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October 28, 2021

Headlines:

War is Over, if You Want it… Have a Nice Day.

This time of year, it seems that everyone’s thoughts turn to the war…

No, not Afghanistan. No, not Iraq.  Not the War on Terror, or the War on Drugs.

The War on Christmas.

I’ve had to stay mum on the War on Christmas for professional reasons… until now.  I used to own a retail business, and therefore I tried to stay professionally neutral at all times.

Back in the day, when I was a brand new bright-eyed, twenty-something shopkeep, and my first November in retail began to wane, I thought to myself… “What shall I say to people?”  “Have a nice day,” seemed to work well the rest of the year, but it lacked that little extra something to match the seasonal spirit of the shoppers. “Thanks so much!” was another perennial favorite, but it too just seemed a little short.  I thought about saying, “Merry Christmas” but then I thought it seemed a little strange to say to everyone, not knowing if they were Christian or not.  Fortunately, there were Thanksgiving, and Solstice and New Year’s Day right in the neighborhood to help. Those other ones were universal.  So, “Enjoy the Holidays!” it became.  And that sincere wish, from me to my many and diverse customers worked well for many years.

I don’t remember what year it was, but I do remember the incident clearly. “Enjoy the holidays!” said I, as I handed a middle-aged woman her shopping bag of goodies.  She shot me a look like I’d said, “you could stand to lose a few pounds,” and fired back, “Merry Christmas.”  She didn’t say Merry Christmas in a ho-ho Santa Claus way, or in a George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life way.  She said it in a sort of Nellie Olson from Little House on the Prairie way, with squinty eyes and a forced smile, with the subtext “up yours.”  I was more than a little shocked by this apparent hostility, me being a good-hearted cheerful soul most of the time, and especially around this time of year.

I remember telling my husband about the incident because it seemed so completely bizarre. “Oh, I bet I know what it is,” he said. “Bill O’Reilly has some thing he keeps talking about… The War on Christmas.  He thinks that the whole “Happy Holidays” thing is some kind of insidious plot to remove Christianity from society.”  I remember thinking first of all that this was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard, and second that if I really wanted to wage war on Christmas, I wouldn’t say anything at all. How could people in a multi-cultural society actually be offended by Happy Holidays? Even hard core atheists could have a Happy New Year.  “This silliness will never last,” I thought.

Chalking it off as an isolated incident, I moved on.  But each successive December, there were more and more of them – the people that looked insulted when you said “enjoy the holidays.”  I tried to tweak my response to avoid the unpleasantness. If someone had particularly mentioned that they were buying stocking stuffers, or if they were wearing a cross on a necklace I’d say, “Merry Christmas.”  If they said, “Merry Christmas” to me, I’d always return it. If they were buying mints, or tea, or some kind of consumable that might not even be a gift, I’d say, “Thanks so much!”  If they had a normal purchase that seemed like it might be gifty, but I wasn’t sure if it was for a birthday, or Hannukah, or Christmas, I’d stick with my, “Enjoy the holidays.” And on Christmas Eve, unless I had a good reason not to, I’d say, “Merry Christmas.”

It got to be a very nuanced process, but it was a game I was willing to play to keep the peace, peacekeeping person that I am.  And no matter how good my record was at giving the appropriate parting words to customers, there were undoubtedly a few scowls, and sneers that I was unable to head off at the pass, and it bugged me.

Then, one day, it happened.  It was a chilly, dark, snowy December 21st.  It was Solstice Day. For a place where you’ve just spent weeks getting up in the dark, going to work in the dark, getting out of work and going home in the dark, eating Vitamin D like Tic Tacs, and putting special bulbs in your lamps, Solstice (as Joe Biden would say) is a big f***ing deal.  You know on that day, that it only gets better. It may be only a few seconds at first, but more sunlight is more sunlight.  In Alaska, it marks the day that indicates you’ll survive.  You’ll make it to another spring.  And everyone is happy.

“Happy Solstice!” I said to my first customer of the morning, with a big smile and a knowing look that meant the sun was coming back.  His face turned to steel, and he leaned forward over the counter and hissed back in my face, “Merrry Chrisssstmasss” in a tone like you’d use to say, “How daaaaaare yooooou,” and right before you spit.  The look of hatred was unfathomable, until I realized that in his world “Happy Solstice” might mean I’m some kind of tree-hugging, dancing by the campfire, swim naked in the ocean PAGAN. And goodness knows Jesus would have no patience for that sort of thing, and had he known that someone who might be one of THEM would actually wish an unidentified Christian in Alaska Happy Solstice on December 21, I’m sure there would have been a whole extra book in the Bible, or Sermon on the Mount The Sequel talking about how you ought to be nasty to them and hiss in their faces first thing in the morning before they’ve even finished their coffee.  In the name of our Lord.

And that was it for me.  After a decade of fighting the War on Christmas, I admit, I quit fighting.  I certainly wasn’t going to wish every single person Merry Christmas for a month if I didn’t even know what religion they were, but my instinct to spread warm, love-filled, but non-denominational cheer to all my fellow humans had finally died the death of a thousand turned cheeks.

And if the Solstice hater is out there somewhere reading this, he’ll be happy to know that everyone after him for the next two years got, “Thanks so much” or “Have a Nice Day.”  Not that it was all his fault, but it was a cumulative thing.

So, for those that see sparkly decorations that aren’t Nativity scenes, or candy canes instead of flying reindeer, or snowflakes instead of Santa, it could be worse.  There could be nothing because Holiday loving people of all stripes get tired of having sincere good intentions met with contempt from people who are supposed to espouse a religion whose message is “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men.”

Now that I think about it, and now that I’m on the other side of the counter for the shopping season, maybe I’ll make it a point to say at the check-out “Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men.”  My fellow shoppers will have me pegged as an anti-military bleeding heart socialist liberal who doesn’t support the troops for sure, but I bet I make the clerk smile.

************************

And that would have been a good place to end my rant.  Actually I was going to post this particular rant on Black Friday, the beginning of the Holiday shopping season.  But, as fate would have it, there’s been a development that made me rant a little early this year.

Once again, Alaska is at the forefront of one of those things that just makes you bang your head.  The unlikely little hamlet of Seward, Alaska, is ground zero for the War on Christmas this year.  And the shot heard round the evangelical universe comes in the form of a movie called, “Christmas with a Capital C.”  Yes, it’s the movie that “puts the Christ back in Christmas” and focuses on one tiny Alaskan town’s battle with the First Amendment and atheists.  When some God-hating jerk comes back to town, and wants to terrorize little children dressed as angels, and change the Merry Christmas sign to say… (squint up your eyes and think “How Dare You”) ….. “Season’sss Greeeeetinggggs,” well, war is on, Bucko, and you’re just lucky that Jesus isn’t coming back with a multitude of the heavenly host to use a Second Amendment remedy. In “Trapper Falls”, Alaska, they want the right to celebrate their capitalism, and give each other tons of useless crap made by children in communist China with no environmental standards, while bathing in the rosy glow of an illuminated Baby Jesus camped out on the steps of City Hall, so don’t you dare come in here with your big city atheist ways and try to spoil the true meaning of Christmas.

