Letters | yuletide sematics

She prefers the inclusive ‘Happy holidays’

I SAY “Happy holidays’’ if I do not know what someone’s particular holiday is. The plural suggests the inclusion of Happy New Year. I say it to be friendly and warm, to wish that person well in his or her celebrations of the season. “Holiday’’ comes from “holy day,’’ so to say “Happy holidays’’ is far from blaspheming.

As for “holiday tree’’ vs. “Christmas tree,’’ we could keep decorations for holidays out of the Rhode Island State House, or any state house (“A tree by any other name. . .,’’ Metro, Dec. 8). I really enjoy Christmas trees, but the ruckus in Rhode Island seems unnecessarily complicated. Christians claim Christmas trees, but where do Christmas trees come from? Certainly not from the manger in Bethlehem. The Christmas tree has pagan roots (no pun intended). “O Tannenbaum’’ has nothing about Christmas in it. We have translated the German “die Tanne’’ (in English, “fir’’) into “Christmas tree.’’ The original text is about bringing greenery and light into dreary winter days, something we all need.

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