I love Christmas. You probably do, too. Or maybe you don’t celebrate Christmas, and that’s just fine, too.
Do you know what I don’t like about Christmas (besides missing family members who have passed away)? The arguments over saying “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.”
When I was younger, I enjoyed seeing those “Merry Christmas” greetings on TV, often displayed during football and basketball games I watched when I tried to gain some brain cells back after playing Super Mario Bros. video games for three hours.
In later years, as you’ve probably noticed, that message has been replaced with “Happy Holidays.” Personally, it sounds drier to me, and it doesn’t give me that same warm, fuzzy feeling.
But, you know what? That’s OK—and “Happy Holidays” is the appropriate greeting in several instances, such as if it comes from the government or is displayed in public squares. Maybe some people don’t celebrate any holidays this time of year, or at all. We should respect that, too.
Me? I’ve certainly never witnessed any “war on Christmas,” like so many people say is occurring. My Christmases haven’t really changed since more people have started saying “Happy Holidays.” I get through those football and basketball games just fine despite not seeing “Merry Christmas” on my screen every few minutes.
Why can’t we be inclusive? Shouldn’t, I dare say, ALL holidays matter? Isn’t it the Christian thing to do to be inclusive and considerate of those celebrating other holidays this time of year?
Yes, for the second year in a row, I’m sending out Christmas cards (not holiday cards)—last year, it read “Mary Christmas,” a not-so-clever way to announce the birth of my daughter, and this year, it says, “Merriest Christmas”—sorry to ruin the surprise for those anxiously awaiting their card.
But, I’m also sending them to people who, from what I know, celebrate Christmas—and not other winter holidays.
If I were sending them to other people, yes, I would consider changing the greeting as a sign of respect. Maybe they wouldn’t be offended if I said, “Merry Christmas.” That would be courteous of them. I’d still change it.
I fully understand that our currency and our Pledge of Allegiance include the words “under God.” But, as you know, we don’t have an official religion in the United States. And more so, we’ve taken pride in our 240 years of independence in being a melting pot of different types of people.
I’ve channeled my inner Clark Griswold this year (love that guy!), and my Christmas tree was up in November. A Nativity scene is also on display on our mantle. Just recently, I paused to look at a Nativity scene outside a local church. Religion still raises a lot of questions for me, but I like Nativity scenes. That warm, fuzzy feeling comes back when I see them.
But, do I think a Nativity scene should be displayed in a public space? No. And that’s OK! That doesn’t mean my holiday is under attack. I can still go to my home (and many others!) and celebrate my holiday just the same. Likewise, I don’t think a menorah should be in a public square.
Now, do I think some people should flip out if someone wishes them a “Merry Christmas” and they don’t celebrate that holiday? I’ll say no; although I hope no one says “Merry Christmas” in some sort of attempt to be intimidating. That would seem backwards.
I’m around adults more than I’m around kids, but it seems like more adults than youngsters get worked up about the “Merry Christmas” debate. Something tells me kids would be more than open to respecting others’ holidays.
Critics might continue to say that America has gone soft or that we’re too politically correct. Maybe we’re just evolving or opening our minds more—and maybe it’s a little ironic that the same people saying we’ve gone soft or are too sensitive are the ones raising hell that we don’t say “Merry Christmas” enough.
If you’re celebrating any holiday this time of year, may it be great and full of love. And let’s wish the same for everyone else.