"Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays"

The term "merry Christmas" is stirring up controversy this year. Some Georgia lawmakers are taking steps now to protect holiday greetings in the future.

“Happy holidays” is a greeting used this time of year, and it's making some people very upset.

Sherry Braswell says, "We don't shop where they don't say ‘merry Christmas.’ ‘Happy holidays’ covers anything, and we don't believe in just anything."

Similar bills have been filed in the House and the Senate for the 2006 Georgia General Assembly addressing this issue.

State Rep. Mike Keown believes this bill will ensure citizens' right to say greetings like "merry Christmas" and "happy Chanukah."

State Rep. Mike Keown says, "It's amazing to me that really we'd have to come to this point where we'd have to try to legislate the freedom of speech to say 'merry Christmas' because some people now say it's politically incorrect."

Rep. Keown says telling people what greetings they can and cannot use this time of year is limiting a person's freedom of speech, and many residents couldn't agree more.

Ashley Jackson says, "I think people should be able to say what they want because of freedom of speech."

Robert Robertson adds, "I wouldn't like it. I sure wouldn't. I think we should have the freedom to say merry Christmas."

Keown adds, "The idea is we are free, are free to express ourselves, and if it offends somebody, well then I'm sorry."

The 2006 General Assembly meets January 9. While the Peach State seems to support saying "merry Christmas," a recent survey in Florida's capital shows 42 percent of residents believe that retailers should reference "Christmas.” Forty percent are saying retailers should reference "holidays."