• Angela Pennington

Happy Holidays versus Merry Christmas

A few days ago I was holiday shopping at World Market. At transaction close, I wished the check out clerk “Happy Holidays”. To my shock and amazement the body posture of the clerk immediately shifted. She began to lean backward in what appeared to be an attempt to remove herself from our conversation. With a disgusted look on her face, she choked out the words “Merry Christmas”. The tone she used sucked the merriment right out of my holiday stockings. Despite the shock to my system, I was sure to smile when I wished her a heartfelt “Merry Christmas”.

The arguments over using the term Happy Holidays versus Merry Christmas are tired and worn. They serve no purpose other than an unhealthy demonstration of moral superiority and lack of respect for different belief systems. The dialog around ancient traditions are important conversations for historical purposes, but should in no way define how we share the spirit of the season. It seems to me, all traditions celebrate during this holy time of the year. The reason for the season is the return of light; Winter Solstice being the longest night of the year. Our ancestors recognized this time as the conception of light. They knew from this day forward, the days would grow longer and the earth would begin to warm once again. From this basic principle religious philosophies were grown.

Winter celebrations are centered on selfless giving and receiving. Exemplified through the gifts we offer our loved ones, charitable donations and warm verbal exchange. The beauty of winter is illuminated by the light generated in the willingness to give freely. Oh wait… except when it comes to wishing people well?

Using the greeting Happy Holidays is intentional, and not a plan to piss people off. “Happy Holidays” honors all faiths and confers holiday cheer to people in every belief system. We all descend from the same light. A generous offering of Seasons Greetings, Good Tidings, Happy Holidays, Glad Yule, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa is nothing more or less than goodwill; a gift from the heart.

Folks, lighten up. Allow the joy to rise from your heart. Generously offer up all good tidings because every human on this planet is wounded in some way. We all need to lift each other up with respect and compassion. You’ll be surprised the gift you receive in return. Wishing you all a wonderful, beautiful, fabulous holiday season.


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