How about wishing Happy Christmas to non-Muslims? It is strongly forbidden here in Saudi Arabia. What about the Muslims living in Non-Muslim countries? Should they also refrain from wishing their Christian neighbors and friends a happy Christmas? At Christmas time, it is almost as much of a routine gesture as saying “Hello”, when people are in company in these countries and it is considered bad manners if you do not do so.
Wishing anyone a “Merry Christmas” should not be considered as forbidden. I agree with you that it has become more of a social, rather than a religious tradition, even in countries with a high Christian population. Moreover, I don’t think that any one has any right to declare any thing haraam or forbidden, unless it is done by a clear directive of God. All that we, humans, can say is that such and such thing is not to my liking. However, in this case, in my opinion even this cannot be said.
“Bid`ah” or “Invention” is a vice only if something new is added to the body of religion. Respecting any non-Muslim custom, tradition or occasion cannot be termed as such. Thus, if someone says that it is religiously essential to wish the Christians a “Merry Christmas” or that wishing Christians a “Merry Christmas” is something desirable in Islam, it would then become a “Bid`ah” or an invention or addition to the religious body. Furthermore, if any custom entails any thing against the clear and obvious teachings of Islam, it would then become preferable to refrain from participating in such custom or tradition, whether it is a Christian, Jewish, Hindu or a Muslim custom.