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BLOG: Saying Happy Holidays

Yes, Happy Holidays. Lets Not Be So Offended

Blog by Evan Dawson 

We are so offended. We are outraged.

We are the Christians, offended that the secular crowd has stamped Merry Christmas right out of our December.

We are the atheists, offended that were always being told to remember the reason for the season, which seems a lot more like sales figures than virgin births, anyway.

We are the religious non-Christians, offended that were told Merry Christmas, even though the sender of such a greeting doesnt know that we dont worship the way they do.

I am here to offer one gentle, humble piece of caution: Lets tone down the umbrage.

It seems that victimhood is all the rage these days, especially in the holiday season. Yes, I said holiday season, not Christmas season, because there are multiple holidays that were celebrating, and that shouldnt be offensive or controversial. Think of all the serious problems in the world today: You could be a Syrian, wondering if you or your country would survive another year. You could have been born in the Central African Republic, where warlords rule with semi-automatic weapons. You could be hungry, or homeless, or sick.

Most likely, you are none of those things. Most likely, you are just like me: Born on the third base of life, enjoying the wonders of freedom and opportunity, even if that means struggling to pay all the bills and enjoy life the way wed like to.

So why are we looking for any opportunity to be so offended? Why does Happy Holidays provoke such opprobrium? Read the 13WHAM Facebook page long enough and youll find viewers vowing to never watch us again unless we amend Holiday cookies to Christmas cookies. Sorry, but Jews bake, too. So do atheists and Muslims and those who still worship Poseidon. Baking is not owned by one religion, thank goodness.

I tend to say Merry Christmas by default, because it is, after all, both a religious and secular greeting. But sometimes I say Happy Holidays. Both greetings mean, essentially, Have a nice day. Both are presented in the spirit of the season, which, outside of whatever religion you prefer (or if you prefer no faith-based belief system), should be about offering warmth to one another. I mean that figuratively, of course, but I also mean it literally. Every year I take warm clothes to organizations that offer them to those in need. Every year I remind myself to try to do much more to help those who have much less.

This year, more than any I can remember, Ive confronted the steadfast relentlessness of time and the finality that can bring. Illness and death have a way of clarifying whats truly important. As someone who has been thinking quite a lot about that recently, I can promise you that whats important is not whether the nice person on the street offers the exact perfect greeting I prefer. If they smile and say just about anything, how could I find it within myself to be offended? Theres not enough time in this world to invent reasons to consider ourselves victims.

So happy holidays. I mean it. Merry Christmas, too. Whatever your reason for the season, and however you worship or dont, heres to smiling more often, and showing more gratitude, and being unoffendable.

 
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