To add a little irony, the producer of the film is Dave Cuddy, known to Alaskans as a member of the affluent Cuddy family who made his money in… wait for it… banking. Yes, an Anchorage money lender, and producer of several other movies including Circle of Pain (people beathing the tar out of each other), The Lights (college kids meet psychopath), and Beat Down (street fighter flees city when brother is murdered) is the harbinger who will “put the Christ back in Christmas.”

And I would be remiss if I did not mention that former Democratic Lt. Governor candidate Diane Benson plays the federal judge. Sigh…

All I have to say to Mr. Cuddy and all those involved in this latest gift from Alaska to the rest of the nation is…. “Have a nice day.”

Comments

comments

Comments
146 Responses to “War is Over, if You Want it… Have a Nice Day.”
  1. susanthe says:

    It’s funny how ugly and downright rude these people who call themselves Christians can become.

  2. n djinn says:

    I worked at a retail store too, I went my entire stint of years without saying Merry Christmass once, and that was a challenge mind you.

    I thought it was common knowledge that the gift craziness started in the 30’s in NYC as a form of retail theory from the depression pushed by the big stores; NM, Bloomingdales, Macy’s and so on.

  3. the problem child says:

    I am a happy Solstice celebrating atheist in a blended family of Catholics, Buddhists, Anglicans, Muslims, Shintoists, Methodists, and Presbyterians. I have no problem with Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Merry Merry, Jolly Jolly, Joy to the World, Seasons Greetings, Happy Kwanza, Blessed Be, Happy Chanukah, Slainte, or May All of you be Loved and Loving.

    I do, however, have a major aesthetic problem with secular X-mas music. It is so glib and joyless. Give me a Hallelujah or a Joy to the World any day!

  4. Marnie says:

    Guess I’m still censored. Merry Christmas.

  5. Marnie says:

    But the very things that people who claim that “they” are killing my Christ’s Mass want continued, like piped in carols and seasonal secular songs, gaudy decorations, expensive gifts, over eating and drinking and being forced to say “Merry Celebration of Mass,” (which of course makes no sense at all) are the very things that are talking Christ and Christ’s Mass out of what they supposedly see as a religious celebration of the birth of their savior, but which they insist has to be continued as a orgy of over secular over indulgence and spending.

    As a member of church choirs and community choruses and a lover of classical music I miss the piped in music and hearing/singing the truncated Messiah every other day and I do resent that they are not part of the season like they used to be but they are for the most part not experienced by anyone as part of the religious basis of the holiday, except when they are being sung and heard in church in a religious service, which is where Christ’s Mass or Baby Jesus’s birth is most properly and fully experienced,

  6. Ninufar says:

    Thanks for your post… O’Reilly’s original sortie was so confusing to me! I have very sincere, committed Christians in my family, incl a minister. He will ONLY play Advent music until Dec 24th, and they ALWAYS keep their decorations up for the full 12 days. So he’s not the hissing type — he really tries to practice some o’ that Sermon on the Mount stuff you mention — but he might gently reply “have a holy Advent” to someone wishing him Merry Christmas in, like, November.

    When I have gone to Christmas services with relatives, I have consistently heard messages like, “Christmas isn’t about sales” and so forth… Where does O’Reilly get these ideas, and why does he think it’s good to inspire hate? Didn’t Jesus hang out with outcasts and stuff anyway?

  7. Nick Danger says:

    How about Merry Holiday Taken Over by the Catholic Church Nowhere Near the Time Jesus Was Born? How many of these Xmas fanatics know that celebrating Xmas in early colonial America was ILLEGAL? They saw it as a pagan holiday taken over by the Pope–and they were right.

  8. MonaLisa (inCT) says:

    Who would Jesus hiss “Merrry Chrisssstmasss” at?

  9. Joad says:

    I’m an Atheist…and I love the holiday season. Yes, I said season, it kicks off with Halloween. I decorate the yard, the office, and the cat if she isn’t moving fast enough. I love the costumes and the chocolate, and the opportunity to play pretend. Then we get Day of the Dead where I get to eat sugar skulls, then there is Veteran’s Day where I can talk with kids about sacrifice and civics and treat myself to a decadent hot chocolate, then of course there is Thanksgiving, I have a pie fetish and I love to eat and drink with family and friends. Hmmm…maybe there is a pattern…Christmas brings egg nog, looking at lights, time off from work, and memories of relatives and years long gone, New Year’s Eve is a time of looking forward and being excited for what next year will bring. It’s dark and it’s cold and the holiday season gets me through it. I will take good wishes from any denomination and if folks want to pray for me, I’m good with that too. Just don’t touch my pumpkin chiffon pie, that could negatively impact my outlook…

  10. scout says:

    I’ve resorted to using Hawaiian: Hau’oli Keikis and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!

    Hau’oli Keikis: pronounced: how-oh-lee kay-keys: translates to happy children/little ones
    Hau’oli Makahiki Hou = Happy New Year

    I often receive a smiling “hiki-hiki-tiki” in response. 

    mele mele hau’oli, mudpups

    • bubbles says:

      bless you my sweet. i need to go find my tongue. i think it fell out somewhere around Hau oli Makahiki. i can do the Hiki hiki just fine.

      • scout says:

        Bubbles, to you and mudpups one and all, our bruddah, Israel Kamakawiwo’oli

        Aloha Nui Loa,

        “and the dreams that you dare to…..”

  11. bubbles says:

    ok ok going back to bed….hanging head and crying pitifully.

  12. Moose Pucky says:

    Just put up my “winter” lights. They’ll be up until spring light returns.

    Seasons Greetings all. Peace on Earth. Have a wonderful day!

  13. Dagian says:

    Personally, I’m all about Thanksgiving and New Year’s. They’re holidays. I want them to be happy.

    What’s the harm in wishing anyone and EVERYONE happy holidays?

    Evidently some Christians have overlooked two of the deadly sins: greed and gluttony. Holidays are for everyone…

  14. SendLawyersGunsAndMoney says:

    Aw crap. Now I need a shower to wash off all that “Christians started this country” stink. Thanks a lot.

