“If I had my way, every fool who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart”.
“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens
Of course, those who know me (even in passing) understand that I’m not on board with Scrooge here. I much prefer Ebenezer 2.0, the version who “kept Christmas well…” But that line has come to mind numerous times in the recent Christmas season.
Well, it seems the PC Police have met their match. For each “Happy Holidays” heard uttered this past Christmas season, I have heard at least 3 angry, self-righteous “Merry Christmases”. Some might shout hosanna to the heavens given this overwhelming victory by the keepers of Christmas and defenders of all things sacred this holiday season…
However, I do not number myself among them. For there is both a profound misunderstanding and great injustice in this emerging culture of the militant “Merry Christmas.”
The profound misunderstanding comes in the intent of the oft-maligned “Happy Holidays.” Yes, that phrase is all-inclusive. Yes, it has replaced Merry Christmas in many mercantile establishments and on the lips of many newsreaders in recent years. But, in the words of the venerable Princess Vespa: “I am glad. Glad. Glad. Glad. Glad. Glad!” (Google it).
See, these retail establishments are not denying Christmas; they are simply acknowledging that they have customers who may not celebrate the Advent season or the secularized American Christmas. These folks may even have the incredible temerity to celebrate another seasonal holiday…or none at all. These stores may even have employees who are (literally) African-American (gasp), Jewish (shudder) or Muslim (fudge!). Therefore in an effort to not stick their collective fingers in the eyes of their loyal shoppers countless times a day they have created a marketing coup – the all-encompassing holiday greeting.
While it has been said time and again that “Christmas is an American holiday and those in the minority must adjust,” this graceless sentiment seems more anti-Christian than a minimum-wage cashier uttering “Happy Holidays.”
The truth is that the “American Christmas” has been, for the better part of a century, a materialistic bacchanal, not a sacred observance. Since we have (at least) allowed this, when not actively participating, why get ruffled feathers when the advertisers set the mood?
There are, of course, alternatives to echoing “Happy Holidays” as if you were selling something or spitting “Merry Christmas” through a pinched Church Lady smile. There is always, as Dickens put it, “honoring Christmas in your heart and keeping it all the year”… endeavoring to share love, peace and joy without the extra helping of “better than you.”