Merry Christmas, er, Happy Hanukah, um, joyful Kwanza? How about, have a Jolly winter solstice; enjoy a marvelous pre New Year’s celebration. Or maybe, Brrr, its cold outside, wanna heat up some cocoa, sit by the fireplace, and burn down the house by putting near-antique decorative lights of dubious quality on a dead and dried-out tree?
Yep. It’s that most increasingly confusing time of year. Used to be everyone tossed about Christmas greetings willy-nilly like they were hurling Tootsie Rolls in a Thanksgiving Day parade. But, admittedly, we live in an ever more diverse community. People of various traditions roam our streets celebrating, feasting, and greeting in numerous and previously little-known fashions.
So, whatever you do, please, PLEASE don’t say Merry Christmas! Someone might be offended. In fact, best to stay clear of any and all religious references despite the history and tradition of our fair land. Remember, it’s entirely ludicrous to think that someone greeted with the wrong salutation might take no offense simply because none was intended. That’s just not how it works. This is America, people.
Whether you’re a person of deep conviction or more of an anything-goes-just-let-me-get-on-with-my-life type, we all must realize that the guy standing next to you at Redbox – taking three days to select just one movie! – quite possibly does not share your holiday sensibilities.
So, what can we say? In what manner can we most delicately share our seasonal cheer? Obviously, it’s no longer proper etiquette to utilize age-old salutations. It seems “Happy Holidays” is the safest, most non-offensive route.
But “Happy Holidays” has no pizzazz, no flare, no zeal. Perhaps we should institute a new nonspecific holiday that is safe, non-threatening, non-committal, and requires no beliefs, dedication or fervor from any adherents. Maybe, “Happy Winter’s Day.” Or, “Merry Paid-Day-Off-of-Work Day.” We could all get behind that one. “Great-Excuse-to-Break-My-Diet Day” comes to mind. We could just cut to the chase and call it, “Just-Hurry-Up-and-Give-Me-My-Gifts Day.”
Nope. Don’t think we’re quite there yet. What about people who don’t have kids? What about the unemployed? To them, even these outwardly-benign greetings might seem as audacious as tossing out a “Merry Christmas” to a complete stranger.
No. We need something far more nebulous, something more brown paper bag. Maybe, “Have a Fantastic Pseudo-Generic holiday.” No. Some people get freaked out by holidays altogether. “Have an increasingly adequate existence?” Close. But not quite there yet.
Ah, got it! The perfect non-offencive-nearly-guaranteed-not-to-get-you-dragged-into-an-alley-and-beaten greeting for the holiday season.
“Have a nice day.”
Copyright 2009 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.
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