  15. LisaB says:

    Back in the day, the Beatles used to release Christmas records that feature the Lads bantering and wishing their fans a Merry Christmas. On one, you can hear John say “Happy Chrimble and A Gear Year.”

    I don’t work retail, but I’ve never gotten a “look” with that one. As for what anyone says to me, who cares? The sentiment is positive. They’re being kind. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

    • LibertyLover says:

      As for what anyone says to me, who cares? The sentiment is positive. They’re being kind. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

      Absolutely.

      And I believe that it would be taken as such if other people elsewhere weren’t stirring up the pot and making some impressionable people think there was something wrong with a sentiment of “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

  16. barbara says:

    you write so well i feel as if i’ve been through the dark leading up to the solstice. happy holidays AKM!

  17. Pinwheel says:

    I have trained family and friends not to expect anything from me, especially thru the “holidays”. One of the many reasons I like living in Alaska is that, with the darkness, I can hibernate. I can choose to venture into this world or not. And I have chosen for years to not venture into the ‘Holiday” thing. I have no family within 6000 miles. I have a few friends, but not close enough that I have to preform for holidays. After Txgving I don’t expect anything until epifany, (because that is when everyonet is sure that the sun is returning.

  18. twain12 says:

    “In “Trapper Falls”, Alaska, they want the right to celebrate their capitalism, and give each other tons of useless crap made by children in communist China with no environmental standards, while bathing in the rosy glow of an illuminated Baby Jesus camped out on the steps of City Hall, so don’t you dare come in here with your big city atheist ways and try to spoil the true meaning of Christmas.”
    That about says it all…….people don’t think anything trough.
    I worked retail my whole life and thankfully in our neck of the woods “have a good holiday” for the most part is accepted.

  19. fishingmamma says:

    I am a Christian. I am emotionally involved in Christmas. I do not know much about Ramadan, or Seder, or Hannakuh. (forgive my spelling)

    My holiday is Christmas. I do not expect you to celebrate with me. I do not expect you to understand the religious history of my holiday. I do not expect you to come to my house with a present or a santa card. I do not do these things for you, because I do not understand or observe your holidays. I am a Christian, and do not expect that I will have to understand or observe your holidays any more than I expect you to understand or observe mine. Let me repeat this again.

    We live in a country that requires religious tolerance.

    In this holiest of seasons for most all of us, let’s remember that we are all peope of faith and people of tolerance. That we are all here in this land to learn from each other.

    Let us remember that the God that we all serve is is the God that we all serve together. Whatever our path.

  20. AKjah says:

    Being brought up in the Irish catholic faith. How could i hold a connection to such dogma. christmas is to religion as peanut butter is to pickles. Corporate greed rules the faithful. The faithful are idiots. Not even Thanksgiving and we are bitchin about this. Jumpin baldheaded Jesus why are we bringing this up now. You brilliant folks have to point out that ,we,them,someone are after you for believing in something . I do believe in something ,but i don’t care what you think. In case you have not noticed your religion is not the only religion on Earth. Should you start preaching love for all i may listen till then you are on your own. All the great religions of the world have but one goal. You have nothing.But you can find something, Read Lamb, by Christopher Moore. The “gospel according to Biff” Between now and christmas it would do you good.

  21. CityKid says:

    For those of you that claim you are on “the left” here’s some required reading:

    Robert J. Lifton, “THE NAZI DOCTORS: MEDICAL KILLING AND THE PSYCHOLOGY OF GENOCIDE.”

    …after all the Nazi doctors did everything they could for the prisoners short of challenging their masters.

  22. chloe says:

    Merry Whatever to All, and to All a Goodnight!

  23. ang says:

    Hey folks,

    This is off topic. But I thought you would like to know that The Dropzone has dropped that racist poster
    right out of their window. You can see a pic of the emptiness on my blog. Lifeinspenard.wordpress.com

  24. WhichTruth says:

    I say “Happy Holidays,” because there are so many holidays from Thanksgiving Day to Chinese New year. I like holidays, and it should be a time of year to let go, be happy, and share the happiness. I think it is human nature to celebrate around the winter solstice, and the return of the sun.

  25. stef g. says:

    Have a gay yule!

  26. Jeanne,

    From your description, Christmas With a Capital “C” sounds like it will disappoint. Par for Cuddy’s course.

    I’m curious as to why you wrote “And I would be remiss if I did not mention that former Democratic Lt. Governor candidate Diane Benson plays the federal judge. Sigh…”

    Have you seen the part of the movie played by the judge? Have you spoken with Ms Benson about her role in this movie?

    What do you know about Ms Benson’s role in the history of filmmaking and dramatic art in Alaska?

    Do you remember her actions during Steven Seagal’s filming of “On Deadly Ground” that led to far higher pay for the Alaska Natives hired to perform?

    Do you remember her play criticizing the leadership of Alaska Native Corporations that was then banned by the people who commissioned it?

    Did you write at this blog about Ms Benson’s role in the film “For the Rights of All – Ending Jim Crow in Alaska”?

    What significant post have you put up at this place about Benson’s role in Alaska civil rights and women’s rights? There may have been one, but I seem to have missed it.

    Is my snark meter unplugged, or was your comment about Diane a diss of some vague and unqualified sort?

    Phil – No. No. No. No. No. Yes.
    And your snark meter blew a gasket. I’m not writing a post about Ms. Benson’s career or Native rights. I simply sighed because someone that I like is involved in the project called Christmas with a Capital C. You may feel free to write whatever you like on your blog. I would hope that if Ms. Benson found my sigh to be offensive, she would contact me herself. Take a deep breath and Happy Holidays. AKM

    • And Happy Holidays to you, too, but it seems like you may be more in need of a Festivus moment.

      To reiterate and rephrase, one of the very few tagged mentions at The Mudflats of a person very active in Alaska civil rights, women’s rights, veterans rights and in the empowerment of Alaska Natives in our budding film industry seems to have been brought up at the end of this long post in a way that gives no context whatsoever. Although many readers of Mudflats are well informed, some are not. My take is that your comment about Diane Benson was a drive-by shooting, and was unfair.

      For the uninformed: This was not meant as a drive-by shooting of Diane Benson. AKM

      • Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

        Phil, many of us read your blog, too – where I have found excellent coverage of Diane Benson and others. I hope I’m not the minority – but I view blogs as personal, not objective. I don’t expect each blogger to feel the same way about each issue, person, policy, etc. I don’t take the information given (or not given) at one blog as the end all, be all.

        That’s why I rely on bloggers for most of my news! I don’t have to worry that some big corporate CEO (with a board behind them, and shareholders behind them) is in the background, directing editors and journalists to omit or post certain things / ideas on supposedly neutral media. I know blogging isn’t neutral media and that’s why I like blogs. And since I know I can’t really have neutral media in this day and age, I prefer the personality and context given in reading blogs.

