Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Winter Solstice, and I hope your December doesn’t suck.
Look, I’m all for peace on Earth and goodwill toward men. And women, for that matter. (I’m talking to you, Saudi Arabia!) I just wish people didn’t get so freakin’ uptight about the particular greeting of goodwill and cheer that individuals choose.
Personally, I’m a “Happy Holidays” kinda guy (as evidenced by the title of this blog entry.) I feel it’s a respectful choice, ESPECIALLY when speaking to someone you don’t know well. I don’t want to make assumptions about people’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof) and tend to go for a greeting that is kind without potentially seeming dismissive of someone’s culture or beliefs.
I often use that with people at work, for instance, or when addressing a big group. Plenty of friends of mine aren’t Christian, and don’t celebrate the secular Christmas either. I feel that being inclusive to all in my well-wishing is appropriate.
I DON’T feel that it in some way takes away from the celebration of Christmas. Sal was telling a story recently about a customer who feigned confusion at his use of “Happy Holidays” at work. She acted all perplexed, and claimed she’d never heard someone say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Passive-aggressive bullshit like that pisses me off — of COURSE she’s heard that before, she just didn’t have the figurative balls to challenge it directly.
I just don’t think that it’s WRONG to be inclusive in your joyful tidings. Does it make your Christmas less holy or sanctified or whatever if someone says something nice to you that doesn’t include the word “Christ” in it? Now, don’t get me wrong — if someone wishes me a Merry Christmas (or a Happy Christmas, from you Brits) I will happily fire a “Merry/Happy Christmas” right back atcha. I don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, but I enjoy the happy theme and delight in sharing it with people.
So to those people that get huffy when someone says something neutral rather than “Merry Christmas” I say: shut the hell up. Just because you’re celebrating Christmas doesn’t mean everyone else is, and you should be thanking they’re giving you ANY greeting of goodwill instead of just ignoring you altogether. In a world like ours where people are so unhappy and discourteous to one another, rejoice that for a few days or weeks at the end of the year, many people try to be a little more kind to one another.
Yes, I recognize the hypocrisy of starting a paragraph with “shut the hell up” and ending it in a plea to be nicer to people. Do as I say, not as I do.
Whatever choice of words you prefer, just seize the opportunity to be cheerful and pleasant to others. And throw a smile in there for bonus points, okay?
Happy Holidays, and thanks for reading.