Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Happy Chrismahanakwanzaka

I love the holiday season. From about the week before Thanksgiving through the final college football game, it's possibly my favorite time of the year. I find this time of year even more enjoyable knowing I won't have to follow it up with 4 months of winter, but that's another story.

The one thing I don't like one bit is the annual controversies over what to say to someone to wish them a happy whatever. One side complains because this is some vast conspiracy to eliminate Christmas, and in turn Christianity. Others complain about Christmas, and in turn Christianity, being "forced" down their throat. (I find both positions rather ironic since Christmas is a remarkably secular holiday, even banned by the first settlers to what became the United States, with Christian ideals bolted on at a much later date, but that's a subject for another posting.)

Almost every major religion and culture has some form of a holiday around this time of year. Most of them revolve around celebrating the harvest or the solstice, or simply the need to have a holiday to make the harsh winter a little more bearable, even if for just one day. And just about every one is represented in this country by some portion of society.

This has led a lot of society, for whatever reason, to want to avoid offending people by wishing them something that doesn't match the holiday they celebrate. Somehow speaking in generalities has become the way to respect other people's beliefs.

We're supposed to be a melting pot. We're supposed to celebrate each other's beliefs. What better way to celebrate another's beliefs than to find out what it is they actually believe and share that part of ourselves? And a great start is to say "Happy ____" or "Merry ____".

By saying "Happy" whatever, you're doing two things. You're, of course, wishing well upon the person, in a very personal way, and what's better than that? On top of that, you're sharing a bit of yourself by declaring what it is you celebrate.

I would much prefer someone wishing me "Happy Hanukah" when I see them on the street than just "Happy Holidays". Same goes with the employee at JC Penney's. Or my coworker. Or anyone else for that matter.

Rather than everyone hiding what they celebrate, let's celebrate what each individual celebrates. Wish people what you normally would, and graciously thank them when they wish you their normal blessing. And who knows - maybe you'll learn something about a culture you never knew.

So with that, I wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas, and a very enjoyable New Year.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I agree. I'll take a Happy Kwanzaa over Season's Greetings or Happy Holidays. And I'd like to say, "Thank you, Merry Christmas" in return.