"Nannie & the Earthquake"
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16 December 2005
It's getting so you want to hide in your house during the month of December, never go out to mingle with people, and refuse to answer your telephone for fear of offending someone.
God (or whatever higher power you acknowledge, if you acknowledge one) forbid that I should wish the wrong person a Merry Christmas, or a Happy Holiday.
The latest in the move to be politically correct concerns what to call that big green thing in the living room that is hanging with colored lights and colorful ornaments. I always called it a Christmas tree, but now I discover that it's a holiday tree.
Presumably, not to offend people of other beliefs who put green things in their living rooms and hang them with colored lights and colorful ornaments, but who don't acknowledge "Christmas."
I'm waiting for people to call that 8 hole thing with candles in it a "candle holder" instead of a menorah. Fair is fair, right? But nobody seems incensed about that. And if your establishment features the 8-holed menorah, isn't that offensive to African Americans, since only seven candles are used with the celebration of Kwanzaa?
Now, I'm not a person of strong religious beliefs, but by virtue of the fact that I was raised in a Christian belief system (I guess Catholics are still considered Christians, right? I just don't know any more) it makes me suspect to express any frustration with the brouhaha about what we say to people during the month of December.
People object to the word "Christmas" because it is Christian. Yet religious people complain that we have "taken Christ out of Christmas" with all of the emphasis on consumerism and Santa Claus and non-religious icons. So if we've taken Christ out of Christmas, why is there still a problem with wishing someone a "Merry Christmas"? I have received several Christmas cards so far this year and not one of them has a picture which would be considered religious. There are "holiday trees," and dogs wearing antlers, and snowflakes and Santa Claus and family photos, but not a single Madonna and child or angel or Magi. How religious is "Christmas" any more anyway?
How offensive are ads for X-boxes and iPods and Fashion Barbies to anybody (other than ME, that is!)?
I found the whole "happy holidays" thing taken to the extreme before Thanksgiving, when nobody would say "Happy Thanksgiving," but were still wishing me a "happy holiday."
Now, really, how offensive is Thanksgiving? A day when there are no religious ties, unless you want to thank your higher power for the good in your life. Mostly it's a celebration of gluttony and football, yet people were afraid to use the "T" word. I cannot tell you how many people told me to "have a good holiday."
How far do we want to take this?
Do we say "have a good holiday" over the 4th of July in deference to those who may be following the Jewish calendar or the Chinese calendar or any other calendar and who might not be observing the "4th of July," or "July" at all?
Do we not celebrate Arbor Day because some people live in deserts? (And how come nobody seems upset about Easter, the day when apparently a giant rabbit arose from the dead to give chocolate to children)
Why stop there?
I object to the "happy" in "happy holiday." There are some people who are sad and who might take offense at anybody who is being happy. I think we should just wave at each other and say "Holiday!" and you can have whichever kind of holiday you want--happy, merry, sad, morose, or whatever.
(And while we're at it, the word "holiday" itself implies "holy day" doesn't it? Do all those non-religious folks know they are wishing people a happy holy day? Maybe we should just wave at each other and say "Greetings!")
But then there is "good morning" or "good night." The person you are addressing may have family in the southern hemisphere, where the days and nights are reversed. Might they not be offended if you are wishing them a good morning, when their family is in the dark? or vice versa?
You can get pretty ridiculous over a season which is designed to bring families together, and make people feel good, no matter which belief system you may be following.
Why can't we just smile and nod and return the good will when someone wishes us a good holiday, whether it's Christmas, Hannukah or Kwanzaa?
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