Wednesday, December 24, 2008

happy ... whatever

I totally get not calling the K-12 school break, "Christmas Vacation." Not all of the children and their families celebrate Xmas and many of them celebrate other holidays around this time of year and some people don't celebrate anything - well, no holidays - this time of year; it's just another few days off (or not). I get that those with authority saying "Have a Merry Christmas" to someone who does not have the authority may seem like they are telling the worker/customer/client that Christmas should be celebrated or it may be perceived as such.

I also understand the idea of offices having the "Office Holiday Party" for the same reasons. See above.

But aren't there times it is appropriate to actually tell someone "Have a Merry Christmas?" And this is coming from someone who, while I do celebrate Xmas because it is the culture I live in and I have a child in my life and it is a favored holiday of my family. But if PersonA knows that PersonB celebrates Xmas/Christmas and PersonB is being transferred to another location on Xmas Eve and PersonA wants to wish PersonA a fond farewell and, well, is it not okay for that person to say "Have a Merry Christmas" without fear of being reprimanded by a supervisor? After all, it *is* that actual day - it is not Solstice nor Hanukkah nor Kwanzaa nor Boxing Day - it is Christmas in the USA.

I witnessed this somewhere today. No, not the employee getting in trouble. But the employee being afraid s/he would be disciplined, or at least written up, for forgetting to not say "Have a Merry Christmas" to someone who was leaving the company. It would not have made sense in that setting to say "Seasons Greetings."

I'm still rolling this pearl around in the silver bowl. How to not offend and not unintentionally oppress or unduly influence? And yet how to genuinely say that this day is called Christmas Eve and tomorrow is Christmas and I hope they are good days for you?

Many years ago I knew someone who celebrated HanSolMas with her multicultural/multi-ethnic family.

Some people say, "Happy Whateveryoucelebrate Day."

Some people say, "Merry Christmas."

Some people smile and say, "Have A Good One."

Some people smile.

What do you think? What are some of the perspectives on this issue?

Try writing a story with a protagonist whose beliefs are the opposite of yours on this issue.

And, whatever you celebrate around this time of year, may it be good and joyous and fulfilling in the way you need it to be.

photograph: a Zubble