Merry Christmas... I think


Tigg and I were talking about the holidays the other day. She had heard about how some people were taking action against others that had wished them a “Merry Christmas.” I had heard about this as well, and I wish I could find a link or two for you to read. But I don’t think I need to, because I don’t think this idea is incredibly surprising news to you. I’m sure many of you… most of you… have heard about it as well.

As I understand it, the premise is this… a few people, either for religious reasons or personal anti-Merry Christmas sentiments, are insulted by people wishing them a “Merry Christmas.” The claim being, it’s offensive and insensitive.

I admit that every so often I’m a victim of my upbringing. I couldn’t tell you when Hanukkah started this year. (Actually… I felt bad for saying that and looked it up… it started on December 8th, with the beginning arriving at sundown on December 7th.) In recent years I’ve been vaguely aware of Kwanzaa… to the degree that I know how to spell it but have only a small grasp of its significance and history. My ignorance in these areas are, in part, a result of not being raised celebrating these holidays. And I know that I’m not alone.

I try to say “happy holidays” to people more often than not. And I have used the reliable “season’s greetings” at times. I even put a lot of thought into the selection of cards when I can, making attempts to have some that move beyond specific holiday themes into the best wishes of happiness. But all of this doesn’t always work, because my absent-minded-self takes over…

Christmas is Saturday this year. And this week I have found myself telling people to “have a good holiday if I don’t see you.” Well, Hanukkah is over. It’s pretty apparent that by locking it into the events of the weekend, I’m not wishing them a Happy New Year. The words may not say it, but let’s face facts… I’ve really just said “Merry Christmas.” I hope the people that don’t celebrate Christmas aren’t insulted. No one has mentioned it to me yet.

The reason I’m upset about this is that all I’m trying to do is extend a warm greeting. Holiday greeting, yes. Still, more personal and generally well-intended than religious or narrowly defined.

I’m trying to be kind to my friends, family, co-workers, and just to others in general. I’m trying to care. That’s a good thing… right? The words coming out of my mouth may be “Merry Christmas,” but what I’m actually saying is something short and well-intended that might more accurately be expressed as “best wishes for the season, and I hope things are happy, safe and warm for you and your family and those you love.”

I wonder about the motivation and rationale of these anti-Merry Christmas people. For instance, I often find that many of the same people attacking these holiday specific words that are often offered with good intentions are not worrying about bumper stickers that tell me in obscene language what I can do if I think the car’s operator isn’t driving safely. They’re not commenting about offensive t-shirts. They don’t seem too fixated on more glaring insults and vulgarities. I guess what I mean, without going too far on this tirade, is that I think there are far more obvious, significant and worse issues to be concerned with than specific words that someone uses when offering a pleasant greeting.

It’s time to go easy on these supposedly well-motivated, politically correct approaches to all of this. Because they’re wrong. I don’t find them to well-intended at all. They’re disruptive, aggressive, and cruel. It’s making way, way, way too much out of it. I said “Merry Christmas” or “happy holidays” and not “shove it up your behind.”

I want you and your family and friends to enjoy the season and be healthy. I used to think such wishes and sentiments were good things. I used to believe it was common knowledge that being nice could be simple and mattered.


Merry Christmas.

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