It’s the day after Thanksgiving and now all the Christmas decorating gets kicked into high gear. Even before Halloween I was seeing Christmas trees and hearing Christmas songs, but now that Thanksgiving has passed, those early attempts will look like child’s play compared to the mayhem about to erupt. People will start greeting each other with “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” and inevitably somebody will be offended…because we live in the land of the perpetually offended.
Someone will be offended that they were wished a “Merry Christmas” but just wait a milli-second and you’ll hear someone else completely offended that they weren’t wished a “Merry Christmas.” You just can’t win. Someone will be offended.
I know that conservative groups all over the country will be taking a stand about “keeping Christ in Christmas” and fighting for their right to use the word “Christmas” at the company “holiday party,” but let me let you in on a little secret. Are you ready? Are you sure? Ok.
I don’t celebrate Christmas.
Oh. You’re not shocked? Well fine. But at least still try to act surprised, ok?
So, yes, now that the cat is out of the bag you know the truth…I don’t celebrate Christmas. But guess what else? I’m not horribly offended when I see other people celebrating Christmas. And I’m not so scandalized in a store that when I’m wished a “Merry Christmas” by the checkout lady that I immediately file a complaint with store management. Do you know why? Because I understand that in America, the vast majority of people celebrate Christmas…whether I agree with it or not.
The poor lady in the checkout line has absolutely no idea that I don’t celebrate Christmas so I shouldn’t blame her or make her feel bad. So unless I’m willing to walk around for two months out of the year wearing a giant button that says, “I DON’T CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS SO PLEASE DON’T WISH ME A MERRY CHRISTMAS OR I WILL BE HORRIBLY OFFENDED,” (which I’m not, partially because I think that’s too long to actually fit on a button and partially because I know I’d forget to change it from outfit to outfit) I think I’ll just have to survive.
But the other side of that coin is for people who do celebrate Christmas to be ok with those who say “Happy Holidays.” I know that Christians in particular get touchy about this…and probably for good reason. In an age where our government is trying to take God out of everything, and regulate just how much religion we can actually allow in schools (unless your Muslim, pagan, Wiccan, Satanist, etc.), it’s a scary thing to think that people are now trying to take Christ out of Christmas too.
But the truth is that when people say “Happy Holidays,” they aren’t trying to take Christ out of Christmas; they are trying to be sensitive to the fact that not everybody celebrates Christmas. Besides, Christ (Yeshua the Messiah) was never in Christmas to be begin with but again, that’s a different post for a different day.
Like I said, I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I do celebrate Hanukkah (aka Chanukkah, Ch-an-oo-ka, or that Jewish holiday with the candles and eight days of presents). It’s not the biggest holiday of my year, like Christmas is to some, but I do celebrate it. It’s an important time of reflection and re-dedication for me, again…another post for another day. But I appreciate it when people wish me “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
Saying “Happy Holidays” does not take Christ out of Christmas and is not only yet another way of being politically correct; it’s a just way to be respectful to those that don’t celebrate Christmas. So don’t be afraid of it! By the same token, there shouldn’t be a crusade to stamp out all recollection of Christmas either. That’s not respectful to those who do celebrate Christmas. We can’t wipe out individuality in our quest for equality, even if we don’t agree with it.
My point is that it’s ok to wish someone “Happy Holidays.” But it’s also ok to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” if you know they do celebrate Christmas. It doesn’t mean that you agree with that person or that you are somehow celebrating or not celebrating something; it simply means you respect the fact that people have different beliefs and different holidays and getting offended and upset is not going to change that.
So at the risk of offending someone, Happy Holidays everyone!