Friday, December 9, 2011

Advent Calendar - Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays OR...?

I love the prompts that I have been using for these blogs.  I know this blog may be somewhat controversial.  I wrote it a couple of months ago, and it’s been sitting in my “draft” file since then.  Please understand that I am not trying to anger anyone but it’s a topic that I strongly feel needs to be considered.

Many people seem to be getting irritated every year when they are being told “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.  Why?  Are you one of those?  Have you considered some of the reasons behind the change? 

After all, the United States was not organized to be a Christian nation.  Studying our founding fathers, many of them were not traditional Christians, but Deists.  They knew about religious intolerance and they didn’t want the United States to be formed based on one religion.  So, people of all religious beliefs were supposed to be welcome and accepted here.  Are we doing that now? 

Please let me tell you a brief, personal story.  In 8th grade I became friends with Diane who was in orchestra class with me.  She was Jewish.  How did I know?  Because in the 1950s and 1960s all of the Jewish students missed a couple of days of class in September, right after school started.  Well, that year was the first year I sent out Christmas cards to my friends, probably only 5 or 6 that year.  But, I didn’t feel that I could send a card to Diane, because I knew that she wasn’t Christian.  My mother suggested sending Diane a Hanukah card.  I did.  Then, for the next 4 years, I sent a Hanukah card to Diane and she sent a Christmas card to me.  Even though we often rode together to orchestra practices because our parents took turns driving, we never spoke about it.  It just “wasn’t done.”

I realize that the majority of the U.S. population is Christian.  However, is that any reason for us to “push” our holidays onto everyone else?  How would we feel if we, individually, were no longer in the majority?  Permanently?  

So now, when we hear Happy Holidays, should we be insulted or should we consider that the speaker is trying to make sure not to “push” his religious belief on to us?  Since we all look similar, how are they supposed to know what our religious preferences are?  And should we be more considerate to those we meet and wish them a Happy Holiday, since we can’t be positive which holiday they may celebrate during the month of December?  So, please wish people a Happy Holiday or Merry Christmas, or some other special term, and let’s all have a great peaceful December.