Friday, December 23, 2011

And To All a Good Night?

In the finest Festivus tradition, I'd like to bother you all for a few moments and use this blog to air a grievance I have with you (the general you, quite likely not you specifically). I'm pissed off about people who get pissed off about the the holidays. Now, I'm not Christian. I was raised Roman Catholic, but have officially renounced that faith and consider myself agnostic or humanist. I do celebrate Christmas though, not as a religious holiday, but as a cultural holiday. A lot of the trappings and whatnot around Christmas I find saccharine, boomer-oriented, commercialized, and annoying, but I love Christmas itself, particularly the idea of goodwill towards others. That sentiment IS Christmas to me. For a little bit of time each year, it's like people get a "be nice to others" booster shot and spread cheer, for the most part. It's really nice.

Well, it's usually nice. But too many people have made a battleground over the whole damn thing. What prompted this post is that, around this time of year when I interact with people, I like to end conversations with a nice holiday greeting. I don't care what that greeting is. Happy Holidays is a nice catch-all because it's inclusive to people who don't celebrate Christmas AND it also covers both Christmas and New Years for the yes-Christmas crowd. Great. Merry Christmas is fine too, especially if I'm certain the person I'm speaking to does in fact celebrate Christmas. Other holiday-specific ones are fine too (Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, etc) if I know that's what the person celebrates.

But here's the thing. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas have been claimed by opposite camps. The "there's a war on Christmas!" crowd, whom I loathe, has made Merry Christmas from a nice gesture into a friggin' battle cry, or a secret password of their Christmas club. Meanwhile, Happy Holidays has been made to feel like the response battle cry of Team Atheism (don't get me wrong, I've got a fair amount in common with this team). But the dilemma is this: I am saying whatever I'm saying to be nice and spread cheer, not to get into a fucking fight over whose version of the holiday season is "correct." Anyone who uses these kindly greetings as an item of division instead of unity, of polarization instead of good cheer, seriously, fuck you. Everyone else, Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays. Much love!