I’m American, and I recently took on a part-time job working with a bunch of people in the UK. The team includes one other person from the US and all the rest are native Britishers who live in and around London.
We have a weekly checkin meeting. This week’s was the last before January. At the end they all started saying “Merry Christmas, everybody!” “Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!” and the like.
I was surprised. In my world (with one exception, that being my church congregation) I hear and say almost exclusively “Happy Holidays.” In the jobs I’ve had, the jobs my wife has had, the community organizations I’ve been involved with, the schools my kids attended–very seldom is there a mention of Christmas, and when it is it’s directed to a specific person who is known to celebrate Christmas.
I know the whole Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas thing is a big controversy in some circles, and I’m not interested in having that debate here. FTR, I was fine with being told Merry Christmas (and would have been fine being wished Happy Holidays instead). But I was a bit taken aback that the professional norms in this organization in this case were so very different from the norms I’m used to. So I’m curious–is it common in the UK for people to wish each other a Merry Christmas in a context like this? Or are these folks exceptions?
Thanks! I’ve been in the UK exactly once and no one wished me a merry Christmas. Or Happy holidays either. Of course, it was June…