Ending the War on Christmas

Halen Doughty

Nowadays I feel like people get upset over the strangest things. It's the holiday season, which for many people means presents, family togetherness, and joy. It should be a time to come together and celebrate, but that isn't always the case.

This time of year comes with plenty of valid reasons to get a little worked up - between planning your family's celebration and stuffing stockings, we have enough to worry about. But instead of simply enjoying whatever the season means to you, some would rather spend their time ranting on Facebook because someone at the grocery store had the nerve to tell them, wait for it, "Happy Holidays."

I laugh out loud every time I hear someone complain about the so-called War on Christmas. I mean really, does someone wishing you well this time of year really constitute a war? I think not, but there are many who disagree.

Personally, I'm thrilled any time someone says something nice to me. It warms my heart when people take a brief moment of their day to offer well wishes. I'm so pleased with it, in fact, that I don't really care what the sentiment is. I would be equally happy if someone told me Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa because I believe it's the thought that counts.

The issue that some have with the phrase "Happy Holidays" is when it comes from media and businesses. I'm not opposed to the idea of it because it is a more inclusive phrase. It may come as a total shock to some, but not everyone in our country celebrates Christmas. (Gasp!) What is the problem with using a phrase that includes everyone's celebration this time of year, if that's what they choose to do?

It's your choice. You can say Merry Christmas if you want. You can say Happy Holidays. You can offer holiday greetings in any way you choose. Honestly, you can say nothing at all, and that's fine too. But can we stop being angry at people, businesses, and the media for saying "Happy Holidays?"

If you want to get technical about it, we can do that too. Technically speaking, this time of year and the "holiday season" includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, and New Year's Eve. As I count them, that's more than one holiday, thus justifying the use of the phrase. It's even applicable to Christmas-celebrating Christians who also observe Thanksgiving and New Year's.

If you're one of those who is upset because your local store stopped using "Merry Christmas" on their holiday promotion signs, I'd ask you to put yourself in the shoes of a Jewish person, for example. If you are so utterly offended that your holiday was not named specifically in marketing materials, how do you think people who do not celebrate Christmas feel when signs do not read "Happy Hanukkah?" As much as it may pain some to hear it, we are not a country made up exclusively of Christians, and I think that's what makes America beautiful. We are a salad bowl of cultures, religions, and ideologies. I think this time of year especially is the time to make sure everyone feels included.

Maybe instead of focusing on reasons to be angry, we can focus on reasons to be happy. Rather than losing your temper over a sign at a store, be glad they offer the things you need to make your holiday a hit. Instead of being upset that someone greeted you with the wrong holiday sentiment, be happy they said anything at all. It's all in how you look at things. Let's dig deep and find our holiday joy and celebrate your reason for the season, no matter what it is.

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