Don’t get caught up in holiday greeting debates

Miranda Smith, Campus Carrier Sports Editor

The debate concerning “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays” is a debate that is brewing with the holiday season coming up. Growing up as a Roman Catholic, I think either is appropriate to say.

One time, I was bell-ringing for the Salvation Army with my lacrosse team, and I said “Merry Christmas” to a gentleman and he corrected me with a “Happy Holiday.” For the rest of the afternoon, I continued to say “Happy Holidays” so I wouldn’t be corrected again. Instead, I was corrected by an elderly lady to say “Merry Christmas” in a manner that I did not appreciate.

I didn’t fully understand the problem of what was said. My only goal was to spread the holiday spirit of giving. The debate may begin with Christmas often being celebrated before Thanksgiving and how it can upset some people, with retail stores replacing all the Halloween decorations with both Thanksgiving and Christmas decor.

Some believe the debate began with politics when President Donald Trump made the statement, “Boy, do I mean it – we’re going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas,’” as he was speaking to a group of evangelical leaders in 2016.

The religious standpoint also comes into the debate, with many holidays being celebrated during the month of December; such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice and the secular holiday of HumanLight. There are greetings and appropriate sayings for each holiday such as “Happy Hanukkah” to a Jewish person and “Merry Christmas” to a Christian person, simple holiday etiquette.

However, greeting a friend or coworker is different than greeting a stranger, due to lack of background knowledge and the simple kindness of acknowledgement. A simple “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” shouldn’t be taken as an insult or degradation to other celebrated holidays, because it is impossible to know how people would prefer to be greeted during the holidays.

When a person says a particular greeting that isn’t accepted by another person, it should just be taken with kindness and not with an inappropriate response, because everyone is just trying to spend the holidays the way they would prefer. It can be hard to decipher a person’s religion and mind-reading isn’t available either, so someone could never know what the other would be preferred to be greeted by.

Just take how you’re greeted during the Christmas season with a grain of salt. Enjoy the season and don’t be an Ebenezer Scrooge.

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