All right, this argument is stupid and it just has to end. People should just leave each other alone when it comes to seasonal and spiritual traditions and quit trying to dominate.
What I’m talking about is the whole fuss over whether people say “Happy Holidays”
or “Merry Christmas”. I really think that most people just don’t care. There are too many other, more interesting things to care about than trying to figure out if the person wishing you a happy season is trying to slight you or not. They are not. They are trying to give you a small happy blessing, a little verbal hug to keep you warm through the long cold nights.
I mean, people come up to me all the time and wish me a Happy Christmas, and I take it at face value. I’m not Christian… hell, I’m barely a Pagan… but I regularly attend a Lutheran Church with my family. Most people there don’t have any idea I’m not a follower of Christ, and so they wish me a Merry Christmas, and I cherish it.
If a person gives you the wrong greeting, just accept it. Correct them kindly if you like, but don’t anger over someone giving you a happy wish. It would be like getting angry at someone because they said “good evening” when it was still technically afternoon. The point is the good thought, not the specific form it takes.
This goes especially for “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings”. If someone reverts to the generic, just accept the thought. If you think that these generic statements are embracing the drift toward a more secular Holiday season, I will tell you right now that you are wrong.
The generic forms are meant to be inclusive, not exclusive. They don’t stick their tongues out at the other traditional greetings, holding hands with Santa and a giant dollar sign, dancing on a mountain of luxury goods and credit cards and torn, used, wrapping paper. But it seems to me that there are many out there (mostly Christians from what I’ve seen, but I’ve no statistics to back that up) who seem to believe it is a secularist plot to eradicate the older traditions and make for the general public a season without religion. I think that is an awful, elitist, and intolerant way to look at it.
I believe that “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” and other more generic statements are intended to be inclusive, to open the doors of the season to all, no matter what religion and even including those who choose not to be religious. It is meant to allow them to feel they are on equal footing, that they are a part of the season’s traditions and allow us to celebrate the ending of the long dark night and the coming of the new morning. It allows us to celebrate together and share our own traditions with others and makes all traditions good and worth joining.
When it comes down to it, the Christian pressure to stop institutions from making it a rule to say “Happy Holidays” and return to “Merry Christmas” is based on a fear of that inclusion. It is fear that the Jews and Muslims and the AtheistsÂ and Pagans will gain something (power? recognition?) and that the Christians will lose something (perceived dominance?). If those Christians can shut up and listen long enough they might hear that they are being given something. Blessings, Goodwill, and wishes for Peace, not just from the followers of Christ, but from the whole world. Recognizing that the person wishing you “Happy Holidays” might be an Atheist or Jew is recognizing that person is reaching out a warm hand across the gulf that lies between the faiths. Someone saying “Season’s Greetings” is a new ally in our travels in faith, no longer an enemy or feared stranger, but a friend.
So, I’m all for wishing folks whatever you want to this season, but I think that those who would push others to use particular greetings in order to keep some sort of status for their faith are missing the point of the season entirely and could use a good lesson in Grinch 101.
I’ll be writing more about the season, I’m sure, but for now,
Have a Wonderful Warm Yule Everybody!