        I love you all! Quit it, right now you two.

        • bubbles says:

          AKM is a CLASS ACT!!!! where i come from there is no greater compliment.
          i wish her joy of the season.
          may she get all she desires this Christmas especially the “Cheezy Poofs” she loves so much.

        • Blooper says:

          I don’t think AKM meant any sort of offense by her *sigh* remark. She was disappointed that Diane was in this stinker of a film and expressed her disappointment. I too did a Scooby Doo ‘uugh? when I read that Diane Benson is in this film. I think this is much ado about nothing, personally.

      • Legal Eagle says:

        Phil, I think that you have some serious jealousy issues. I think that you should be proud of Jeanne & Shannyn instead of constantly making (lame) attempts at tearing them down.

        • Legal Eagle,

          1). Since I first became aware of Shannyn Moore, nobody in the Alaska blogging community has written or fought more than me to promote knowledge of Ms. Moore’s unique talent. Please cite contextual examples of “constantly making (lame) attempts at tearing [Moore] down.”

          2). I first met Jeanne Devon when she came up to me at an event, introduced herself, and asked that I keep her identity secret. I did that, dozens of time through 2008 and 2009, including one notable incident involving Rep. Mike Doogan. I’ve honored her at several public events and have praised this blog when I felt it deserved accolades. Please cite contextual examples of “constantly making (lame) attempts at tearing [Devon] down.”

          3). I work full time, and have enough other stuff on my plate to keep me quite busy, thank you. Your claim that I “have some serious jealousy issues” needs to be weighed against the scores of times I have praised both Devon and Moore, at my blog, at pubic events, at other gatherings and in correspondence. If you really think I have “some jealousy issues” with Moore or Devon, please be good enough to explain that in your usual detailed manner, Legal Eagle.

          4). What in my previous writings, in my comments here or in anything else I have done on behalf of Jeanne (or Shannyn) indicates that I am not “proud” of the achievements of these two Alaska women?

          You are welcome to respond in the comments here, or in a post at Progressive Alaska.

    • GoGo Girl says:

      Phil ‘hearts’ Ms Benson.

  27. jwa says:

    Well, Happy Hannu-rama-kwanz-mas to all the Mudpups out there. And good night Mrs Kalabash, whereever you are.

  28. Gimme-a-break, Sarah says:

    The birth of Christ wasn’t even celebrated by the early church till the 4th century. And when they decided to celebrate it they affixed it to the Roman celebrations of Saturnalia and the feast of Sol Invictus — the Unconquered Sun — which had been adopted from Persia and celebrated the Dec 25th birthday of the god Mithras.

    And as someone else has already pointed out, celebrating Christmas or even wishing anyone Merry Christmas was against the law during the Puritan era.

    Of course, these people never the truth of history bother them, so why now?

    My sympathies, AKM… that must have been very difficult to cope with.

    I’ve always sent holiday cards with religious sentiments appropriate to the recipient. From now on I think I’ll just wish everyone (except my atheist friends) “Happy HolyDays,” and hope for the best.

  29. beth says:

    Slightly OT, but exchanged-pleasantry related…

    Instead of (or in response to) “Have a good day” and/or “Thank You,” try: “Have fun this evening” [today, this afternoon, tonight, this weekend — as appropriate]. Guarandangteed you’ll get from the recipient a long moment’s pause while their mind processes what they’ve just heard and a then good chuckle when what they’ve just heard has sunk in…and you’ll leave them with a smile.

    I’ve been using the [unexpected] phrase constantly for a couple of years now and, because of the response to it, get myself a large dose of happy each time I do. ’tis quite remarkable, the positive reaction it gets — each and every time. It’s a hoot! Trust me. Try it and you’ll see what I mean. beth.

  30. mag the mick says:

    I’m pretty much an atheist, though I do dig Winter Solstice. In my years in social work, I constantly met and dealt with people of faith who were the backbone of what I call the caring community – foster parents, child advocates, staff of children’s homes, etc. Most of them were doing their work because of their sincere belief and commitment. Early on, when they said to me “God bless you” or told me they would pray for me, I’d feel a little funny and was sometimes turned off until I realized they were giving me a greeting or salutation straight from their heart. I finally learned to accept it in the manner given, and was able to say back “Bless you” or “Have a blessed holiday”. I respect faith and belief, though I don’t share it. To me, “religion” is how we take care of each other and our world. Anyone who cares for the poor or the forgotten or the unwanted is deserving of blessings, no matter what the source.

    • CGinWI says:

      Amen to that! One of my favorite poems

      “Abou Ben Adhem”

      Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
      Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
      And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
      Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
      An Angel writing in a book of gold:

      Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
      And to the Presence in the room he said,
      “What writest thou?” The Vision raised its head,
      And with a look made of all sweet accord
      Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”

      “And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
      Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,
      But cheerily still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
      Write me as one who loves his fellow men.”

      The Angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
      It came again with a great wakening light,
      And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
      And, lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest!
      — By Leigh Hunt.

    • bubbles says:

      Mag the Mick!! thank you. well said.

  31. LibertyLover says:

    Being one of those procrastinator types, I never (ok, rarely) get around to mailing my Christmas cards before Christmas. I have a big family and between shopping and decorations and wrapping and parties, etc. I just run out of time. So I send out Holiday cards and if I am lucky they get there before New Year’s Day. I don’t buy cards that say Christmas on them because what is the point? I’m usually too late for Christmas.

    The cards I choose usually support some sort of charity and I like the ones that wish Peace on Earth.
    I think that is a sentiment that we can all get behind.

  32. North of the Range says:

    Also, in some Christian traditions, the Christmas season is marked by several holidays, not to mention the entire season of Advent. The twelve days of Christmas was traditionally the time from Christmas to Epiphany (Feast of the Three Kings) in early January. So in my view the anti-holidays people are just that: anti holidays. Happy Grinch day to those folks.

    However, I think we do collectively miss the point of all these holidays when the focus is solely on consumer spending. And it is soooo hard to shut all that out. When you’re shopping in a major retail store at the end of October, and you have to listen to Silver Bells til your ears bleed? Argggggh.

  33. North of the Range says:

    Wishing someone Merry Christmas was against the law in Puritan Massachusetts. It was not suitably Christian, according to their views.

    From the Records of the General Court, Massachusetts Bay Colony, May 11, 1659: “[I]t is therefore ordered by this court and the authority thereof that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, upon any such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offence five shilling as a fine to the county.” Accessed from http://massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=369

  34. Grape says:

    I always thought that the Happy Holidays came about so stores could keep up their signs until New Years. The fact that people get offended when not seeing or hearing Merry Christmas makes me think that they are insecure in their religion. Why is it important for a shop keeper to acknowledge that you are a Christian? (Man up!)

