I don't have a dog in this fight, but found it interesting that you chose Presidents Day as one of your examples. It used to be known as Washington's Birthday, until that title was deemed too specific, and the generic term 'Presidents Day' became popular.
I think that very few people are offended by "Merry Christmas". Even those who do not celebrate it should understand that is has cultural significance in this country. I do not celebrate Christmas in the religious sense, but I celebrate in more important ways - being with family, giving to charity organizations, listening to great Christmas music. Even those who don't wish to recognize Christmas at all don't really have a choice - they have to take the day off work, they can't get their mail delivered, etc.
What bothers me is that many religious folks get offended by the use of "Happy Holidays", as if everyone is obligated to say the word "Christmas". Just another example of how the religious can't just be happy with their own beliefs - they won't be satisfied until we all believe in the same thing they do.
I use Happy Holidays, I think it shows tolerance of all beliefs as well as non-believers. The important thing is that you get into the "Christmas" or "Holiday" spirit - those who would get offended about a person's choice of words is likely missing the point entirely.
I can't stand it when a Christmas tree is called a holiday tree or Christmas lights are called holiday lights! There would not even be a decorated tree or colorful lights if we were not in the Christmas season (please no long winded answers about how Christmas traditions are based on other beliefs, I know). Would we call a Kwanzaa kente or Hanukkah menorah holiday cloth or holiday candle holder? As for happy holidays as a greeting I see why people use it since there alot of different holidays being celebrated in the same time frame but I don't think people should be offended if they are greeted with Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa for examples because any greeting that is heartfelt is welcome.
"Why do Christians think that they own the month of December?..."
It is interesting. Easter, of course, is vastly more important to Christian theology than the trumped up Christmas gig, but since you don't get gifts and get to drink a lot and feel up your secretary at Easter, they all focus on Jesus' fake birthday.
You don't think that people "should" be offended? Too bad. Honestly, how hard is it to be courteous to the beliefs of others? Does it cost you (or anyone) anything to say Happy Holidays? If yes, then you're taking life ... and Christmas to an extreme.
A Christmas tree is a tree on any day. But a Menorah is a RELIGIOUS object all year long. A Christmas tree is not a religious object. There's the difference. What would you think if someone said "Happy Ramadan" to you for the entire month of Ramadan? I suspect you would be annoyed; some Christians and Jews would be offended.
So be the big person and show a little courtesy during the holiday season; good will to all, right? Wouldn't such courteousness be consistant with the spirit of Christmas? I think it would.
The problem is that anyone is offended and that this country is too busy trying not to offend. It cannot be done. People need to just get over it. Political Correctness is killing our culture. Affirmative action is reverse discrimination. Diversity doesn't need to be controlled. It should just happen. People are who they are and they should be allowed to be whomever they want to be and say whatever they want to say. Being offended is simply insecurities coming through.
Martin Luther began the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate Christmas. One crisp Christmas Eve, about the year 1500, he was walking through snow-covered woods and was struck by the beauty of a group of small evergreens. Their branches, dusted with snow, shimmered in the moonlight. When he got home, he set up a little fir tree indoors so he could share this story with his children. He decorated it with candles, which he lighted in honor of Christ's birth. A star at the top, representing the star that was above Jesus Christ at his birth time. Who are you to say a Christmas tree is not an important religious object to Christians? Oh and no I would not be annoyed if someone wished me a Happy Ramadan, I would find it intresting. If I say Merry Christmas to someone and they reply Happy Holidays I figure they have a different religion, are athiest or overly cautious on offending just about everyone in everyday life and it doesn't bother me but don't judge someone when they say Merry Christmas. In my job doing phone service for a large clothing company I would say "have a great holiday" and if they replied "Merry Christmas" I would say "Merry Christmas" back. In a business I know why they do it, they don't want to exclude potential customers and thats fair but in day to day life I'll say what I want. Its not even the words that bother me as much as holiday lights or a holiday tree. Thats BS. Anyway Lisa Merry Christmas, Happy Athiest Year, Happy Ramadan, Happy Hanukkah or Merry Kwanzza and if I left anyone out happy/merry whatever. Now I'm going to water our holiday tree full of holiday lights and my son is going to be here this weekend so we can open holiday gifts and have holiday dinner.