A bit of back-story before I continue: The reception desk in the front lobby is wood with a sheet of glass covering the desktop. We have extension lists and other useful papers sandwiched between the glass and the desktop. One of the other receptionists (no idea who) has also put a small, playing card sized, laminated picture of Jesus under the glass. Now back to the story...
So, this woman came in and, I guess, noticed the picture for the first time. She reached over the phone to physically put her fingertip on the area of the glass with the Jesus picture underneath it and said "Oh, I like that picture!" I just smiled and said "Yeah..." Then she held out an envelope and said it was for the administrator. I took the envelope and before she turned to leave she got this kind of smug looking grin on her face and said "Merry Christmas—not 'Happy Holidays'. Merry Christmas!" I kept smiling and murmured back "Merry Christmas to you, too." Her smug smile got bigger; she nodded like she had succeeded in something, and practically bounced out of the reception office.
Every time I've encountered this woman, to me, she's always seemed to have this sort of...gleefully smug, condescending attitude. And this incident only served to make me even more acutely aware of that attitude.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against someone wanting to say "Merry Christmas", but I also have no problem with someone who prefers to say "Happy Holidays"—which this woman and many others clearly do have a problem with. Why, I have no clue. The whole "war on Christmas" thing seems ridiculous to me. We live in a multi-religion society, so it only makes sense that—especially on government grounds—we shouldn't favor or cater to one religion or religious holiday in particular. You can do whatever you want on private property, but government property shouldn't show favoritism to any one religion in specific. If a government-owned/run site puts up decorations for Christmas, they should have to put up decorations for all the other holidays (religious or not) that fall around the same time, so as to not be perceived as condoning or supporting one religion/holiday more than the other. But putting up decorations for every holiday or celebration that falls in December is simply not feasible, so more often than not you get decorations that reflect the majority (which typically means, at the very least, a Christmas tree). The easiest thing to do really would be to put no decorations at all—stay neutral.
More so than decorations, though, it seems to me that people who believe there is a "war on Christmas" have latched on to the phrase "Happy Holidays" as a sign that people are trying to stamp out Christmas. The thing I don't think they realize is that "Happy Holidays" is not an exclusion of Christmas, or Christ, or the Christian religion—it is an inclusion of other religions that also have holidays around the same time, as well as an inclusion of other non-religious holiday celebrations that happen in December. It's a catch-all. "Christmas" is included in the "Holidays" part of "Happy Holidays".
If they really want to be able to say "Merry Christmas" wherever they want, whenever they want—if they want to see signs up everywhere proclaiming "Merry Christmas", or advertisements and commercials accosting us about "Christmas sales"—Christmas would need to completely lose any religious ties that it has. It would have to become a completely secular holiday. If Christmas was solely about Santa Clause and capitalism and gingerbread cookies, with no religious ties whatsoever, then there could be no argument from non-Christians who object to the display of religious imagery associated with Christmas. There could be no one complaining that there religion isn't also being represented. There could be no complaints from any of the non-religious who might object to a display, acknowledgment, or condoning of religion.
So that solves it. All they have to do to end the "war on Christmas" is take the "Christ" out of "Christmas". Oh wait—