all, not even all Christians celebrate Christmas.

I Know My Audience Is Celebrating Christmas – Say Merry Christmas

If you’re selling Christmas trees or running a special Christmas gift offer, it’s a fairly safe bet that the people who have clicked on the Christmas button are either celebrating themselves or not offended by being instructed to enjoy a holiday they’re not celebrating.

I Want Both! – Say Merry Christmas To All Who Are Celebrating

Being inclusive on social media doesn’t mean you have to give up your own traditions. Saying something like ‘We’re closing for the Christmas break now, Merry Christmas to everyone who’s celebrating!’ shows that you’re aware that not everyone is celebrating.

I Already Said Happy Hanukkah – Say Merry Christmas

Many websites have rolling offers, news or blog updates. If you’ve already posted about other winter festivals that are relevant to your audience, then it’s entirely reasonable to treat Christmas in the same way.

I Hate The Phrase ‘Happy Holidays’ – Say Happy New Year Instead

Most of the time, you won’t see colleagues, suppliers or customers until after both Christmas and New Year are done. ‘Look forward to working with you in the New Year’ or ‘Have a great 2015!’ are both cheerful, non-denominational sign-offs you can use.

It All Seems Like Too Much Trouble – Don’t Say Anything!

There’s no rule that says you have to wish people a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday or even a Good Afternoon. While it’s polite to respond to a greeting, you don’t have to match it.

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