…to people I don’t know: Because I have no idea if they are Christian or not. After all, I’m Wiccan and have been for over a decade, and I have had friends who were Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and atheist. They never celebrated Christmas, and neither do I. So, when I’m dealing with customers or the general public, I will automatically say “Happy Holidays” rather than reverting to the not-all-that-inclusive greeting of “Merry Christmas”. Usually this works out pretty damn well.
Unfortunately, there is always that one person who takes offense with this completely inoffensive salutation. They will scowl, tsk at you, shake their head, and shrilly cry out “But it’s CHRISTMASTIME! STOP BEING SO PC!” Better yet is when they lean forward and stage whisper “It’s okay…I won’t tell your boss if you say Merry Christmas instead.” Most of the time, I just smile and let them know it is my choice to wish them a happy holiday, especially if they are a customer.
But sometimes? Well, sometimes you have to gently remind people that not everyone is a Christian like them. A good example is a man I was behind at the bank today. The teller wished him “Happy Holidays”, to which he laughed and told her** that he doesn’t believe in all this politically correct crap, and wished everyone would just get over themselves with minority religions. In his view, all Americans should celebrate Christmas and if they don’t? Oh well, their loss, don’t cater to them.
At this point, he walked by me to leave, and I stuck out my hand for him to shake. As we do so, I smile nicely and say “You’re right. We should stop caring about what religion someone else practices. Which is why I’ll now wish you a happy Yule, since that’s what *I* celebrate. Who cares what Christians think, right? Don’t have to cater to the majority either!”
He stopped shaking my hand, gave me a look of utter confusion, and walked away. The teller laughed, and thanked me for standing up for other religions…it seems she is Jewish, and people give her a lot of grief for her feeling more comfortable saying “happy holidays” as well. I wasn’t surprised, honestly.
Thus, I hope that my readers all enjoy their day tomorrow, regardless of what spiritual path they follow (if any). Me? I’m going to be lighting incense, praying to the Lady and Lord, writing up my new year’s resolutions, then visiting my mother and siblings for our Yule supper and gift giving.
Happy Holidays, all!
Edited to add:
It seems from the comments and an email I received that many readers are completely missing the point of this post. It’s not to tell people to be PC, it’s not to say I’m utterly against a Christian saying “merry christmas”, and it’s not meant to be coming down on people of the Christian faith. After all, most of my friends are Christians of one type or another.
The point of this post was to highlight the fact that quite a few Christians are anti-inclusive, to the point where they insist that people of ALL faiths and belief systems say “merry christmas”…even when they don’t celebrate it, or it makes them uncomfortable to say it.
You can be proud of your religion and it’s rituals/mythology without stomping on or outright condemning/denying someone else’s. I don’t get upset when others say “merry christmas” instead of “happy holidays”…I get upset when others yell and screech at people who prefer to NOT say “merry christmas”. In other words, I am against religious privilege and intolerance, not Christianity as a whole.
**What his actual words were:
“Ma’am, America is a Christian nation. Maybe no one taught you this, but we say “merry christmas” here, not any of that politically correct bullshit to make immigrants feel better.”