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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Updated: Gary Siplin introduces "Merry Christmas" legislation



Just in time for the holidays, state Sen. Gary Siplin, a Democrat from Orlando, filed legislation yesterday that would make "Merry Christmas" Florida's official greeting on Dec. 25. Of course, as it's just a resolution, there are no penalties associated with using "Happy holidays and seasons greetings," as CFO Alex Sink did in an official holiday message she tweeted and e-mailed today. Senate President Mike Haridopolos and Gov.-elect Rick Scott went with Merry Christmas in their messages. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio covered both his bases, offering up a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Siplin said he came up with idea after talking to another elected official who complained that so many people kept referring to Christmas vaguely as a holiday.“A lot of people just want to say Christmas," he said. "So why not make it an official greeting from Florida."

Plus, the week between Christmas and New Year's is one of the busiest tourist weeks of the year. The state should do this for them, he said. “When I go through the stores people say, 'Happy Holidays,' but we all know why people exchange gifts. We all know it’s going to be Christmas, Jesus’ birth, on Saturday. Why not say Merry Christmas for that day and not camouflage it?" he said. “We have the key lime pie, the mockingbird and now we should have an official Christmas greeting we can all be proud of." 

Here's the complete text of Sipln's resolution:

WHEREAS, Christmas, a holiday of great significance to most Americans and many other cultures and nationalities, is celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States and the world, and
WHEREAS, on December 25 of each calendar year, American Christians observe Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, and
WHEREAS, popular modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, music, the exchange of greeting cards, a special meal, church celebrations, and the display of Christmas trees, lights, and nativity scenes, and
WHEREAS, many Christians and non-Christians throughout the United States and the rest of the world celebrate Christmas as a time to cherish and serve others, NOW, THEREFORE,
Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of Florida:
That “Merry Christmas” is recognized as the State of Florida’s official greeting for December 25.

[Last modified: Thursday, December 23, 2010 5:03pm]


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