The endless march of the holiday season(which consequently now seems to begin sometime around Columbus Day)has waned. My kids have descended down from their thoughts that it is perfectly acceptable to be opening presents everyday and I no longer have to elude empty boxes in my living room. I have removed the last of those twist ties, that have every toy vise gripped to their packaging, from the bottom of my foot. My kids are bored. My wife has a headache. And I now find myself reflecting on the holidays. I am not just focused on my Mastercard balance either. I have given serious thought to this whole wishing a ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of a ‘Merry Christmas’.Since our country decided to dive head first into the kiddie pool of political correctness, the Christmas holiday has been one of those items constantly under siege. Sensitivity police, ACLU lawyers, and people looking for ten minutes with Wolf Blitzer all seem to have some sort of issue with Christmas and how we refer to Christmas. What should be said when you are walking out to your car after waiting in line for three and a half hours and still not getting the right size? The fallout from the PC bomb lobbed onto December has been this calvary charge to halt anyone or any company responsible for issuing a decree of Merry Christmas to anyone, anywhere, at any time during the four month long Christmas season. And why? Why is it that our greetings or farewells offered up by passerbys, bell ringers for the Salvation Army or the check out girl at Target can’t be Merry Christmas? Does a cheerful and full of season ‘Merry Christmas’ truly smack of contempt and a disrespect? I am certainly cognizant of the melting pot we call America. I am aware of all of the ingredients that make up our citizens. I am unaware that ‘Merry Christmas’ was so abominable a saying? When followed closely by a smile and a brightness in the eyes only seen in December, ‘Merry Christmas’ can not possibly offend someone of another religion. It is being said out of cheer and good will towards man and everything else Andy Williams is heard singing about on the 24 hour carol radio station. Sure you may be celebrating in your own way this year, but if someone were to wish me a Happy Hanukkah I would not find it insulting. So now my Christmas passion is up. What is so wrong with ‘Merry Christmas’.This is where my kids and wife being asleep gives me far too much quiet time to think.Should we be saying ‘Merry Christmas’? Should we be offering tidings of joy when most of us have forgotten or never knew the true reason behind the tidings? Do those ignorant or ignoring of December 25th’s meaning deserve to have a ‘Merry Christmas’? Why in the world are folks like Bill O’Reilly so incensed over WalMart’s policy of a ‘Happy Holidays’ greeting versus saying ‘Merry Christmas’? Do we really believe that the stockholders of WalMart are memorializing Christianity’s savior’s birth to a virgin mother when they slash the prices on the latest Hannah Montana merchandise? Why are we so concerned over the receptionist’s secularism at the BonTon when she offers a ‘Happy Holidays’ retort to your purchase? Retail chain’s first priority during the Christmas season(besides loading up the holiday musack for their stores) is figuring out how to best market the newest superhero movie, or Webkinz, or great buy one get one free sale on their way to record receipts on Black Friday. Only if Jesus could push them past last year’s totals would stores worry themselves over including the man responsible for the extra day off and extended store hours during Christmas. As a result, retail chains, Hannah Montana and the Disney Corp, and anyone else disinterested with Christmas’ true meaning should NOT be allowed to offer their ‘Merry Christmas’ to you. They should be prohibited from ever extending a ‘Merry Christmas’ yule log of joy to their patrons. Yes, ‘Happy Holiday’s’ is more appropriate for those concerned over the mall’s parking capacity or stock pricing. In fact, Christian’s should be Lou Pinella, play at the plate missed by the umpire, mad about anyone attempting to falsely claim spirituality and profess their faith in order to exploit the wallets of American citizens. And Christianity should be equally peeved over blow hards like Bill O’Reilly doing their best to push the Christmas agenda on the false idols of merchandising and midnight sales events. Sometime around the Cabbage Patch Kid craze in the mid-eighties, this country finally fell off the tracks of trying to pretend it cared about or remembered the true meaning of Christmas. Sadly, it has become about Tickle Me Elmo, battery operated lightsabers, and Hannah Montana putting her likeness on anything capable of being sold at fine retailers near you. But you can drop the figgy pudding, stand up, and make your voice heard. You can let the world know you aren’t just considered with a 50% off sale or ignoring your footprints on a store employee’s shirt as you trample him to get to the Wii first. Next Christmas, let it be know to all that you have not forgotten why it is you buy the Advent calendars(and always cheat with the chocolate sometime around December 16th or so) and even while you are pushing through the mobs of shoppers remind yourself just why you MMA style maneuver towards the toy section. It’s all for the celebration. It’s all for rejoicing at what is truly an extraordinary day for you. It is not just about reams of wrapping paper and bottom lines on the sales tickets. It is not about offending or disrespecting any other established religious celebration during this time. It’s not about having or wishing a Happy Holidays. For you, it is all about having and wishing a Merry Christmas to everyone.
- Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for, I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of my country (and bald...and cranky...and out of shape...in the service of being a parent) - George Washington
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