Which Holiday?

I know for sure I have talked about this specific topic before, probably for a column at my school newspaper. But no matter, I still find it relevant. Especially after seeing a sign for a local business crossing out “Happy Holidays” to proclaim “Merry Christmas.”As if using the former phrase is offensive to Christian values.

Which, first off, most certainly is not. Just because you prefer one over the other, even if it’s not for religiously conscious reasoning, there is nothing wrong with that. You can still celebrate whatever the heck you want. It’s not like someone is about to chop down your Christmas tree or something extreme.

People who aren’t necessarily religious celebrate Christmas, is that also offensive? I think the holiday season should be a time for everyone to observe something, whatever it may be. In my head, I picture the one Blue’s Clues episode where Steve walks by his neighbors’ homes to see the diverse range of holidays they celebrate. Steve himself never necessarily says he celebrates any certain holiday. It’s open-ended so everybody feels welcome.

Since I mainly see conservative people angering themselves over people saying “Happy Holidays,” I feel the same is relevant for the others involved. If someone tells you “Merry Christmas” and you don’t celebrate it, you’re missing the point of using any greeting at all. Don’t criticize them for not knowing or “respecting” your respective holiday, that just two words imply ignorance and disregard for your personal views. Thank the person for the warm wishes and move on. It’s that simple.

I mean, come on, it’s the holiday season. This is a time set aside for good will toward everybody. I think there are bigger problems out there to worry about than a silly greeting. It’s truly the thought that counts. In our daily lives, we can forget sometimes to make the extra effort toward spreading and promoting kindness. While I wish it was a quality we practiced year-round, I always know that this time of year will remind me that people are truly good, despite a year full of misgivings, violence and suffering.

My knowledge of other winter holidays is limited, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate them and allow others to partake in certain traditions. Who am I to judge? I’m just somebody else celebrating some other holiday. Just because it’s the holiday that consumerism thrives on, that is the predominant one in the country, doesn’t make it any better than the rest.

I grew up learning that America is a melting pot. As I begin to explore the world for myself, I have come to realize that is more of a patchwork quilt (and if you know what episode I’m referring to, then this is a clever tie-in). Other cultures don’t necessarily flow together with the viscosity that we assume. There are still distinct boundaries in place, but when interwoven with others, the end result provides a sense of warmth and comfort.

Honestly, if somebody wishes you peace and comfort, just accept and appreciate it. Sure, we should probably educate ourselves about the other holidays around December, but for this minuscule problem, gratitude will always ring true. It’s much better to say something than nothing at all, especially not knowing the struggles our neighbors might face as the holidays may be very difficult and lonely. “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” show that we care. We want the best for each other. And that alone might be the best gift of all.

I could get more into the little squabbles involved with the holiday season (heck, the color of Starbucks cups does not matter whatsoever), but I’d rather not dwell on them when it’s such a wonderful time of the year. My personal favorite days of the year are within reach, and when I say I’ve been counting down the days all week, I’m not exaggerating (haven’t you heard of Christmas Eve Eve?). Let us simply put aside our differences, whatever they may be, to come together for some quality spent time with others. If you have any certain traditions, practice them unapologetically. But also don’t assume how others might spend these days. But your warm greetings and wishes are still much appreciated.

Since this is my last post before the weekend, I would like to wish you all a very Happy Holidays. I hope you take the time to slow down to see all of the goodness surrounding you. I don’t plan on missing a beat, but if I do, it’s because I’m giving myself the time to make others a priority, showing my love toward them and spending every moment I can with them. They are the only gifts you need, the ones you can’t put under a tree or stuff in a stocking.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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