In the spirit of the season, I’d like to share some observations about well wishes at this time of the year.
I have an eclectic collection of friends; they observe a variety of different religions. Years ago when Happy Holidays crept into use, I asked each person if they are offended or feel uncomfortable in any way when I wish them a Merry Christmas – all said NO…unless I would be offended if they wished me Happy Chanukah or Joyous Kwanzaa or other celebration of the season. In the reverse situation, I am honored when a friend says they will include me in their prayers for the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).
In my tribe, Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah wishes abound throughout December, with big smiles and good cheer!
This year I conducted an experiment – in December until the 25th I wished people a Merry Christmas. It was totally indiscriminate – friends, strangers, clerks stocking shelves, people helping to find an item or give directions, letter carriers, the guys on the Trash Truck, and every kid I saw. I offered Christmas wishes to over 250 individuals during the experiment.
Here’s my report of this non-scientific project – everyone…no exception…broke out into a smile and most returned the greeting, with some Happy Chanukah’s and Joyous Kwanzaa‘s sprinkled in. There was no negative reaction – not the slightest indication of any discomfort by anyone. Each person beamed at being acknowledged and offered a positive wish for them.
Ben Stein says it best in a note he wrote about Christmas – being wished a Merry Christmas is inclusionary and a positive expression of celebration, which in no means diminishes or degrades the beliefs and observations of the listener…not by intent and not by practice.
Hope you had a Merry Christmas – here’s a wish to you for good health, peace, joy, and success for the coming New Year.