Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

Well, it’s that time of year again.  The malls are packed, parking at the mall is a game of survival of the fittest, women’s feet are hurting and the seats in the mall are filled with men that wanted to go home 2 hours ago as they hold on to the shopping bags and either sleep or check sports scores on their smart phones.
Most of us are out shopping or online shopping to find the perfect gift for the special, and sometimes not so special, people in our lives.  Some of us have wish lists while most of us “wing it” hoping to get it right.
It’s a funny time of year in the sense that we are so happy and polite at this time of year but at the same time we are ruder than normal.  Someone will hold the door open for 12 people but 5 minutes before that, they cut someone off for one of those coveted parking spots!  I’m not quite sure how or why that happens but it happens.
A bit of our language changes at this time of year too.  The complimentary “Hello, How ya doin, take it easy,see you later, and  thank you” is substituted for “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”.  Thus begins the great debate:  Should I say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?
Now, before you answer too quickly, understand that during December there are other holidays being celebrated besides Christmas.  There is Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice and the baby of the group, Human Light.  Remember that they would all like and deserve to be acknowledged and respected.  But for this particular conversation I’m going to focus on the Christmas group being that I know very little about the other ones.
Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas.
Some (notmerry 5ice I’m saying some, I don’t speak for all of the Happy Holiday people) Happy    Holidays  people would say that they understand the CHRISTmas started with Christ, however,  they don’t  believe in The Christ, thus to wish them a Merry Christmas is rude and it is shoving  someone  else’s religion in their face.  Others may not think Christmas started with Christ at all.  Some  Happy Holidays people do believe in The Christ but for fear of  offending someone, they  prefer  to  stay neutral and avoid a possible debate so they may as well  say Happy Holidays.  Then, as I mentioned above, someone may not be celebrating Christmas at all, maybe they’re celebrating another holiday, so to make sure everyone is covered in a nice little saying, Happy Holidays will ensure that the feeling of good tidings at this time of year is given without the Christian rhetoric.
Some (notice I’m saying some, I don’t speak for all merry 4of the Merry Christmas people) Merry Christmas people would say that this time of the year would not be celebrated without The Christ, so to take the name Christ out of Christmas is not giving just due to the person who it’s all about.  Jesus is the reason for the Season.  How are you not going to invite the birthday boy to his own birthday party?  They would say that there is a war on Christians in schools, politics, and now even on Christmas.  It seems as if every other lifestyle can bang on a drum and yell from a mountain top “This is me and this is my lifestyle” but when Christians do it they are viewed as non-tolerant.  So saying Merry Christmas is their right to yell out “Well this is me!”
What a dilemma.  Both sides seem to make sense to me.
I am very interested in your opinion, pardon me for the intrusion but I will go first since I’m the only one talking right now.
First off, I don’t care if someone says Happy Holidays OR Merry Christmas to me.  I don’t even care if an Atheist is the one saying Merry Christmas and a Christian is saying Happy Holidays!  It simply doesn't bother me.  With so many things going on in our world, in our society, in my community, and in my home, I’m just glad for the spoken words of good will for me.  I would find it immature and quite pathetic if I saw someone bristle under either salutation, regardless of how they say it.
But the real debate is what would I say or what would YOU say?
If I were to know of someone’s religion and holiday I would greet them accordingly.  So to a Jewish person I would say Happy Hanukkah,  Super Solstice to the Pagan, Joyous Kwanzaa to the African Diaspora, and Hurrah Human Light to the Humanists.
Here’s my final answer:  Mind you, if I didn't know the holiday you are celebrating but let’s say you hold the door open for me, or you’re my server when I go out to eat, or you’re a coworker, or we play basketball together occasionally,  or if the opportunity arises that I want to wish you a happy time during this time of year;  you are going to get a cheerful Merry Christmas from me, the Christian.  I would mean it with love and kindness and to take it any other way; regardless of how you would prefer me to say it, does not do you or the spirit of the season justice.  

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