Musings from Home

Merry Everything

As I have gone about the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas this year, I have taken note of a relatively new discussion, both on Facebook and in “real life”. There has been quite a lot of talk about putting Christ back in Christmas. And while I certainly understand the roots of this, I have also noticed that it is often linked with the statement that we should not use the “PC” greeting “Happy Holidays”, but insist on “Merry Christmas” instead.

In fact, while I was waiting in line at the post office last week to mail a Christmas package, I overheard a postal employee helping a customer fill out some forms at the table to the side of the line. When the employee was done, he very cheerfully said, “Happy Holidays.” The woman replied in a rather snippy tone, “You have a Merry Christmas!” She was apparently offended at being wished the more generic greeting.

I confess. I am a “Happy Holiday” sayer if I do not know which of the many winter holidays you celebrate. I wish my Christian friends and family a Merry Christmas. I wish my Jewish friends a Happy Chanukah. If I knew any families who celebrate Kwanzaa, I would wish them a Happy Kwanzaa. But to the store clerks, restaurant workers, postal employees, and anyone else with whom I interact during this season, I say, “Happy Holidays.” Happy whichever holiday is near and dear to your heart.

It is only this year that I have given it much thought and I am slightly horrified to realize that I have sent my Jewish friends “Merry Christmas” cards. But not once in my entire life have I received a “Happy Chanukah” card. I can tell you with certainty that I would not be offended if I did, but I would probably be surprised, mostly because it hasn’t happened before. But then I would likely giggle because it serves me right.

This past weekend, our family received a card from Jim’s boss and his wife, who are Jewish. The card was the postcard variety with a beautiful picture of the couple’s little boys. And down on the lower left corner in red and green ink was a greeting that I momentarily mistook for “Merry Christmas,” which I’ll admit struck me as a bit odd, given that the senders do not celebrate Christmas. But then I actually read the words: “Merry Everything.”

I couldn’t help but smile. In my opinion, this was the perfect greeting to send to everyone, regardless of their faith or practices. While my cards this year once again read, “Merry Christmas,” I will be sending out special Chanukah cards to my Jewish friends for the 2011 holiday season, but next year and every year hence, I just may steal that wonderfully uniting greeting, “Merry Everything.” There’s nothing PC about that, but everything wonderful.

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Comments on: "Merry Everything" (2)

  1. I too have been a Happy Holidays person as family celebrates both Christmas (or at least a tree and Santa Claus) and Hanukkah. I am not offended when people wish me a Merry Christmas, because its part of the season and they don’t know I am Jewish. But my feathers do get a bit ruffled when I see decorated Christmas trees everywhere – especially if it is paid for with public (tax payer) money. I see the beauty in the trees and the winter sprit but I also feel it is a bit insensitive. Yes, we have a tree but only because that is part of my non-Jewish husband’s traditions; I still have a hard time enjoying it. And by no means would I want every possible holiday symbol displayed in public places during this time of year; Hanukkah is mine and I don’t feel the need to share it (besides we would probably leave someone out). I also think it is sad that some people get their feathers ruffled by a “Happy Holidays” greeting. Good or bad, we are a much more diverse population than we once were and with that goes responsibility for being sensitive to others feelings and beliefs. As you can tell this is a sensitive topic for me. Thanks for giving everyone a bit to think about.

  2. I like Merry Everything. It’s festive and fun.

    I usually just wish everyone a Merry Christmas and hope that they understand the festive intent behind the greeting.

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