  35. TheRubberRoomHotel says:

    OK my take.
    1) In the Village that I lived in for many years Solstice is a celebration. Where I lived in the interior we gained or lost light at an average of 6 to seven minutes a day. Winter Solstice is celebrated as the ultimate act of faith “Light is Returning” to the long night as the earth circles the sun and another season passes. Happy Solstice is heard for 2 days!

    I find it so silly to be offended when someone wishes seasons greetings or happy holidays.
    Why is it so hard to understand that people are diverse, we celebrate or not, many different ways.
    My husband and I usually make our holiday cards at home, he is a very talented artist and does great watercolors, that we copy on card stock, our printed message is usually generic, but written message to the individual is personal to that recipients faith and how I know they will spend the holidays or our relationship.

    For many years I worked as health aide in my community and I can tell you many people suffer the most severe depression during the holiday season and the constant barrage of holiday cheer and yes religious sentiment can make it that much worse for some of those people. Some people really hate the holidays or they have very sad memories. I try to remember these people more than others who I know will be celebrating their holiday with joy.

    I think my new greeting this year will be Peace!

  36. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    People are stupid, that’s all I can say. These days, courtesy is especially valued by me no matter what form it takes. This is a grouchy, unhappy lot and most aren’t very bright, either. They’d rather poke their eyes out with a stick than be forgiving / understanding / generally cheerful / empathetic.

    Change is the real problem here. I just got back from visiting my elderly dad, who I love dearly, but wow if I have to hear how the sixties changed the world for the worse one more time I think I’ll faint. He and my stepmother blame everything on the sixties, whereas my mother of the same generation says her soul would not have survived if it weren’t for the sixties. And, yes – mother embraces change in the world, and my other folks don’t. They hate it.

    Religion doesn’t handle change well, either. Double whammy – hence the made up War on Christmas. If I live the lesson shown to me by both parents, it will be to accept change even when I can’t embrace it. I’ll get back to you on that one to see how I’m doing.

    AKM – with your smile which lights up your eyes and your whole face I can’t imagine anyone hissing at you. Whoever that was deserved to trip face first into dog poo which was somehow not frozen when everything else was. Magic dog poo = instant karma.

    • Pinwheel says:

      Martha: Change is the most scary thing for most people, this is my belief. Me, if I cant take a vacation I rearrange my furniture. I am having my own difficulty with change. But ultimatly I know I can handle it, because I am an adventuress. Let’s see what happens.

  37. AKPetMom says:

    The movement of the Earth through space combined with our 23 degree axial tilt that creates the Winter Solstice trumps the other religions that “melded” their holiday onto the perfectly organic one that is Winter Solstice. Same with Spring Equinox and easter. Also, it’s just a Northern Hemisphere phenomenon as to our Winter Solstice occurring in December. Our antipodean friends likely celebrate the long days of December yet grow a bit sad when their Summer Solstice hits on 12/21.

    This has always been one factor that has made me question the 3 major religions, islam, chrisitanity and judaism, which were created from the tales of people living in the Northern Hemisphere, in a time where the populace did not fully understand the mechanics or the scope of the Earth. The birth and resurrection tales of christianity mirror the seasons north of the Equator and do not factor in the Southern Hemisphere at all.

    It’s sad that things like this become such an issue. I go with the Happy Holidays thing myself and if it creates a problem I am happy to explain my beliefs to the person that would dare question me.

    • Pinwheel says:

      This a verifable observdation. I join with you AKPetMom. The necessity of the Sun dictated many more life affirming experiences for people (in the northern hemisphere?) (Not sure that I go along with the experience only in the north). I’m with them. And the Sun is my ruling planet.

  38. Baker's Dozen says:

    I am a Christian, and I work part time as a manager of a small Christian shop–mostly books and music. So I don’t have all the problems with the Merry Christmas thing. I mean, even if you’re Jewish or a naked pagan shopping for a Christian friend and you end up in my shop, I guess you’d expect to get a Merry Christmas (and a loin cloth, if you’re that pagan!) The funny thing is, you most likely won’t get it from me! No, you’ll probably hear something along the lines of “Peace on earth.” from me, or even “Have a blessed day.” I might say “Merry Christmas” to my friends.

    While we carry some products particularly around Christmas, all our stuff is appropriate year ’round. You won’t find any Santas or even angels or creches hanging around the store. But we do have a lot of stuff about the meaning of Christmas.

    BTW. What’s the “christians’ ” beef with Happy Holidays, anyway? Holiday is a compound word, made up of the two words, “holy,” and “day.” Do they have a problem with holy days? I don’t. 🙂

    • g says:

      “Do they have a problem with holy days?”

      Great question!

    • bubbles says:

      i don’t think they have put those two words together quite yet.
      most are not very literate nor do they have the ability to think rationally. their religious beliefs make it impossible for them to marry faith and logic. therefore they have to choose to be willfully ignorant.

  39. beth says:

    “Merry Ho Ho Ho” is what folks get from me. They can take it in whatever way they want to — as an ‘agreement’ with their particular mode of holiday celebration…or not. I’ve never, yet, had a negative reaction to it. People take it as they will — either in ‘support’ of their constant battle against atheists doing away with Christmas and Jesus, OR in ‘sarcasm’ of said.

    What I find particularily [how should I put it?] q.u.a.i.n.t, is that those who yell loudest about “The War on Christmas”, are usually those who know about as much about the hijacking/amalgamation of the Solstice celebrations into the nativity narative as they know about the religious ‘preferences’ of our Founding Fathers and Mothers and how those views of theirs on religion manifested in our Consitution and other foundational documents. Zilch. Their version, the version they foist off on others, is historically accurate and the gospel…or so they would have you believe. Balderdash. And poppycock also too.

    It’s amazing to me that BillO, Graham, Mega-Church Hypocrites [you know the ones I mean], et al, can whip up such frenzy against well-meaning people who are just trying to be polite, by harping on this manufactured ‘war’. It’s good business for them, but lousy for the gullible they harp to and for the poor souls who are honestly being sincere in wishing people the best for the season…whatever that ‘season’ might entail. beth.

  40. GA Peach says:

    Which is why my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.

    If I want to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” to some person, and that person takes offense, it’s not my problem. I refuse to suck up their misery while I enjoy my good cheer (regardless of the season).

    “The single most important decision any of us will ever make is whether or not to believe the universe is friendly.” Albert Einstein

    • seattlefan says:

      Einstein’s quote is so true and is applicable to all parts of our lives, including politics.

