By, Nancy Hammond
Apparently, we are supposed to say “Happy Holidays” for every special occasion. Does anyone know why or when this nonsense started? Is it because people are easily offended like never before? This Christmas, when you are leaving work, try this out with a co-worker. “Hey Betty, Happy Holidays”! Maybe you’ll get a faint reply like “you too” but Betty will know you are not sincere and in return you will get a generic smile. Kind of like a stale emoji. She will sense your disengagement in sharing your beliefs with her and be offended. So, there’s that. Come on, saying “Happy Holidays” feels phony. People will understand that your intentions are not to commit them to a religious activity. They already have a baby Jesus in the manger, or not. But maybe just to be on the safe-side, instead of saying “Merry Christmas”, it could be changed to “Maury Christmas.” And if you say it slowly people may feel sorry for you and invite you over for dinner.
This past October 12th became “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” but it felt awkward to say it, so back we go to echoing “Happy Holidays.” It’s all so befuddling, to say the least. So many of us have been raised with a filtered ideology of American history. Does this sound familiar? Celebrate a long week-end on “Columbus Day”, not so much. As it turns out, Christopher Columbus was a scum-bag.
Saying “Happy Thanksgiving” is also not so good. This may take some time to learn the native tongue to say “Happy Native American Day”. Once again, it’s okay to stick with “Happy Holidays” (until you know what you are talking about.) Is this the beginning of a pattern in our generic holiday salutation? It sure looks like our far and away elders really blew it.
There are remaining Holidays, where you don’t have to watch your step. For example, on Saint Patrick’s Day all is forgiven because, more than likely, you are drunk. The same goes for New Year’s Eve. It’s the end of another year and there’s nothing we can do about that. On Halloween you can dress-up anyway you want and carry toy weapons, no problem there. President’s Day is casual because who could possibly have an issue with Washington or Lincoln? Likewise for Memorial and Veterans Day, but be sure to remember our nation’s finest. These are not just the best sales days to shop.
A greeting at Easter may get a little dicey. But give it a shot anyway, “Happy Easter.” At this point “Happy Holidays” is sounding truly exhausting. Also, declaring Martin Luther King Day for yourself (because you got a day off) may not necessarily be the right way to go.
In all honesty, as the holiday season approaches, does it really matter how we greet people? It seems ludicrous to be afraid to share words of kindness. The irony is, we are all stressed out and clumsy during the holidays. That’s a given, whew. What counts the most is, however you want to express yourself, say it with some gusto and own it. Oh and “Happy Holidays!”