This is what it looks like when I’ve had enough.
I am tired of the hatred and intolerance perpetrated by certain members of the Christian community about the widespread prevalence of people saying ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’.
Last year there was a long-winded status floating around Facebook that pretty much blamed the immigrant communities for the rise of ‘Happy Holidays’ as a greeting. Immigrants, claimed the status, were ‘offended’ by the greeting ‘Merry Christmas’ and had lodged formal complaints with their various government representatives around the world. The government representatives, on the other hand, who clearly have nothing to do but amend the way the general public greet each other, apparently passed a law stating that ‘Happy Holidays’ was the only acceptable form of greeting, so as to ensure immigrant votes.
WHAT? I’m sorry, but if you believe that you really need help. Lots of help. Just sit quietly until the men in white coats come to take you away.
First of all, Christians, you’re not the only ones to lay claim to festivities and celebrations at this time of the year. Let’s just get that cleared up. The Winter Solstice celebrations _alone_ are varied and celebrated in different fashions around the world.
Secondly, I got told yesterday that if someone greets me, I should say ‘Merry Christmas’ no matter what the greeting is. Uhm. What? I’m not going to say ‘Merry Christmas’ irrespective of what someone’s faith is, what they celebrate, and what they said in greeting me. Let me explain. If someone says ‘Merry Christmas’ to me, I’ll respond in kind. If my Jewish friends greet me on the occasion of Hanukkah, I’ll wish them a happy Hanukkah. If my Pagan friends wish me for the occasion of Yule or Saturnalia, I’ll respond in kind. I’ll say ‘Happy Kwanzaa’; on the occasion of Bodhi Day, I’ll say whatever the appropriate greeting is, and I’ll greet my Scottish friends on the occasion of Hogmanay. If one of my friends decides to invent a holiday and greets me on the occasion of the invented holiday, I’ll respond in a similar fashion. There isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.
Thirdly, I happen to be agnostic. I’ve explained the reasons why in another post, so this isn’t about why I’m an agnostic. I love to celebrate with my friends of different faiths; I’m respectful of the religious traditions behind Christmas even though in my house it’s more about the food and the socialising and the presents. However, I once braved the winter snows to go to Midnight Mass with a Catholic friend whose hospitality I was enjoying at the time. How long since you lot went to Midnight Mass?
So if my fellow agnostics and some of my atheist friends want to celebrate Christmas, but don’t want to call it Christmas, I don’t actually have a problem with that. I don’t have a problem with the phrase ‘Happy Holidays’. And by the way, the man in whose name you celebrate Christmas? Remember him? If you were to actually ask him if it was okay to celebrate his supposed birthday in other fashions and call it other names, I’m sure he’d respond with the open-minded acceptance that he was famous for. Something that you lot, his followers, seem to have lost. (By the way, he was allegedly born in the summer, and not the winter. Just saying.)
Stop using this season which is supposed to be about love and acceptance to spread your narrow-minded messages of hate. Live and let live. Life is about tolerance and acceptance, not imposing your will on everyone around you. It just makes you look hateful. What does it matter what _somebody else_ says? Who are you anyway, the holiday police? Your holiday is yours to do with it what you will. You celebrate it in _any_ way that you like. But you cannot – and do not ever have the right to – control what other people take away from it, or how they choose to interpret it and celebrate it.
So, no. I won’t just be saying ‘Merry Christmas’. I’ll be using lots of greetings. Deal with it.