Lately, we’ve noticed something that is rather disconcerting. When we’re out and about, walking down the streets of Seattle to buy groceries or run errands and everything has the cozy glow of winter, we look to a fellow pedestrian, inspired. We say, “Merry Christmas!”
We get a scowl in response. Sometimes, we get a correction. “You mean, ‘happy holidays.’ ”
No. We said merry Christmas, and we meant it.
It’s nice that so many of us are making efforts toward being more inclusive in opting for ‘happy holidays.’ But when it comes to the point where you get dirty looks for saying Christmas — perhaps we’ve gone too far. There are better, more meaningful ways of being inclusive.
After all, if we’re honest, for most of us, when we wish someone a happy holiday, we really mean a merry Christmas. Otherwise, wouldn’t we be saying happy holidays on Feb. 14 and July 4 on the off chance of meeting someone who celebrated something other than Valentine’s or Independence Day?
Would we be just as offended if someone wished us “Happy Hanukkah”? Why has Christmas become such a bad word?
You might argue that Christmas is too commercialized, an excuse for greedy corporations to sell more wares.
But we know this. We know we’re not celebrating real Christmas. And for the most part, we’re OK with this because for us, it serves as an excuse to spend more time with family members and friends. It’s a reason to eat well and bake a lot. It motivates people to volunteer. It moves people to donate money to charitable causes. Maybe what’s more important is that people are showing up, not their reasons for showing up.
We’re not saying that we’re going to lead a revolution and bring Christmas back to elementary schools and our government. That would be wrong. We’re just saying, when you see us on the street, and we wish you a merry Christmas, please don’t glare at us. ♦