Saturday, November 12, 2005

Rough Words

Last night on The O'Reilly Factor, substitute anchor John Gibson (who is substituting because of Bill's incendiary remarks) was outraged that Wal-mart employees no longer say "Merry Christmas" to customers. Instead the employees say "Happy Holidays" reaching across religions. Gibson thinks this is a slap to Christians because clearly most customers would be Christians. Folks of other religions should just take it because we live in a "Christian Country."

I'm sick of this attitude, like the majority should be outraged that they are not getting all the rewards. What's so bad about saying "Happy Holidays?" It's nice and very pluralistic because it suggests we are all living together in the same country. It's not right to suggest that we should all act like the people in charge. Wal-Mart is taking the time to suggest we are not all the same. Good for Wal-Mart, bad for John Gibson.

1 comment:

Holly said...

That's a hard call, Brett, knowing what to say to whom when the majority of Americans celebrate Christmas. I have, for many years now, wished people "Happy Holidays," simply because it seems more approporiate.

After having lived in New Jersey (where the majority is probably NOT Christian) and working with a Jewish man and his family (Sephardic), I guess I learned early on that, in fact, contrary to American popular belief, NOT everyone is Christian in America and it's OKAY. They decorated for Christmas to some extent, but did not celebrate Christmas in a traditional way by any means. And they gave me a Christmas bonus every year during the time I worked there. This showed me a respect that others could have for my beliefs (at the time), and therefore the only thig to do was to reciprocate. Every year, the (ex)husband and I were invited for a Hannakuh feast. It was really nice, too, because a lot of the food was very similar to Arabic dishes ( and without portk), so it wasn't an unfamiliar thing. The only thing different were the Hebrew prayers beforehand. The ex was a Muslim, I was a Christian, and our hosts were Jewish - and nobody had 'issues' (you know how I like that word...) with anyone else. It was really nice, and some twenty years later, we still keep in touch - especially for the holidays! Nothing at all wrong with the greeting, "Happy Holidays," nothing at all...

In all honesty, however, with Indians (Hindi) or others I am unsure of religious affiliations, I usually just say, "Enjoy the winter holidays." I've never encountered anyone who wasn't graceful enough to reciprocate.

If I know for sure that someone is Christian, I will occasionally wish them a Merry Christmas, or if someone is Jewish, a Happy Hannakuh, but it is much easier to just say, "Happy Holidays." And such a phrase is completely non-offensive and mindful of the other person.