      Thanksgiving is also my favorite holiday. It is all about family, love, togetherness and really good food. No stress (except for making the gravy!) and no hype. Just good times with loved ones.

      • GA Peach says:

        My Momma’s 88 and she still cooks the turkey, dressing, giblet gravy,mustard greens and makes the ambrosia and pecan pies. The rest of us bring appetizers, sides, desserts, wine and beer. My job – blue crab dip and brussel sprouts. This is our holiday and we celebrate it with gusto. Cheers, y’all.

      • leenie17 says:

        Stuffing and pumpkin pie….mmmmmmmmmmmm!!! What could be better?

    • ToesInTheSand says:

      Well said.

    • barbara says:

      that”s a great quote. i believe the universe is friendly. people, not always so much.

  41. Sarafina says:

    Peace on Earth, Good Will to All!

  42. Tacy says:

    Loved this post. I own a retail shop, too. I’m thinking of just saying “Happy Festivus” to everyone and let them figure it out.

    Airing of greivances, anyone?

    • bubbles says:

      i love Festivus For The Rest Of Us. my kind of holiday.

      seriously. i will not make common cause with any persons with O’Reilly’s Mindset. i don’t wish them well. i don’t wish them and/or theirs a happy or merry anything except to wish that they stay the hell away from me and mine. what has that young rabbi from the Galilee, who dreamed a dream of love and who paid for that dream with a horrible death on Calvary, what does he have to do with the likes of these people? they have already been judged by their actions. they have no reason to celebrate anything at all. not now. not ever….oh. well maybe Halloween. they are dead men and women walking. Christ called them ‘whited sepulchers’.

  43. Zyxomma says:

    Starting November 11th (I know, I’m posting this late) people all over the Earth are meditating/praying/affirming for eleven minutes starting at 11:11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time for health and peace all over the planet. Though I’m posting this too late for you to join in for the 11th, we’re continuing the ritual for eleven days. Read all about it at:

    http://www.NewRealityTransmission.com and join in the fun.

    Health and peace.

  44. CGinWI says:

    Yeah, keep Christ in Christmas, because the one thing Jesus showed up on earth for was to make sure people would spend insane amounts of money in his name and run their credit up to their eyeballs. The only reason he threw those money changers out of the Temple was to make sure they would get their asses (camels, whatever) down to the mall before the season was over.

    • CO almost native says:

      I agree! Christmas is about following in Christ’s footsteps, feeding the poor, helping those in need, supporting ones who suffer from sickness or other ills, being grateful for personal blessings…not adding to Walmart’s profits.

      Peace and Health to all-

  45. GoI3ig says:

    As Eddie Murphy used to say in his rendition of Gumby, “Merry Christmas, Dammit!”

  46. amy says:

    Here’s hoping this holiday season is much more pleasant for you AKM! I also worked retail but was fortunate to get out before the crazy began.

    Last year I received a grand total of 18 emails about bringing the Christ back into Christmas, how CHRISTmas was being taken away, urging everyone to insist on Merry Christmas, etc. from a relative. I just deleted them quietly.

    Two days before Christmas I received a card from her. It said Happy Holidays. No kidding. She spent weeks hitting forward on those obnoxious emails and couldn’t even take the time to follow her own pathetic rhetoric. There was not one mention of Christmas or Christ or even a hallelujah.
    Just. Happy. Holidays.

    I am struggling and praying that I can have the grace to quietly delete them again this year without pointing this out to her.

    I’m going with Peace on Earth this year. we could sure use it. Excellent post. Thank you.

  47. seattlefan says:

    I’m some kind of tree-hugging, dancing by the campfire, swim naked in the ocean atheist and no matter what greeting I’m given I always love and appreciate the sentiment, smile and return a pleasant and sincere wish for that person. If I weren’t such a positive person, I would just say “bah humbug” but that is just not me. So, like boodog said above Merry ChristmaHannaKwanza, with the added Have a wonderful day, Happy Solstice, and Peace on Earth, Good will and health to ALL. That should pretty much cover it. If nothing else, a smile works too. 🙂

    Great post AKM.

  48. AKjah says:

    I always just say merry happy.

  49. Jenn says:

    I’m some kind of tree-hugging, dancing by the campfire, swim naked in the ocean X-ian.

  50. psminidivapa says:

    First, AKM, you are a brilliant writer! I hope that, since your shopkeeper days are behind you, you do much, much more writing. You truly have a gift. I LOVE reading some of your posts aloud, as you are so good at describing nuance that they make for fabulous dramatic reading.
    Having said that, you have also given me some excellent ideas for October – January greetings: Happy Solstice is great, but I really LOVE “Peace on Earth, Good Will To Men” – it keeps everyone guessing and nobody (not even a ‘bagger) can complain about it!

  51. Lacy Lady says:

    I remember a story of a little boy who was Jewish, and admired his friends Christmas tree and wanted one sooooo bad. Then the grandfather went out and bought a tree and the little boy thanked him for the Christmas tree. But the grandfather said that it was not a Christmas tree–but that it was a Hanukkah bush.

    • Lower48 says:

      I just love this one: “Jesus is the reason for the season”.

      Yeah – but Jesus was born a JEW…

      • Kat says:

        And died a Jew. I can’t believe he’d celebrate the Xtians taking his name in vain by being so mean and hateful against their fellow man.

    • Indigo Dancer says:

      Did Jesus celebrate Hanukkah?

    • LA Brian says:

      One of my Jewish friends told me that she and her brother wanted a tree very badly as children so they decorated one of the bushes in their yard. Needless to say their mother was incredibly displeased that they would do such a thing “for all the neighbors to see.”

      • thatcrowwoman says:

        No dead trees or Chanukah bushes in our house, though I do make peanut butter and bird seed pinecones and hang outside for my feathered friends.

        Once had a shirt that said “Save a tree. Celebrate Chanukah!”

        Then again, LittleBird’s godfather was named after Saint Nicholas, and he has an amazing tree every year, covered with all kinds of beautiful ornaments handed down in his family. Oh, yeah, pass the cookies and eggnog and Joy to the World!

  52. boodog says:

    Merry ChristmaHanaKwanza to all!

  53. Lower48 says:

    Oh, the Holidays…. … that time of year when we haven’t seen hubby / daddy for the last 6 weeks anyway. The special greeting cards we have to buy for various employees to celebrate the season, without offending anyone’s overly-sensitive sensibilities. When saying, as Jeanne has – and has lived to tell the tale – anything but “Merry Christmas!” and having your head handed back to you, seeming served on John the Baptists’ previously vacated platter.

