Have Yourself a Merry Christmas -- Or Whatever

For some reason, certain drama queens get all upset if you wish them "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." What gives?

If you have the time to make a fuss about someone saying "Season's Greetings" instead of "Merry Christmas," then you're just looking for reasons to be mad.

Er, hello? Are you aware that even in Christian theology, there are multiple holidays crowded into less than two weeks around Christmas? Even if you don't celebrate the Epiphany (January 6), does New Year's mean nothing to you?

"Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings" are reasonable shorthand for covering all the relevant holidays.

Other Traditions

And let's not forget non-Christian year-end holidays like Kwanzaa, Hanukah and Ramadan. Most of the world's major religions have December holidays -- and remember, every fifth person you meet doesn't identify as Christian, even in the Red States.

For years, I considered this issue a tempest in a teacup, concocted by folks with nothing better to do than be mad at the world. (Quiet, you.) I still suspect that a certain FOX commentator (not naming names here) used it to distract attention from his infamous sexual escapades back in '04.

On the Receiving End

Yours Truly pretty much ignored this whole silliness until a few years back, when some old sourpuss I didn't even know harangued me for saying Happy Holidays to her in passing -- acting like I was planning to put a hit on Santa or something.

For goodness sake, forgive me for being tolerant and polite, which good Christians are supposed to be. Remember?

So now I find myself thinking about this every year, much to my annoyance. Hey, I've got other things to be irritated about -- for one thing, there are all those outdated songs about leaping lords and ha'pennies in old men's hats -- and there's only so much room on my social calendar.

To quote my Jewish friends, "Oy gevalt!" Yiddish is such an expressive language it almost makes me verklempt.

Take It Easy, Pal

The next person who flags me down because I said something other than their version of The Right Thing to Say At Christmastime while I'm shivering in my boots had better be ready to run if they don't want a lively conversation on their hands, complete with a few lessons in other parts of the English language.

I like Christmas, I really do. Don't let my Grinch T-shirt fool you. But also don't try to tell me how to use my own native language, which I employ daily to make my living -- unless maybe you're a high school English teacher, and even then I'm done with diagramming sentences.

Get it through your skulls. It isn't PC to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" -- it's just polite.

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