I work in customer service (tech support for an Internet-related service), and for what it’s worth, we’ve never been given any official instructions or guidance about the whole “Merry Christmas” vs. “happy holidays” thing. We’re allowed to say whatever we think is appropriate (and most likely to get the customer to fill out a survey saying they liked us, rather than saying they didn’t).
But I’ve noticed something interesting, in this first part of the holiday season — so far, I don’t think anyone’s wished me a “Merry Christmas,” but several customers have wished me “happy holidays.” I don’t know if that’s because they suspect they might be talking to some Hindu at an Indian call center who has a really good accent (I’ve actually had an Indian customer congratulate me on my excellent American accent, assuming I was working in India), or just showing the customary respect (respect for the person being addressed, and for diversity and tolerance in general) that to me is implied by the use of that inclusive phrase. But it seems like an encouraging sign. Maybe the media-hyped, wingnut-targeted “War on Christmas” is seeing an early armistice. (cartoon via Engineer of Knowledge)