    We too are a retail family. And retail SUX big time at Christmas. I wear a “bah – HUMBUG” pin on my jacket everywhere I go. It pictures Santa getting nailed in the back of his head with a fairly large snowball at a rate of speed normally thought of for a pitcher sending a screaming fastball into home plate. I know exactly how Jeanne feels – damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. There is no winning at this time of year – only degrees of loosing.

    And isn’t it interesting that the devote Christians are the ones doing the ripping of heads? Bah – HUMBUG.

  54. Moon says:

    As one of those “tree-hugging, dancing by the campfire, swim naked in the ocean Pagan’s” married to a Jew (who does not wear a Star of David), I thank you for your words. I have friends of many faiths and no faiths. I try to wish them a personal greeting depending on their faith. Christians are the only group who seem to get upset over the “Happy Holidays”. I have yet to have one of my Christian friends ever wish me a Happy Solstice or my husband a Happy Channuka.

    • Moose Pucky says:

      ((Moon))

      When I wandered into Alaska over fifteen years ago, I suddenly began to notice that there were seasons and that there was a moon. Two of my nieces were born on summer solstice–the same day summer solstice!! How cool is that?

      Religious holidays reflect culture. Seasonal celebrations reflect nature.

      Moose Pucky is a natural being also. If that is what it means to be Pagan. Well, how cool is that?

  55. LoveMyDogs says:

    Having one’s own business always puts one in between a rock and a hard place. Particularly if one’s business is retail or service. It gives the word “compromise” a whole new meaning.

    One of the choices is to stay completely neutral and splash on that poker faced smile and just try to keep one’s customers happy.

    My business is service oriented and most of my customers are quite conservative. How does one even sort out the JWs from the Catholics, from the SDAs from the Mormons, etc. I just put up my lights and put out my ice candles and offer cookies and eggnog or tea at this time of year. Often my customers bring gifts for my dogs (which is awesome). And since we are ALL ABOUT dogs here, their dogs get cards. Dogs don’t care what the card says as long as there is a treat attached.

    I choose to worship whatever I believe in in my own way and do not feel it necessary to share it with anyone. Christian holidays are so closely tied to old pagan holidays that I am not offended easily by well wishers of all faiths.

    I do, however, despise the shopping aspect of Christmas as it stresses everyone out and destroys the good feelings. And I hate having to address it in the work place. It’s just another PC thing that one feels pressured into doing. I always rejected the secret santa thing. Had to make appearances at parties most of the time though.

    I wish all of the religious stuff could just be kept in the home and in places of worship and men/women could just have goodwill towards one another every day of the year.

    • leenie17 says:

      My big bugaboo has always been office holiday parties. They’re usually artificially jolly and happen during the busiest time of the year when the LAST thing you want to do is get dressed up and be cheerful with people you spend every day with when you have a phone-book sized list of things you need to do!

      A couple of years ago, the staff of my school decided that we had way too much to do to have a holiday party in December. It was also impossible to find a restaurant that had a convenient date available. Instead, we scheduled a nice dinner for the third week of January. It was a great alternative and more people attended than had ever gone to the before-Christmas parties. All the holiday stress was over and everyone was much more relaxed and able to enjoy themselves. The wait staff at the restaurant was more cheerful and we even got a better price for dinner!

      • What a great idea. Besides, by the third week in January people are usually recovered enough from whatever they were celebrating and are ready to go out for dinner.

        My sister-in-law used to have a big formal adults only party at her house mid-way between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. She included family, neighbors and office people. I really hated it. It was an artificial group to put together. As family, we had just seen each other a few days before for Christmas Day dinner (and a long evening). The only people who were comfortable with everyone there were my sister-in-law and her husband. To make it worse, we had to hire a baby-sitter – not easy during that particular week when the teens I knew had plans of their own or were off on a trip with their families and the weather was not very good, especially when we were coming home after 2 or 3 am. If it wasn’t cold enough to snow, the roads were slippery because of black ice or it was so foggy we could barely see.

        I do think people put all kinds of unnecessary pressure on themselves with expectations about Christmas or whatever holiday they celebrate. And then it all misses the point.

      • jojobo1 says:

        The -place I worked at used to cater an Christmas dinner for all three shifts.When things started going down hill in maybe 04 we had the employees make the dinner and our boss paid for it. The last year I was there we all bought a dish.We had tried the gift giving but it did not work out well and It was not the greatest thing we had ever done

    • ToesInTheSand says:

      I am a small business owner and years ago I found out the hard way that there are some people who are completely offended by my “Happy Holidays” cards I send out every year to my clients. I even had some respond to my “greetings” with a card of their own and a note attached about what the real meaning of the season is, and their disappointment in me for not saying MERRY CHRISTMAS.

      Do I respond to them? No, I let it go. I run a business, my intention is not to offend anyone at all. But I find it ironic that the people I offend by using the generic “Happy Holidays!” phrase in print or vocal greeting are only the people who profess to be CHRISTIAN. I do not get any flack from anyone who practices another faith, or does not at all.

      Why are they so unkind and offended by that simple phrase I use? I am truly, in my mind, being totally sincere in my wish for all people to have a NICE HOLIDAY SEASON. To me, wording it that way includes everyone, no matter how (or if or what) they worship. I am an out-going, friendly person who truly loves people and this constant barage of some of these so-called Christians being un-kind, rude and directing their anger at ME for my NOT saying “Merry Christmas”, well, I find THAT totally offensive.

      If someone says Merry Christmas to me 1st, I usually respond in kind, even though I am Agnostic, but I am NOT offended. Why in the heck would I be? What’s the big deal? I am finding more and more people who label themselves true Christians are not practicing what they preach as this particular subject continues to be beaten to death.

      Have a great holiday season EVERYONE!

  56. Nick Danger says:

    I always say, “Happy Non-Sectarian Winter Holiday!” But I like Happy Solstice, too.

  57. I try to say it pleasantly, but when a clerk wishes me Happy Holidays, I have to admit that I respond by saying Merry Christmas. It is what I’m celebrating. However, I don’t say it to someone who is wearing a Star of David or to someone who is dressed in a way that tells me he/she is obviously Muslim. But I’m not hateful in the way I say it.

    And I have to admit that I’m annoyed by my Christian friends who send me Seasons Greetings cards. My husband and I are celebrating Christmas and make it a point to send cards that acknowledge what holiday prompted our taking the time to mail a card. Since I don’t have Jewish or Muslim friends on my card list, it’s not really a problem.

    But I do understand why it was such a problem for you for so many years. And I applaud you for trying to find creative and sensitive ways to thank people who came to your shop. It is so much easier to say Happy Thanksgiving. It’s about the only holiday that shouldn’t offend anyone. Except the people who don’t believe in celebrating ANY holidays. Well, can’t do anything about that one, now, can we?

