The Lakeland Mirror

Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas?

Tis the season for Holiday cheer, a time when people go nuts trying to find the best deals on gifts to give to loved ones, decorating their homes with lights, and spending time enjoying family traditions.

Around this time of year, you also hear people wishing blessings upon one another, even strangers. Which brings me to my pet peeve: political correctness.

Have you ever said, “Have a Merry Christmas” to someone and had them get mad at you simply because you did not say, “Happy Holidays”?

If you have, you probably quickly apologized, like me, saying that you meant no disrespect, only to find out that the person doesn’t even practice a different religion from Christianity.

I’m not saying that I disagree with the concept of political correctness, because I wouldn’t like being forced to say, “Happy Hanukkah” when I am not Jewish.

But, when people try not to offend anybody by saying “Happy Holidays,” they run the risk of offending everyone because the greeting is so vague that it does not communicate anything in particular.

Didn’t you ever stop to think why we don’t say “Happy Holidays” around Halloween or Easter? It could just as easily apply to those times of year.

Whether I celebrate a particular holiday or not, I should be able to wish someone to have a happy day on that holiday. “Merry Christmas” should never be something to take offense in. Neither should “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy Kwanza” incite any more malice than “Happy New Year.”

When receiving any such greeting, one should not be concerned with what he or she personally believes or celebrates. Rather, he or she should simply take it in stride and accept that the speaker simply wants him to have a nice day.

In fact, if anybody has a right to take offense when exchanging greetings this December, it would be someone who has had their cheerful greeting of “Merry Christmas” or what-have-you rejected by the listener. When a listener rejects such a greeting, they not only reject the goodwill that the speaker was trying to communicate, but they also are showing some amount of malice toward the belief system from which the holiday in question originates.

I have noticed that public schools have made a change from using the term “Christmas Break” to using “Winter Break.”

It has come to my attention that with this people now assume that Lakeland also switched over, but to clarify, Lakeland says, “Christmas Break” in its student planners. The reason is because Lakeland is a UCC affiliated school.

Although Lakeland does not require students to practice Christianity, they still maintain their Christian background and use “Christmas Break” because this is a private school, and they are not legally obligated to follow political correctness.

It is my personal opinion that people should be able to have freedom of speech, one value which our country was founded upon.

So, if need be, forgive me when I say, “Have a Merry Christmas my Lakeland family and a Happy New Year. I will see you come the beginning of spring semester.”

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Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas?