Just days days until Christmas, and I’ve heard enough “Happy Holidays!” greetings to last a a few lifetimes.
So, Merry Christmas everyone! Yes, that’s right, Merry Christmas! I’m done with that PC “Happy Holidays” greeting that has dominated over the past several decades. I haven’t heard a hearty Merry Christmas in years. Why, even Santa has succumbed to the generic mantra, “HO, HO, HO, Happy Holidays!” Bah, humbug. It’s just not right.
I don’t know when the “Merry Christmas” greeting was first trumped by the bland, generic “Happy Holidays” substitute. It was probably at some point in the late ’70s or early ’80s, when diversity initiatives began to take hold in American industry and sensitivity to any minor affront reached its zenith.
This year I’m saying “Merry Christmas” to all my friends in recognition of our family’s Christian heritage and to express the sacred joy of the season for all faiths. I intend no offense to those who celebrate different religious holidays such as Hanukkah, Kwanza, or the high holy days of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or even practitioners of Zoroastrianism. To my Jewish friends I extend a warm Happy Hanukkah, to my Muslim brothers I extend best wishes for a safe Hajj Pilgrimage and a very happy Eid-al-Adha.
And, of course, to any hyper-sensitive atheists out there, I apologize in advance if they feel slighted by my personal expression of the blessings of this joyous season we all share from such wonderfully diverse perspectives, including their own deity-free beliefs.
As I extend my Merry Christmas wishes this year, I want my Jewish friends to know that I won’t be offended in the slightest if they wish me a Happy Hanukkah, or if any African American friends extend Happy Kwanza greetings to me. To really celebrate our nation’s diversity, we should all embrace and celebrate our own faiths and traditions, holidays included. I welcome good wishes and blessings from any and all during the December holiday season. Friends tell me that’s wise, because I need all the blessings I can muster, no matter the source.
The “Happy Holidays” greeting is well intended to be sure, but it has devolved into a disingenuously bland exercise in political correctness that ignores the chorus of diverse spiritual voices joined in celebrating this special season. After all, it’s our wonderful, rich, mosaic of diverse faiths practiced under the protections of our constitution that make America great.
A friend tells me that this year he looked for a Christmas card to express this very feeling. The cover of his card shouts “MERRY CHRISTMAS” in bright, bold, red and green letters, and inside the card says “WISHING YOU ALL THE BLESSINGS OF THE SEASON.” He explains that, if his friends and colleagues of other faiths object, he will simply rescind those blessings. I warned him that taking back a blessing is too Scrooge-like and totally inconsistent with the spirit of the season. A blessing given is a blessing given… period.
Amidst the spiritual joys of this blessed season, we should avoid obsessing over eggshell sensitivities. I’m tired of tiptoeing around those who may be offended by the forthright celebration of a religious heritage.
With love, sincere ecumenical spirit, and enormous respect for the great diversity of religious faiths in our country, I sincerely wish all of you, “A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!”