    • g says:

      Why would you be annoyed at someone sending you a nice card?

      • If they are Christians, then why wouldn’t they want to send a card that acknowledges that we are both celebrating Christmas? Seasons Greetings is just too generic. I’m not really offended; I do like hearing from them but I just think it’s too politically correct in this particular case. If they are sending me a card because they are celebrating some other holdiday in December, then I’d rather get that than a kind of meaningless, fill in the blank sort of Seasons Greetings. Just me, I guess.

        • HudsonElizabeth says:

          Pat, Hudson Elizabeth here in NY state,

          I am one of those who send out “Seasons Greetings” cards — some of the time. I do have Jewish friends, and I don’t like to buy more than one card a year. For me, it is a matter of which card has the graphic/design I like best, the one that portrays something I like to sign and send off to my friends and relatives. So, I am left with the generic greeting too often. But, I do feel strange with that greeting, so I write a note below it to every person I send that blah greeting to and that is how I can get in a “Merry Christmas” where appropriate.

          It would be a perfect world if there were a choice of greeting to go with whatever design on the outside we like. Maybe someday there will be.

        • Moose Pucky says:

          Some of us actually do celebrate “the seasons”.

    • Oh, and I wouldn’t find it offensive if someone responded to my Merry Christmas by saying Happy Something Else. It’s perfectly OK with me.

      When I volunteer at the Food Bank during December, I do usually wish people Merry Christmas, especially the week when they come for a holiday basket of food and a slip that lets them go to Christmas House for gifts for their children. Yes, it is still called Christmas House because it is largely operated by various churches in town.

    • I will add my support to this comment. I am frustrated both with the grumpy folks who don’t like Christmas and the folks who think it is some kind of battle field to preserve …….. Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward men, which is what the angels were purported to have said when announcing the birth of Jesus.(and happens to be a great greeting to people of any stripe) I think that is much more appropriate than Merry Christmas…which started as a pagan holiday, but I digress.

    • Tacy says:

      Unlike you, perhaps your friends have friends who ARE Muslim or Jewish. Also, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t believe in celebrating ANY holidays…do you?

    • leenie17 says:

      I’m one of those people who send Happy Holiday cards mostly because a number of people I send cards to are Jewish. I choose instead to personalize the card inside with a written greeting of the appropriate denomination (or simply Happy Holly-days for those who follow nothing at all!).

      Ironically, a number of my Christian friends have stopped sending cards for various reasons (financial issues, family illness, etc) but I can always count on getting holiday cards from at least two of my Jewish friends!

      I work in a school where there is a wide variety of religions so I am particularly sensitive to what language I use when greeting people around my city during this time of year. I also make sure to cover all the major holidays when teaching my holiday lessons, although several students who were not permitted to celebrate ANY holidays have made things a bit tricky for me in the past!

    • Just a simple man says:

      I am one of those people that don’t celebrate any holidays at all, especially one that glorifies the beginning of the eradication of an entire nation from the land that they owned (namely Thanksgiving). If self proclaimed Christians took the effort to study the origins of the holidays that they hold so dear they would see that they in fact celebrate the solstice among many other “pagan” celebrations.

      When ones greet me with a cheery “Merry Christmas” I reply with a cheery “Thank you very much”.
      When ones greet me with a cheery “Happy Holidays” I reply with a cheery “Thank you very much”

      It does not take much effort to be civil but today’s society attempts to make it impossible. When did common courtesy and kindness become so passé?

      • jojobo1 says:

        When the fake christians came in and tried to take over.IMO anyone who is nasty about a holiday greeting doesn’t know the meaning of being a christian!!!!

  58. Breadbaker says:

    As a Jew, I’ve never been offended by “Merry Christmas.” It’s a nice sentiment, and there’s nothing wrong with being wished to have a merry time on a paid day off. What always amused me was people, knowing I’m Jewish, wishing me Happy Chanukah on, say, Christmas Eve, when Chanukah was (as it will be this year) over for a couple of weeks.

    The whole War on Christmas meme, as you suggest, is about as far from the true spirit of Christ’s message as it is possible to be.

  59. Nita says:

    If someone responded to my Happy Holidays with a hissed Merry Christmas, I would sure come back with “Well, your tone sure sounds like YOU hate the holidays! Are you wishing they would just go away?”

    Of course, I’m not a shopkeeper wanting to sell things. But I would NOT let them get away with hissing at me!

  60. Ice Gal says:

    Ahh December and the start of the season of high christen foolishness. Fortunate our newly elected governor believes the planet is only six thousand years old so hope of science and reason every getting a foot hold here in Ak. Is about ZERO!

  61. g says:

    It’s always amusing to realize that there are people who take issue with someone wishing them well, just because the greeting doesn’t conform to their particular requirements.

  62. Redwoodmuse says:

    As a Solstice Celebrator who lives in the middle of a Bright Red Bible town, I appreciate your efforts to address all who might celebrate a holiday in December without Christ. After all, it was our Yule taken by the churches. Just this weekend I went to a secular potluck and endured a flowery long-winded prayer to the big white guy in the sky and a hymn before the food was served. Sigh. Then came the eats and, oh joy, at my table, a discussion of those who would take Christ out of Christmas and put the X in ‘His’ place. Living in this town has taught me the graceful art of tongue censoring. I just kept buttering my roll and eating my lunch. For the most part, these are lovely people, but it is absolutely incomprehensible to them that some around them are not Christians. And, since my business depends on their good will, if pressed, I simply say that I find my connection when walking around the Lake, striding along a trail or watching the sunset. They look at me funny, but, so far, no fires and no stakes.

    Redwoodmuse

  63. Ripley in CT says:

    heh heh… Merry Holidays to everyone. 😉

    • TNBlue says:

      As a fellow citizen of the Bible Belt I can so relate. I grew up in Anchorage as a Christian member of Holy Family Catholic Church. I am still a Christian, although now a reconciliation Methodist, and I have to say that I grew up in Anchorage in the ’50’s spewing “Happy Holidays” throughout the season. Such lingo during those years was meant to cover ALL the holidays…Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year…
      Things have changed and it seems other religious groups as well as non-religious have infringed upon ‘OUR’ holiday. Hogwash. The Christmas date is well known to be not only a date that has little chance of having actually been the birthday of Christ, but the entire celebration came about as the result of combining the celebration of Christ’s birth to coincide with other winter solstice celebrations…non-Christan celebrations. Christmas trees to holly are all taken from very unchristian traditions. Living where I have to patiently listen to a steady stream of “Merry Christmas ONLY” attitudes has my teeth grinding already.

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