December 15, 2011
The holiday season has always been welcomed in by decorations, lights, nativity scenes, dreidels, menorahs, Christmas trees, and anything else that people associate with the holidays. These past couple of years, however, have seemed to drift away from the festiveness the holidays generally bring.
One of the big reasons why we, as Americans, are distancing ourselves from the festiveness of the season is because of the secularization of the holidays, namely Christmas. Christmas started as a religious holiday, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. As the holiday became popular with non-Christian countries, it evolved into a holiday of giving and celebrating family, friends, and the community, while still keeping it’s traditional roots. Traditions like gift-giving, caroling, buying Christmas trees, and Advent Calendars were all incorporated in as well. Recently, however, some people have become very particular about the holidays, especially those who do not celebrate Christmas.
It shocks me that some are appalled when they receive a “Merry Christmas” from someone. Some are offended, believing that those who say “Merry Christmas” are trying to shove religion down their throats. What kind of world are we living in today that people are offended by a simple holiday greeting? I understand that not everyone celebrates Christmas, and they have every right not to. But just because you don’t celebrate it doesn’t mean that you need to be rude to those who do. When I say Merry Christmas to someone, I’m not trying to force people to be Christian, I’m simply trying to spread holiday cheer. After all, isn’t that what this season is about?
The dislike of the phrase “Merry Christmas” has given way to an alternative “Happy Holidays,” which is seen as more acceptable and politically correct in public places such as schools and government offices. While I do use the phrase “Merry Christmas,” I also make use of the phrase “Happy Holidays” when I talk to people I’m not familiar with. While “Happy Holidays” is a great alternative and includes all holidays during the wintertime, I believe that “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Kwanza,” and “Happy Hanukah” are much more heartfelt.
December is also associated with presents, presents, and more presents. Stores have sales almost every day and consumers are sucked up into the whirlwind of buying anything and everything, simply because it’s a “Christmas” sale. Last time I checked, Christmas wasn’t a day set aside for buying presents and being greedy. It’s a celebration of life, the joy of giving, and enjoying family, friends, and the holiday spirit. We need to take a step back from our hectic holiday shopping schedule and think about what Christmas really means to us. As cliché as it, this is the “Season of Giving,” and we should make an attempt to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas.