It’s December, which means there are a ton of holidays creeping up, from Hanukkah and Yule, to Christmas and Kwanzaa. It also means that everyone is going to start spreading a little bit of holiday cheer, or at least, it used to. Somewhere along the way we were taught that it’s no longer ok to say “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah,” or any other holiday greeting. It’s not politically correct, you may offend someone. When did a kind gesture become offensive?
What’s In A Name?
While I understand that religious ties to holidays like Christmas or Hanukkah, wishing someone a merry Christmas or happy Hanukkah, regardless of your creed, is nothing more than a friendly gesture. Hell, Christmas is barely a religious holiday anymore thanks to Santa Claus and commercialism. I bet just as many people celebrate “Christmas” for these reasons than for the religious reasons. That said, is it so rude that someone cared enough to offer you a warm holiday greeting, regardless of whether or not you celebrate their holiday or subscribe to their creed?
The Common Good
Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, if at all, the spirit of the season revolves around peace, love, celebration and the coming together of family and friends. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Blessed Yule, Happy Kwanzaa, or any other holiday greeting are simply a means of spreading some good will towards man and holiday cheer. It’s no different than a person saying hello in another language.
If someone were to approach you tomorrow. smile and say Hola, Konnichiwa, or Bonjour would you be offended because it wasn’t in English? Probably not. So why do we treat a similar friendly gesture with such disdain? It’s not as though people are telling you that your God sucks, or your beliefs are a joke.
Holiday greetings are just that, a greeting. They’re no different than hello, good morning, or the like. They are simply a kind gesture. Sure, some may mention or be tied to religious holidays, but does that really matter? If it does, you better throw a fit the next time someone says “Bless you” when you sneeze. After all, they may not be asking the same God to bless you.
So the next time someone wishes you a holiday specific greeting, smile, thank them, and return the gesture. Spreading a little holiday joy will go a lot further and make you feel a lot better than getting offended and freaking out.
If you are someone who is offended by holiday specific greetings I’d LOVE to know your reasoning in the comments below.