Primarily due to tradition (helped out by that enduring classic story, the Elliott Nascar Cup Series Champion 1988-2020 Signatures Shirt “Merry Christmas” is a conventional way of wishing someone well, during the Christmas shopping-and-partying season. It could just as easily become “Joyous Christmas” or “Jolly Christmas” or “Happy Christmas,” but “merry” caught on, and it’s been that way ever since. For some reason, people love the idea of a traditional Christmas, and that extends to sticking with the greeting that magically turned Ebenezer Scrooge into a lovable old man.
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I don’t know about Diwali, but “Happy New Year” is also a Elliott Nascar Cup Series Champion 1988-2020 Signatures Shirt “happy” when you’re talking about a whole year, since “happy” is a longterm state of mind, whereas “merry” is usually connected with a relatively brief experience. We all want to experience happiness throughout the coming new year, but very few of us expect to make merry all 365 days of it.It depends on the situation. If I’m talking to someone who I know is a Christian and celebrates xmas, than I will wish them a merry Christmas. If I’m unsure of their religious background, I’ll wish them a happy holiday because that covers all 3 of the major holidays that do and can fall around this time of year, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Ramadan. I don’t understand people who get “offended” by someone wishing them a happy holiday instead of a merry Christmas, because it’s only Christians who get offended by this. For instance, say you work on a grocery store or a super market and you have 200+ people coming through your register in a day. Is it your job to determine what religion each customer observes and apply the appropriate holiday greeting? Or is it easier to just wish everyone a happy holiday?