One of my favorite Seinfeld episodes is the "Soup Nazi" - the soup cook that would declare "NO SOUP FOR YOU" if you didn't behave in line, or even so much as looked at him crossways or didn't have correct change.
I have noticed a type of "Merry Christmas" nazi prevalent today. Its the people who tell me that I must say "Merry Christmas". I have noticed more Christians tellling other Christians to be sure and be bold and brave to say "Merry Christmas" to everyone - as though we can help preserve the true meaning of the season if we'll just say "Merry Christmas" and not be cowards and use the bland "Happy Holidays" greeting.
OK, I'll admit it: I don't always say "Merry Christmas".
No soup for me.
I usually will say "Have a happy holiday season" as a standard personal salutation this time of year. And for a reason. Its an expression of my desire for the person receiving my greeting...I want you to have a happy holiday season. If you're a Christian, I want you to have a Merry Christmas.
"Why?", you ask? Why not just be true to my beliefs and tell everyone "Merry Christmas"?
Because for me, I think its pretentious and somewhat obnoxious, to assume everyone celebrates this holiday in the same way I do.
If someone celebrates a holiday other than Christmas during this season, or celebrates no holiday, I genuinely want them to have a happy time this season. Really. I do. A Jewish friend - I really, really want him to have a Happy Hannukah. And maybe he wants me to have a Merry Christmas, and if he does, I hope he tells me! But it would be futile for him to tell me to have a Happy Hannakah - because I won't be having any kind of Hannakuah, happy or sad or otherwise. I don't celebrate it.
When I'm communicating to people in writing which I often do as part of my job, and I don't know their faith, I'll say "Have a Happy Holiday Season". If I'm speaking to someone I know is a believer, I'll most certainly say "Merry Christmas". If I'm communicating to a Jewish friend, I'll say "Happy Hannakuh". If I'm speaking to a non-believer who still celebrates the Christmas holiday on the 25th, I might say "Merry Christmas". If I'm speaking to someone I don't know at all, I'll be sure to say "Have a Happy Holiday Season." An atheist? "Happy Holidays, my friend".
So is it wrong to fit my greeting to the RECEIVER, if it is an expression of my desire for that person? Must I tell everyone, "Merry Christimas" because that is MY holiday for this season?
During this time of year I wouldn't say ANYTHING, except this season is MORE than just a holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, whether us Christians like it or not. In our culture it has become a season where people of all beliefs and unbeliefs take a break from work and school, spend a bit more time with the family and friends, exchange gifts to express love for one another, and its just a joyous time for people whether they be Christians or not. I like that.
So for my professed atheist friends, like "Johnny" who posts here from time to time: HAPPY HOLIDAYS my friend, I wish you a happy, joyous holiday season with your friends and loved ones. I appreciate you very much and wish you all the best.
For my Christian friends (yes, Jim Smyrl, even including my Catholic friends): Merry Christmas! Have a blessed time with your families as you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
And if I don't know if you are are a believer or not: HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! I really do want you to have a happy holiday season with your loved ones, and I wish you a joyous and prosperous 2010.
And for those of you who will now criticize me on my blog for not being "true" to my faith by only saying "Merry Christmas", I say:
NO SOUP FOR YOU!!! :)