Growing up in the 70s and 80s, I can remember how exciting the Christmas season was, the decorations that lined the streets, and the window displays that made you oogle in delight. There was also a feeling of family. Everyone you passed would offer a smile and a “Merry Christmas.” It was just such a simpler, friendlier time then.
When I entered the retail force, in the 90s, that had all changed. Retailers saw the chance to make a few more dollars and would stay open until regular hours on Thanksgiving and Christmas eve, and some would even be open Thanksgiving day.
That is also when it was noticed that people were saying “Merry Christmas” less and less and using the all-inclusive generic term of “Happy Holidays.” In the process, the holiday season just wasn’t the same anymore.
However, there are a few major retailers that are trying to move back to those earlier days, and their first step is that of wishing their customers “Merry Christmas” and not “Happy Holidays.” One of the retailers heading up the change is that of Walmart.
For whatever reason, they started with the greeting of “Seasons Greetings” a few years back, and people did not really respond well. I worked for a third party at the time within Walmart, and I can tell you for a fact that the customers were not too keen on the phrase.
Other major retailers include those of Nordstrom’s and Home Depot. Big box retailers such as JCPenney and ToyRUs are major promoters of the phrase, and over the last few seasons used the phrase more and more in their holiday ads—happily and joyfully promoting the term “Merry Christmas.”
What is even better is that the joyful term is once again overflowing into the general public and indeed is promoting that once positive, family-oriented feeling of holiday cheer that I remember as a child.
Whatever the reason that spurned them to return to this once preferred greeting, for me, doesn’t really matter. I am just so happy to see the smiles and hear the phrase from my childhood once more.