I bid you no harm. Although my greeting may seem akin to an attempt at brain washing to some, my greeting is only intended to say, “Hello” and offer my greetings for you to have a great day…or month, since Christmas celebrations have grown exponentially, especially recently. I know that everyone has had to make the difficult moral decision of whether or not to greet someone at the office or while shopping and not knowing whether to say “Merry Christmas”, which just feels right, or taking a step back from your Yuletide bliss with a less controversial greeting, like “Happy Holidays.” I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to say Merry Christmas, you can do it, in fact, let’s do it together.
I understand, okay, I could potentially, understand the reason that some people are offended by the greeting, and that is exactly what it is, a greeting. But, then I would have to forget all that I know about the greetings that I receive every day and the intent of someone saying “Merry Christmas.”
The overall quality of greetings has diminished to a point that greeting someone is no more than a grunt on most occasions. Think of the last time you said “Hello!” to someone in the office. Generally, the response is a shortened version of “Hi.” Yes, we will shorten a two-letter word because we are too busy, or just don’t care enough to actually say “Hello” to someone in passing. Let’s not pretend that this “H…” will be accompanied with any eye contact, because we all know that when we approach someone and get inside of ten feet our eyes suddenly find something much more interesting to look at, like the floor, our watch, the wall, anything other than the person we are fast approaching. I won’t even discuss the fact, or how, the greeting “How are you doing?” has devolved into a question that doesn’t need to be answered, or at the most, only returned, without answering the question. (Person one: “How are you doing?” Person two (looking at the ground) “How you are you?”) The next time you are greeted with this phrase actually stop and tell the person how you are doing and ask the same of them (while actually listening to their response)…you won’t, nobody will, because it’s just a greeting from one passing person to another, nothing more, nothing less.
The other reason that I feel slightly offended at the offence taken to “Merry Christmas” is because, in addition to it simply being a greeting, it’s not as if I am trying to “turn” any non-believers. I say “Merry Christmas” because it means, to me at least, that I want you to have a great day, and a great season. I don’t anticipate my uttering of Merry Christmas will change the course of anyone’s faith or life, I just want to say, “Hello, and have a nice day.” Personally, if I passed someone in the hall and they greeted me with “Happy Kwanzaa” I’d enjoy the break from “H…” or nothing at all. In this day and age, I’d feel very refreshed at the gesture as well.
I know that many people celebrate many different things from November through December and that Christmas is not celebrated by everyone in every home, but I also know that “Merry Christmas” is not intended to be a negative greeting. It’s also important to remember that, especially if you do not celebrate Christmas, it is just that, a greeting. As the Christmas season has turned into a much more retail holiday (that’s a discussion for a different time) there are many more things keeping you up at night, but your greeting (that probably won’t be heard by the recipient anyway) should not be one of those things. With that said, Happy Holidays….ergh, I mean, Merry Christmas!