The first time I ever heard about the “Great Holiday Debate” I was 13 years old and shopping for Christmas Gifts with my grandmother.
We were checking out at a department store and the lady behind the counter politely said, “Happy Holidays” while handing my grandmother the receipt.
“Say what you really want to say” My grandmother antagonized the poor cashier. The employee stared at my grandma blankly, not sure where this was going. I almost die of embarrassment because I am 13 and everything is awkward.
“It’s not ‘Happy Holidays’. It’s ‘Merry Christmas’” my grandmother snaps as she grabs the receipt and hurries me out of the store before I can turn around and apologize.
I block this traumatically embarrassing incident out of my mind until it manifests again in the form of red Starbucks cups and whining adults who can’t seem to handle that their religion may not be the only one in existence.
We live in a world where people are literally afraid for their lives because they want to marry someone of the same gender and instead people are focused on the “War on Christmas”. This may seem appalling, seeing as there actually have been wars waged on the basis of religion and the Christian faith has rarely, if ever, been the victim.
The number one thing that I find so absolutely absurd about this argument is the fact that most of the symbols related to Christmas that people want to see on a coffee cup, come from the Pagan faith. Bells, wreaths, candles, and even Santa Clause himself are descendants of a long line of Yule traditions, a Pagan holiday.
I struggle to find the validity of this argument as it appears to be the desperate boo-hooing of a generation of people so afraid to lose something that never belonged to them in the first place. Yule traditions were stolen and sold for profit in shiny red and green paper. Coffee companies are not out to get your religion. There is no Christ in “soy iced-mocha latte with extra whip” and there never was.
Neutral seasonal greetings, like Happy Holidays, are usually imposed by the companies that require their employees to say them. Susie the checkout girl at Target is not burning bibles in her free time. Telling the barista at Starbucks that your name is Merry Christmas, just to prove some imaginary point that you have made up, is childish and takes attention away from the actual problems of our time.
If someone is offering you Happy Holidays, there is no reason to be upset because they are simply wishing you joy and happiness in whatever you celebrate. There are so many holidays that fall within this small time-frame and there is no way of telling who celebrates what. "Happy Holidays" appropriately acknowledges that people may celebrate more than one winter holiday or that they may only celebrate days like New Years. If someone offers you the wrong holiday greeting, smile and say thank you, like an adult. Someone is sharing their culture with you, and that is such an incredible, beautiful thing.
Every school in America, every restaurant, every store closes for Christian holidays. Jewish and Muslim students have to miss classes in order to properly celebrate their faith. I am failing to see how that is fair, and yet no Jewish classmate ever told me that Santa wasn’t real. No one has ever called me a derogatory name for having a Christmas tree in the window.
So before you get up in arms about seasonal greetings that you are offered, think about what Jesus would want you to do. Now, I don’t have any way of contacting him to ask him for clarification, but I’m pretty sure a decent summary of the New Testament is to treat others as you would want to be treated, love your neighbors, and be kind to all regardless of faith.
Tis the Season to love one another and treat each other with respect. So happy holidays to one and all.