I've been writing this blog for almost 7 years now, and I noticed that I've never said "Merry Christmas" in any posts here, and only used it once in a title, that being last year when I posted a video of Josh Groban singing O Holy Night. I don't think I've used the phrase in at least 20 years, if not longer.

So why am I talking about it now? I have a friend of mine who calls himself Sire, and I've known him about 4 years now. We rarely disagree on anything, but for once I've found something that I do disagree with him on after he wrote a post titled Why I Believe In Merry Christmas. In his post, though he says he believes that people should have the right to say whatever they wish during this season, he believes that it takes away from the Christmas holiday because Happy Holidays, in his opinion, is too generic, and it's somewhat insulting to him (his actual quote was "political correctness gone wrong").

I believe he's wrong because it presumes that every person one meets is Christian, and thus no matter what that person believes they should be happy to have someone say Merry Christmas to them. He believes that people will know you're not being disingenuous to them if you say it so there's no harm.

My first point would be if that's the case then why does it upset him if people say Happy Holidays? I mean, if he doesn't worry about others being upset because they're not Christian why should he be upset because others aren't assuming he is?

My second point is that he is in Australia, and I've read from and about many Australians who don't see that they have a race issue just like we have in the United States. It's glossed over of course because most countries in the world think racism is only a United States issue, but Aborigines in Australia lament about their problems just like minorities do here, and I've seen the jokes that come that are somewhat racist concerning them. I've even mentioned it a time or two but they just don't understand it and think I'm being sensitive because I'm black; sorry, but of course I am, and that doesn't mean racism doesn't exist in other countries. So if racism exists why not "religious xenophobia" (it seems there's no word for hatred of other religions; there is a word for fear of religion or God, theophobia)?

My third point is that Christmas isn't the only religious holiday in December in this world. I could make a list; I think I will:

  • Hannukah
  • Kwaanza
  • Winter Solstice
  • Boxing Day
  • Oraza Bayram
  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception
  • Virgin of Caacupe
  • Mother's Day (a religious holiday in some countries)
  • Saint Nicholas' Eve
  • Hari Raya Haji
  • St. Stephen's Day
  • Eid il-Burbara

In my book that's a lot of religious holidays. Here in the U.S., you can bet that there's a significant number of people celebrating each of those holidays on their particular dates. I would bet this is true of most large countries; maybe not the majority of people but who says that only the majority should deserve to have their holidays stated in public over anyone else's?

As a diversity educator, I might be a bit more sensitive than many other people on this subject, to the point where someone might say I'm just being politically correct. If that means that I make sure I treat everyone with the same dignity then so be it. This isn't a condemnation of anyone saying Merry Christmas; please, feel free. However, justifying it for any other reason than being comfortable with it is wrong. And I will always believe that and state it for those who feel that no one else will listen to them.

From this blog, for this season, Happy Holidays.