Wednesday, October 21, 2009

HAPPY CHRISTMAKWANZUKKAH


Yes, it's only October, but--and I know you've said it yourself--it just keeps getting earlier and earlier, doesn't it? It's only October and we're already nearing the time of the year when Christians get uppity and behave is if they own the season.

Each time I encounter, in print or by voice, some Christian whining about how Everyone is taking Christ out of Christmas! when they wish others a Happy Holiday or Season's Greetings instead of telling them to have a Merry Christmas!, I clench my jaw, purse my lips, and look for the nearest egress. Without the help of anyone else, I err enough in my day to day; I don't others doing more to give Christians a bad name.

Why would I wish someone a Merry Christmas if they're not going to celebrate that holiday? How can someone take Christ out of Christmas if He wasn't a part of their holiday in the first place?

Are so many Christians really that egocentric and ignorant?

America is an exciting concept, a concept wherein if you celebrate The Festival of Lights at this time of year and I celebrate the birth of Christ and our neighbor celebrates the irreligious Kwanzaa and my coworker is atheist and just celebrates the season and advent of 2010, that's not only okay, it's encouraged. We're not a melting pot, we're a salad--each bit not having to melt or meld to make something flavorful, pretty, and healthy.

If your mailbox presents you with a holiday card from me, depending on my understanding of your religious beliefs, you might see that I scrawled Merry Christmas on the inside. But the front--the same front that's sent to all of my card recipients--isn't going to read Merry Christmas (in English at least, for this year's card has a small, screened-back Joyeux Noël), instead, in some way or another, it's going to express my hope that this year you enjoy the best of the season.

Why not wish every soul a Merry Christmas? 'Cause I'm not sure if that's what they believe in, I want to respect their beliefs, and just 'cause I'm of the louder denomination doesn't mean I own December.

I feel the same about Merry XMas. If you receive a card or an email from a dear one or an acquaintance that greets you with a Merry XMas!, you should get off your Christian high horse and appreciate that you weren't actually sent a blasphemous insult but rather a hope for a merry season, whatever season it is that you celebrate.

If I'm wished a Happy Hanukkah! although I don't celebrate those eight crazy nights, I appreciate that someone, in their language of festivity, just passed me wishes for the juiciest fruits of the season. And I reciprocate their Happy Hanukkah!, for I truly hope their holiday, whatever it may be, is a happy one.

17 comments:

errin julkunen-pedersen said...

Right with you. People getting pissed about saying "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" aggravates me to no end. To me, it's the equivalent of telling someone "Happy Birthday" on your own birthday. There's a possibility that you may run into someone that shares the day with you, but why not avoid potential awkwardness and just share general well-wishings? When I bought my clearance HOLIDAY cards last year, I specifically searched for non-denominational, non-religious cards, "Season's Greetings". I don't feel like I'm going out of my way to offend anyone, I'm really just trying to be inclusive. I don't know why being inclusive is ever thought of as being a bad thing...

Weezie said...

Completely and totally agree.


(And yes, I know that those two adverbs are synonyms...)

Janeen said...

I do read your post, I do, I do, it just takes me awhile to comment.

Maria said...

Completely agree. I deal with the whole Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas thing with my Mom every year. She gets her undies in a bunch every time she gets a card that says Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. I don't bother arguing with her as she is so set in her ways, but it drives me batty.

rabidrunner said...

Here's the deal... why do we bark at HAPPY sentiments - whatever they may be? Someone goes out of their way to express Happiness in one way or another (by saying so or sending a card) and that's considered an offense?

A happy sentiment is a happy sentiment is a happy sentiment.

I think I'll send "Happy Sentiment" cards this year.

(I 'spose I could say "Happy Meat Eating!" to you and that would be offensive, but then that isn't truly a happy sentiment - it's just me being an ass.)

The Fear Fam said...

I think you may be contradicting yourself. It seems to me that you're saying Christians should say "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" to be inclusive, but yet you're not offended by someone saying "Happy Hanukkah" to you. If that's the case (as the latter part should be), then others who are not Christian should take no offense when someone wishes them a "Merry Christmas." I don't see how it's disrespecting another's beliefs to wish them a Merry Christmas. You're not baptizing them by force ala Nacho Libre.

