It’s that time of year again. Not the time for eggnog and caroling, but the time for feeling awkward at cash registers when you’re not sure if you should end your transaction with a “Happy Holidays” or a “Merry Christmas!”
Every year the struggle begins anew and every year it becomes more and more ridiculous. 2015 has been a particularly active year for combatants in the so-called “war on Christmas.”
Let’s put this to bed right now and move on with our lives. Because maybe, just maybe, there are more important things to be upset about this year than what you say to your Uber driver when you get out at your stop.
It’s Merry Christmas!
Let’s face it, this is probably the losing side of this argument, but it isn’t because they don’t have a legitimate point.
Christmas is a religious holiday for Christians and they perceive the movement to eradicate “Merry Christmas” as an attack on their faith. They see the trend as yet another step in the campaign to make a time of year that is supposed to be holy and significant into something cheap and commercialized.
This is a legitimate point. No one should be kept from celebrating the important moments of their religion, and it is undeniably true that Christmas has morphed into something much broader than a Christian holiday.
If a Christian wants to share the excitement and joy they feel during the approach to their most impactful day of the year with strangers than that should be celebrated not curtailed.
A “Merry Christmas” should not be viewed as a Christmas observer’s attempt to force their point of view on another. But rather it should be seen as their desire to share a bit of their joy with a stranger. The intention, for the most part, is positive. However, the inverse is true as well.
It’s Happy Holidays!
The more radical agents in the “Happy Holidays” camp use the term as a weapon against the evils of religion and it’s encroachment into their everyday lives.
They see a proffered “Merry Christmas” as an attempt to sway them into a religious ideology, or as the speaker’s proclamation that the other holidays taking place in November and December are somehow unimportant.
This may be an extreme characterization, but the point here is valid as well. There are certainly a lot of people that celebrate Christmas, but it is far from a universally observed occasion.
Nobody wants to hear about the party they weren’t invited to, or perhaps didn’t even care to attend, 10-20 times a day.
But in most cases the “Happy Holidays” you may hear is simply being offered by someone who does not celebrate Christmas and yet still wants to be friendly and engaging during their yuletide comings and goings.
Conclusion: Just Accept The Kindness
Both sides of this fight are looking for a fight where there is none being attempted. With the exception of a few overzealous agents, the speakers of each phrase are not attempting to win ground every time they give their barista a festive goodbye.
If someone says either “Merry Christmas” of “Happy Holidays” to you just take it for what it is: one human being’s attempt to express some kindness to another.
There are plenty of forums to discuss the commercialization of Christmas or the encroachment of a major religion, but the checkout line at Target certainly isn’t one of them.
Merry Holidays everyone!
Banner Image: Probably Okay on Flickr