RJR: ‘Happy Holidays and Happy Smoking!’

“Recently, an investigation into the history of the phrase ‘Happy Holidays’ as a seasonal greeting in the United States by self-described history nerd Jeremy Aldrich turned up its usage as early as 1863, in the Philadelphia Inquirer. By the middle of the 20th century, the phrase was well established in popular usage, as shown in a study of ads run by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in Carolina Magazine from 1935 to 1942 to encourage giving the gift of tobacco.

“A 1937 ad proclaimed: ‘A gift of Camels says, “Happy Holidays and Happy Smoking!” ‘ Other ads from the 1930s and early 1940s stuck to ‘Season’s Greetings,’ but all featured jolly, grinning Santa Clauses, reindeer, Christmas trees and other recognizable Christmas symbols….”

— From “The War of Words behind ‘Happy Holidays’” by at history.com (Dec. 14)