Like you said, if someone wishes me a "Happy Kwanza" or a "Happy Holidays," then I am not offended. And the reverse should be true as well. There is no shame in sharing our joy of Christ's birth. After reading so much of your blog, I'm actually surprised that you would be so PC.

rabidrunner said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think our little Sparkler is being PC. She's on her high horse over people being on their high horses.

rabidrunner said...

Neigh!

meg said...

Wrong. I'm saying exactly what I said. That Christians don't get to be pissed off when they hear a Season's Greetings or Happy Holidays. It's ignorant and egocentric. I never said that Christians should do away with Merry Christmas. I even said that I write it in the appropriate Christmas cards. I also didn't say anything about how people of other denominations should feel when being wished a Merry Christmas. This wasn't about Hindus or Jews; it was about Christians and how so many of them get annoyed when other people choose not to wish them a Merry Christmas.

I'm a Christian and I don't know the religious leanings of everyone I have contact with, so in the event that I am talking with a Jewish or athiest person I go with a Season's Greeting so that they get the idea that all I want for them is a happy time of year. Same goes for Easter. Because I respect other people's religious bubbles, I wish 'em a Happy Spring instead. No kidding.

But what I personally choose to wish someone us outside my main point: that no matter your religious persuasion, you should be grateful and accepting of another's wishes for a pleasant season, even if they didn't cater their verbiage to your beliefs.

And of course I've never seen Nacho Libre.

meg said...

Oh, and my "wrong" wasn't for you, Rabid. '

I am not giving a damn about whether or not I come off as PC here. However, I am an intelligent person who interacts with people of all sects and I am absolutely sophisticated enough to know that it's boorish to think your relugious beliefs are the center of everything.

It's nice to know that you get me, Wabid.

tom lindsey said...

X (chi) once was common for Christ when societies were largely illiterate and mass non-verbal communication was via art and symbol. To take offense is an admission ignorance. Likewise, ChristMas [missa] under strictly literal/historical interpretation may be offensive to the non Christian snob. Thus the offended betray a neglected character or intellect.

However,
As non Hellenist I am deeply offended by the name of the planets in our solar system and insist that secular monikers replace them lest my children stray from the true path.

meg said...

Aha! So by not being offended I betray that I am a Literate in The Know. Superb!

I will see about having the planets renamed on behalf of your children. But so that all the sayings and acronyms still work, let's keep the first letter the same. How about: Mercury becomes Matthew, Venus becomes Virgin (hey, V is hard--so I went with Mary the Blessed Virgin), Mars becomes Mark, Jupiter becomes Jesus (it is the biggest planet, after all, and it would be faith-promoting to look
through a telescope and see "Hay-seuss" rising in the East from time to time), Saturn becomes Sariah, Uranus becomes Urim (we will faithfully pray that science one day discovers its lost pal Thummim),Neptune becomes Nephi, and because I'm feeling generous, even though Pluto is a mere satellite, let's rename it Paul--for as Pluto went from planet to satellite, Saul went from detractor to promoter.

tom lindsey said...

Thanks for playing along.

S. said...

As someone not of the "majority" it's sometimes awkward to respond to people asking "How was your Christmas?" and "What are your Christmas plans?" - I'm not offended, but it puts me in a weird spot and then they feel bad when they realize I don't celebrate it. Unless you want to call Chinese food and a movie "celebrating."

I'm grateful to work in a company where people know about other holidays and wish others a "Happy Diwali!," "Eid Mubarak", "L'shanah Tova!", "Merry Christmas," etc.

Thanks Meg!

meg said...

Ah, but S. I do call Chinese and a movie celebrating! We should celebrate whatever together.

Azúcar said...

Ha! I was going to say the same thing as tom lindsey.

It drives me BONKERS when people freak out about "Xmas" because it shows just how poorly educated they actually are (and hence, in the funniest sense, why perhaps "Xmas" would be the most proper way to communicate Merry Christmas to them.)

tom lindsey said...

Sugar,

If I can't beat a 253 year old to the punch there is something wrong with me.