December 11, 2012

"Merry Christmas...?"

When I was in high school and in university I held a few different retail jobs. Around Christmas time we were all encouraged to wish our customers various holiday-based pleasantries, starting around the beginning of December. Given that I celebrate Christmas I would wish my customers a "Merry Christmas" as they cashed out and left the various stores I worked at. I never remember ever getting a second glance or an offended remark back; those customers that I wished a Merry Christmas too often replied by repeating what I had said, or they would wish me some other form of holiday pleasantry as they continued on their way.

But apparently what I had been doing was causing quite a stir, though I had no indication of any problem. Apparently, the use of the phrase "Merry Christmas" was {and may still be} considered as exclusionary and ignorant in a retail setting. Though we were encouraged to acknowledge and recognize with our customers the fact that a big day of celebration was upon us, we were discouraged from using the word "Christmas". In fact, we were encouraged to use the term "Happy Holidays" as this was seen as being the most inclusive way of phrasing our wishes of holiday cheer.

I am all for inclusion, but ironically, something about this struck me as a little offensive: It was not the fact that I celebrate Christmas, but rather it was the fact that I was being censored. At a time when people were wishing each other pleasantries to emulate the spirit of the holiday season, I was being told exactly how I was to do this; which, in my opinion, dictated how I was to celebrate and enjoy the spirit of the season myself.

I am not going to take this as far as I could, as one could probably argue that this was a form of religious discrimination, as Christmas is a Christian-based holiday. But being that I wasn't {nor am I currently} very religious, this was not my concern. My concern was the fact that at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what I said, it was the thought and the spirit behind my words that carried the essence of the holiday season, and what that means to each of us. I am not - nor would I be - offended if someone wished me a "Feliz Nevidad" or a "Happy Hanukkah  or a "Joyeux Noel". The words are not the issue here. The thought and the spirit intended in the words are what really matter, and I think that most people understand that and would reciprocate those thoughts and feelings, even if they don't celebrate the holiday mentioned.

The holidays are not about political correctness or semantics; they are about family, and happiness, and peace on Earth. They are about good times, good drinks, and great food. They are about everything good and positive in the world, everything that should be celebrated. So that being said, have yourself a Merry little Christmas, however you choose to celebrate the season!

Photo Credit: WeHeartIt // Shimmer Like Gold

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...