What to wish people during the holiday season…

Hi, fam. I’m writing this from my old high school computer, as my screen still hasn’t been fixed yet. I should be getting it next week, and then hopefully I can return to my former productive self. Although “productive” is definitely relative, especially since it’s my winter break.

Being home from college is surprisingly more enjoyable than I expected. I’ve had a lot of time to think and reflect and recover from the semester. I also have had some time to look at my grades. I haven’t heard back about my re-grade request in my Libertarian class, but I did (surprisingly) well in my other classes. My 45-page paper on interracial adoption received an A, and I didn’t fail my econometrics class, although there’s an extremely high probability that I failed the final. So, all in all, despite this semester being my hardest academically, it was my best numerically. Or, letter-ally.

Anyways, tonight is Christmas Eve, so I’m singing at my high school’s Christmas Eve Mass. And just an hour or two ago, while I was studying for the GRE (which I’m taking the first week of February), I heard my mom wishing the woman who helped her book a hotel room for a family trip a “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.” When she got off the phone, I teased her lightly, saying that she couldn’t wish people Merry Christmas without knowing their religion, and she rolled her eyes, knowing that I was giving her a hard time because, as she puts it, I’ve become “a lot more liberal since starting college.”

Of course, there is some truth to the statement. And yes, it’s very politically correct, but it’s generally accepted that unless you know the holiday preferences of someone, where you can then specify, you should wish everyone “Happy Holidays.”

Now, my family and I disagree about this, because they don’t think there’s anything wrong with wishing people a Merry Christmas. And there’s nothing wrong, technically! Everyone SHOULD have a Merry Christmas, since Christmas is typically celebrated on December 25th, and why should anyone be deprived of a fantastic December 25th? I think the problem comes from ASSUMING people are Christian or even religious, and then being insulted if they don’t return the favor after wishing them a specific holiday’s greeting.

So…should we say Merry Christmas & Happy New Year? Or simply resign to Happy Holidays?

I personally like wishing people a Merry Christmas, because I like how it rolls off my tongue, and how it reminds me of spending Christmases in the city with  my family. But in college, I’m always hesitant, and often resort to “Happy Holidays” because I don’t want to offend anyone. Better to be politically correct than sorry, right?

But if somebody wishes me a Happy Hanukkah, and I’m not Jewish, I’m not necessarily offended. I think it’s cool that there are so many other religions and cultures in America, and that we do have the freedom to express our identities by wishing others various greetings. The only problem is when people wish people a Merry Christmas and expect to hear nothing else back but a “Merry Christmas,” even though it might be uncomfortable for some people to wish people a Merry Christmas if they themselves don’t celebrate it. For example, I would feel uncomfortable wishing someone a Happy Hanukkah, because I don’t know what personally goes into Hanukkah, and so how can I wish someone to have a good one if I don’t even know what an average one entails? (That was a poor attempt at humor.)

Here’s what I think we should do. I think we should wish people what we celebrate first, as sort of an informational tidbit, and then wish them a general Happy Holidays. And then, they can return the favor by wishing us what THEY celebrate, and then a general Happy Holidays. Of course, this system only works if everyone agrees to it, otherwise it might seem a bit egotistical since you’re speaking as if YOUR preference takes priority. Linguistically, in this way, it does. But obviously, conceptually, it does not.

So, conclusively, I think it would be LIT if everyone would wish another the holiday THEY themselves personally celebrate, followed by a “Happy Holidays,” and wait to hear the response. If the response is also a “Merry Christmas,” cool. If the response is something else, even COOLER, because now you’ve met someone who celebrates something different! Diversity is the spice of life!

We just shouldn’t be personally offended if someone wishes us the wrong holiday. We should be personally offended if someone wishes us an “Unhappy Holidays!” Because that’s just not in the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/holiday spirit.

And until next time, stay #NotFazed.

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Kinda like Gilligan's Island but completely different.

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