Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays…vs. Who Cares? December 25, 2011Posted by lizmorison in Uncategorized.
Tags: Christmas, Davie St, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, religion, sentiment
You know that whole Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays debate? Sometimes so ever-intelligently referred to as the “War on Christmas”? Frankly, I’m starting to become offended by this debate.
That’s right. Not any salutation but rather the debate itself, is starting to offend me.
Because aside from it being a pathetic waste of time, doesn’t anyone realize the MASSIVE implicit contradiction?
It occurred to me today in the low-end, Davie St supermarket (Super-Valu, or Tru-Value or some such), otherwise known as the only place open and therefore my last resort in picking up sustenance for my overnight Christmas Eve shift. (That I’m surprisingly, not bitter about.)
So the man ahead of me pays for his groceries and says, “Happy Holidays” while at the same time, the middle-aged cashier offers, “Merry Christmas.” Then as the man goes to leave, she turns and says to no one in particular, “I say ‘Merry Christmas’ because that’s what I celebrate!”
At the time, I felt she had expected me to join her. Or at the very least offer some sort of acknowledgement, ultimately taking a stand on this assumed war on Christmas.
But I didn’t. I chose to icily and somewhat awkwardly look downward and ignore her comment, and in fact found myself resenting her for carelessly bringing up this BEYOND STUPID point of argument. And on Christmas Eve, no less.
As I walked home I continued to stew, thinking about what the indiscriminate cashier had said. She says Merry Christmas because that’s what SHE celebrates…so in effect she’s, what, saying the pleasantry for herself?
I mean let’s think about this. Saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to someone is supposed to offer well wishes toward the person you’re saying it to. A simple act of saying something kind to someone else. No exchange necessary, just selfless well-wishing.
The problem occurs when you figure not everyone celebrates Christmas. And the pleasantry is usually said offhandedly, so there’s really no time to find out everyone’s particular affiliation and offer the correct salutation. (What you get for not being Christian, I suppose).
To combat this problem, over time, a more general pleasantry started being offered. One that covers all the bases. One that instills the same feelings of warmth and well-wishing and can be spewed out with the same nonchalance:
Nice ring to it, nice alliteration. No religious connotations (which I won’t even get into THAT whole issue suffice it to say, in the words of Bart Simpson, “Aren’t we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas? You know, the birth of Santa?”).
No. No no. Nope, saying, “Happy Holidays” that’s going too far. We won’t be bullied by these other affiliations, demanding their share of pleasantries. We’re going to ban together and voice our displeasure over not being able to express a traditional holiday sentiment. For which our children indeed have no idea how or why it came to be, just that they can expect a mythical fat man in red to give them inane, superficial gifts they’ve learned to desire, but don’t really need. (We have an economy to support, after all).
And so now, as I experienced in line at the supermarket, ironically, the pleasantry is bringing about the opposite desired result.
Not merriment, but divide. Anger. Resentment.
Because in the end, it’s OK to commercialize the hell out of this holiday, it’s OK for increasingly indebted populations to engage in mass consumerism…but damnit, if I can’t wish you well the way I want to!!!