It’s that time of year again. Christmas carols blare from every radio. Every department store that doesn’t want to be labeled as engaging a ‘war on Christmas’ is decorated with Christmas trees and Santa Claus. I can imagine that even for those who celebrate Christmas, it’s got to be a bit of a drag by December 25th.
Am I going to complain about the ever-prescence of Christmas? No, not really. After all, there’s the majority rule and all that. If most of the US celebrates Christmas, it stands to reason that we’re going to see it around. And besides, the Christmas we celebrate today is quite detached from the original Christian tradition. (More on that in another post.) No, I’m not going to complain about that. What I’m going to complain about is “Merry Christmas”.
It is perfectly fine to say “Merry Christmas” to someone who celebrates Christmas. It is also fine to wish it to everyone. Most people will not take offense to it. After all, you have a right to free speech, and no matter what your religion, the sentiment is there. You’re being wished a merry something, and that’s good enough for me. And if you celebrate something different, it is also perfectly fine to reply with a generic, “Happy Holidays”, “Happy Chrismahanakwanzaadan”, or “Joyful Solstice”. (My current favorite religion is Wicca, and it seems to me to make perfect sense to celebrate the return of the sun. It’s going to come back whether you want it to or not, so why not party? I’m just thankful for the light.) However, it is not fine to get riled up when someone replies “Happy Holidays” or whatever.
This happened to me. I was eating lunch with some friends, and a guy walked over and said, “Merry Christmas.”
“Happy Holidays,” I replied back, adding a “Joyful Solstice” as an afterthought.
Instead of accepting my wishes for his well-being, his eyes narrowed. “Merry Christmas,” he repeated angrily, placing an emphasis on the Christmas.
I sighed. I don’t see why people care about which holiday you say, as long as you’re wishing them a good time. It doesn’t make any sense to me. But some people insist on getting riled up – seeing political correctness as some sort of vendetta against them. It tends to be the majority that finds political correctness passé. Political incorrectness is generally in their favor. Anyway, whatever your religion or personal beliefs, don’t obsess over what someone says to you. Just wish them a good time back. Otherwise we’re sort of missing the whole point of the season – to be happy, kind to each other, and definitely not jerks over a single phrase.
Wishing all of you a…