“Happy holidays”, the young girl said as she bagged my purchases. I smiled and thanked her for her well wishes. The next customer, not so appreciative of this greeting, made a snide remark about the fact that she didn’t say “merry Christmas”. Perhaps he was trying to make a point of keeping Christ in Christmas, but what he really did was annoy two people. I didn’t walk away from that store having had a spiritual awakening because of his words. In fact, I was really more irritated than I was when I entered the busy store and realized just how long the check out lines were in the first place.
If I see someone this time of year, I will wish them happy holidays to encompass all that we celebrate this time of year. We start with Thanksgiving, then Christmas and end the season with Groundhog Day on February 2nd. (that’s my favorite holiday) So because of this, if I see you between Thanksgiving and Groundhog day, I will undoubtedly wish you a happy holiday season. I suppose I could carry a list in my pocket of who my Christian friends are and who my not-so-Christian friends are so that I deliver the appropriate non-offensive greeting. But, as you can understand, I don’t have time for that. Besides at any given moment, as some would believe, Christians can lose their credentials and find themselves back on the other list. So how do I know when to use which greeting?
So I find myself in a quandary. Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays; can’t we just accept the kind words of a stranger as that….kind words. There are certainly worse words that have been said to me by strangers.
Sing your Christmas hymns, your songs about Rudolf and light your Hanukah Menorah. Enjoy this time of year for what it is, a time to celebrate faith, family and friendships. Whether Christian or not, this time of year brings out the giving spirit. There are certainly people could use our cheer instead of our sneer when they offer the wrong holiday greeting.
Amy Lynn Michael