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Saturday December 24, 2005
A Salutation for the Season
All this fuss over what to say to people at Christmas is a little silly. Sure, it would be disheartening to see political correctness taken to the point that "Merry Christmas" becomes a taboo phrase, but I don't see "Happy Holidays" as the byline of the Anti-Christ. I'm pleased when someone greets me with a genuine wish that I might have more joy, regardless of the words they use. I don't mind when a retail wage-slave reflexively recites something seasonal -- at least not any more than I mind their mechanical mandate that I "have a nice day." It gives me the opportunity to pause, reflect, and then wish them something appropriate.
This time of year you can get a smile with the response "Hang in there. Only (n) shopping days until Christmas, and I bet hardly ANYBODY will return stuff this year."
There are those, of course, who will take offense at "Merry Christmas" AND "Happy Holidays." Usually these are people whose own belief system doesn't advocate any sort of holy day during this season, but sometimes they're just grumpy people. Having been grumpy myself once or twice, I know where they're coming from. And as a writer whose global audience almost certainly includes at least a couple of these people, I'm led to ponder what kind of greeting I could offer, what kind of message I could post that would be appropriate, inoffensive, and yet full of meaning.
I think I've found one. Worshippers of Christ will find it timely, and will see it as a reminder of who they are and what they should be about. Those familiar with the Christian message will certainly recognize it, but will find it difficult to argue with. Those unfamiliar with the lore of the season may wonder a bit at the wording, but will have a difficult time arguing with the sentiment.
And so it is that I hope you all enjoy peace on Earth, good will toward men.
(Uh-oh. I think I may have offended an entire camp of feminists. Is it too late for me to change "men" to "humans?")
(And... here comes PETA, right on cue. I give up.)