December has begun, which means that a plethora of winter holidays are on the horizon. However, if you live in Georgia, you’ve already experienced the onslaught of the Christian celebration that infects all the stores and radio stations: Christmas. Santas and Nativity scenes populate indiscriminately through this state, as well as most of the South, and the rivers run red (and green) with Christmas spirit.
But Christmas isn’t the only holiday between now and the New Year. What about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or even the secular enjoyments of the winter season? Where are our menorahs, kujichagulia, and Festivus poles? The simple solution to our multi-denominational dilemma is to acknowledge all of them at once with the phrase “Happy Holidays.” This simple statement conveys the general expression of winter goodwill without excluding any faith or culture.
Now, however, there are people who are offended by the nondenominational wish of welfare. “Happy Holidays” has become offensive to some Christmas purists, who expect all people to wish each other “Merry Christmas,” no matter what they may celebrate.
Why the need to push Christmas into everyone’s faces? I understand that stomping out other religious and cultural beliefs in exchange for Christianity is a common practice throughout history, but it’s 2017. We have enough problems already, do we really need to fight over a seasonal greeting intended to wish all people happy winter celebrations and a welcome new year?
One of the messages Christmas tries to sell is “Peace on Earth, goodwill to men,” but shouting at people about including all in their statements of goodwill certainly doesn’t spread peace on Earth. Christmas purists claim that the holiday is an American holiday, not just a Christian holiday, while others contradict that statement by saying that the most important part of Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ (even though he was probably born in the summer). Us non-Christians are either doomed to hell or ridiculed for being too politically correct if we say “Happy Holidays”, Even though Christmas is included in the description of “holiday.”
Now, personally, I’d say “Happy Holidays,” or “Merry Christmas,” or “Happy Hanukkah,” or “Joyous Kwanzaa,” or “Happy Festivus” if I knew the cultural preference of every person I meet this holiday season. But I don’t. I actually celebrate Christmas, so if someone wishes me a “Merry Christmas,” I won’t hesitate to return the favor. I use “Happy Holidays,” too, though, because I don’t know what people celebrate, but I’m open to the idea that they can celebrate whatever they choose to this winter holiday season.
There’s no need for the phrase “Happy Holidays” to awaken a deep hatred in the hearts of die-hard Christians, as it’s said mainly to wish welfare. This phrase doesn’t exclude anyone, and it’s just there to allow others to be kind and courteous to each other in this lovely winter season. Happy Holidays, reader.