Yes – “Merry Christmas!” Not “Happy Holidays!” Don’t decimate school celebrations to “winter parties” and pretend like tradition and cultural customs don’t exist. I’m tired of being PC – and there are a lot of others who feel exactly like I do.
It’s not about religion. Actually, I would embrace the “holiday” season more, and be less of a Grinch if I walked into an office building or school and saw symbols of all types. Put up a Christmas tree! Display a menorah! I’d love to see a sign saying “Happy Kwanza!”
Seriously, it’s about the sentiment and not about making a happy time of year so dry-toast-plain it sucks the fun out of wishing others well.
I was in a local deli the other day where many police officers and EMTs frequent. The mom and pop run shop will cook you up a pork roll, egg & cheese any time of day and serve it to you your way. They fire up the griddle right in front of you and make your wait seem like seconds as they engage you with pleasant conversation. Every customer either walks out of there with a full belly or a full bag of food.
An off duty EMT was standing in front of the counter looking dejected. He struck up a conversation with the owner, and I was waiting for my order to be taken. He wasn’t trying to speak softly. As a matter of fact, I think he made a point of projecting his thoughts so those around him would hear.
He related the tale of walking down the street the day after December 25th, and he wished a lady who looked like she could use a smile, “Merry Christmas!” The woman yelled at him. Yelled at him! Can you believe it? Just because she was in her politically correct “Happy Holidays mode”, or perhaps lit eight candles or honored Jehovah in another way, she flipped out on him. He meant no harm.
At this time of year, to me, saying “Merry Christmas” to someone is the equivalent of saying “God bless you” when someone sneezes, or waving hello. I’m not taking it to heart with some kind of deep-seated religious connotation. The person spreading verbal cheer was just trying to be polite, wish me well, and go on their “Merry” way. If a stranger wished me a “Happy Hanukah”, I would say “You too!” and not even blink an eye. Why not? Spread the cheer at this time of year, and be specific about it!
By the time the EMT got his order to go, and the customers sitting at tables and standing in line had heard his disappointment because a woman yelled at him for saying “Merry Christmas!” he thanked the owner and – just like the crew on Cheers yelled “Norm!” as he walked into the Boston bar, the entire people-packed storefront said simultaneously in loud voices to him, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” And you never saw someone smile so big. He proudly and loudly said “Merry Christmas!” back to every one of us, in a way even Scrooge would have approved.
I do know that some people are required to say “Happy Holidays” to customers if they work in the service industry or end a phone conversation with a client. However, I would get a kick out of it personally if I were a waitress for a day, went up to a table, and took two seconds to ask what everyone was celebrating this winter season. And then, how much would it really personally task me to wish each individual a holiday-specific greeting, versus a blanket statement that is so bland.
There is no “PC” in Christmas, Hanukah, or any November/December celebration, so it’s time to take it out, and put the Merry and the Happy, specifically back in.