Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy Holidays...yeah, I said it!

Happy Holidays!

Yes, I said “Happy Holidays”…so go ahead and boycott me. Accuse me of being too politically correct, question my Christian faith and deny me the Wal-Mart happy face sticker because I said, “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.” But hear me out first…

When I grew up in the suburbs of West Virginia, we celebrated Christmas. The only Jewish people I knew of were comedians and entertainers on TV and the only black folk (now called African Americans) I knew were the two that went to my school. It was just the way things were back then. There was rarely even a passing mention of Hanukkah, and I’m not even sure if Kwanzaa was a holiday yet. All we celebrated back then was Christmas…and we celebrated it like most of the rest of the country. We had our Christmas tree…we hung our Christmas lights…we attended our parties…and we watched our TV specials. Of course we watched the classic animated shows, like Rudolph, Frosty and “Here Comes Santa Claus.” However, I recall other Christmas specials hosted by various celebrities. Who do you think of when you think of old Christmas specials? Bob Hope? Bing Crosby? Perry Como? Andy Williams? And can you guess one of the songs that Andy Williams was famous for singing? You got it…”Happy Holidays!”

When I grew up, the phrase “Happy Holidays” was a heartfelt greeting of the season. If one had to decipher the meaning, I’d say one was wishing happiness throughout the holiday season. The question then arises, what IS the holiday season? If you ask the retail world, and I have to agree, the holiday season starts on Thanksgiving and ends on New Year’s Day. Saying (or singing) “happy holidays” is merely a way of wishing folks well throughout this time frame. It’s not a politically correct cop-out to include those who celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Those who are offended by a store posting “Happy Holidays” versus “Merry Christmas” are just as overly sensitive as those who insist upon using “Happy Holidays” for political correctness. Both parties need to just lighten up and not get so bogged down with this simple phrase.

There…I’ve had my say. And for the record, I usually wish those I encounter “Merry Christmas,” but I really don’t see the problem with wishing everyone “Happy Holidays” as well. So again, Happy Holidays!

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