As has been her custom for as long as I can remember, my mom prepares her Christmas cards over the Thanksgiving weekend in order to have them ready to mail the first week of December. She enjoys purchasing beautiful cards, writing notes, addressing them by hand and affixing whatever Christmas stamp the USPS issues that year. So she stops by her local US Post Office a few days ago then asks the man behind the counter for this year's Christmas stamps. He pulls out a sheet of something called Holiday Cookies. To know my mom is to know that she has never indulged in cutesy stuff. Every year she always selects the Christmas stamp that features a classic painting of Madonna and Child. She asks if they have any classic Christmas stamps and the man pulls out a couple of sheets of last year's Madonna and Child. Mom notices he doesn't seem happy and he says to her, "These are all I have and they'll be the last you ever see." Mom asks, "What do you mean?" He explains the USPS will not be issuing any more "religious" stamps.
Mom is momentarily stunned. She then raises her eyebrows a bit and asks, "Are you allowed to say 'Merry Christmas' to us?"
The man's face falls and he lowers his voice in answer, "No. We can only say 'Happy Holidays,'" he tries to smile at her, "But if you say 'Merry Christmas' to me directly I will respond in kind."
I'll say "Merry Christmas" to anybody I meet and if they get offended, too bad. Maybe they prefer "Allah Akbar" instead?