For the last few years I’ve been hearing people talk/yell/scream about other people saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. Donald Trump, everyone’s favorite Tribble-topped loudmouth, has announced that if he’s elected he’ll bring back Merry Christmas. I wasn’t aware it had gone anywhere.
For the life of me I can’t figure out why it makes any difference…except that saying Merry Christmas wishes someone a good Christian holiday whether they’re Christian or not whereas saying “Happy Holidays” is a little more catholic (small c – i.e. universal). That’s the part that kinda pisses me off. It’s perfectly OK for a Christian to wish a Jew a Merry Christmas but it’s not OK for a Jew to say anything but Merry Christmas back. By the way, for the sake of completeness, repeat that last sentence several times substituting “Muslim”, “Pagan”, “Zoroastrian”, “Hindu”, “Agnostic”, etc for “Jew”. This, boys and girls, is what we call hypocrisy. And what do we call a person who practices hypocrisy? That’s right! We call that person an ASSHOLE!
Look, if I’m talking to someone and they say, “Happy Holidays” I assume that they’re not sure of my religious beliefs and are trying to hit all the bases. I do NOT assume that they’re some politically correct fraidy-cat who won’t use a religion oriented greeting for fear of offending my delicate sensibilities. After all, the word “holiday” is an abbreviation of “Holy Day” so “Happy Holidays” really means “Happy Holy Days”. Since most religions have some sort of Holy Day around this time of year, “Happy Holidays” pretty much covers everybody.
And while we’re on the subject, “Christmas” is an abbreviation of “Christ’s Mass”. Do you see how this works? Christ’s Mass is a Holy Day. Christmas is a Holiday. It’s the same thing! It does make me wonder, though…how do you conservative Protestants feel about celebrating an ancient Roman Catholic Holy Day? Asking for a friend.
Anyway, if someone comes up to me and says, “Happy Hanukkah”, or “Merry Kwanzaa” or “Blessed Yule” or and other seasonal greeting from not-my-religion I generally answer, “Thank you. And Merry Christmas to you.” I don’t do this to force my faith down their throats. I do this because that person has just wished me well according to the tenets of their faith and I’m trying to do the same. In other words, I take it in the spirit intended and NOT as an attack on my religion..
Over the years I’ve had friends who believed differently than I do. They’ve included Muslims, Jews, Wiccans, Atheists, Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Protestants of different denominations than me…and probably more that I just never learned about. Oddly enough, their respective faiths had nothing to do with whether I liked them or not. I like people – or dislike them – based on who they are as a person, not what they believe…or if they believe. If you’re a good person and you and I have reasonably compatible personalities, odds are that we can be friends or at the very least, friendly. If you’re an asshole I don’t care how devout you claim to be. We’re probably not going to get along because, well…you’re an asshole.
This whole politically correct, Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays bullshit is exactly that…bullshit. It’s something invented by politicians to garner votes from conservative Christians who are already afraid because things have changed and the world isn’t like it was when they were kids. It’s gasoline dumped on a fire that I fear is in danger of burning the Republican house to the ground. It’s sound and fury signifying that the current Republican leadership has no frickin’ clue how to lead anymore and has had to fall back on the old “if you can’t blind them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit” strategy. Speaking as a (former) conservative Republican, I find this very worrying because it’s dragging us down as a Country. It’s divisive and encourages people to distrust their neighbors. And it’s the same tactics that Despots and Tyrants have used throughout history to seize power.
So how about we try something different this Holiday (Holy Day) Season? How about we try to wish people well and give them Season’s Greetings without taking political or religious offense? How about we try to not be assholes for Christmas?
May God bless and keep you and your family this Holiday season. And may you have a very Merry Christmas!