Some people treat “happy holidays” like a message from the Devil himself, and I have no idea why.
The phrase “season’s greetings” is far clunkier and ambiguous. Are you greeting the season? Are you greeting me with seasonings? Why are you throwing garlic at people, what’s wrong with you? You should never throw garlic at anyone except vampires, and sometimes that’s not a very good idea even then.
Anyway, I’ve never been offended by saying or hearing “happy holidays.” And I certainly don’t mind saying it to folks when I don’t know whether they’re Christian or not. Some folks don’t celebrate Christmas, after all. Even among those who do, the period from December 1 to January 1 contains multiple “holy days” and days of celebration as well.
December 8, for example, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, when Catholics honor the Virgin Mother by attending mass and praising the Lord.
Sure, I’ve always found Kwanza (Dec. 26 – Jan. 1 this year) a bit odd, but if folks want another excuse to light candles, who am I to judge?
Plus, there’s Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights. This year, it happened in October, but my Indian neighbors used to keep their lights up for months after. I think it might be a 2 week celebration? Anyway, it’s a commemoration of that time Prince Rama fought the demon-king Ravana. You can catch an artist’s interpretation of the battle below:
My Jewish friends will be celebrating Hanukkah soon. So, if someone wants to wish me Happy Channukah, I wouldn’t mind that, either. Really, we’re in a season of celebration. Why get mad over words that mean, in essence, “have a nice time drinking wine and eating fatty foods?” Besides, then I get to say “Happy Xanuka” back to them, and we can have fun saying/spelling one of the funnest words to say/spell in any language.
December 24 is Christmas Eve! That time of year when Italians like myself gather around a plate piled high with spaghetti and eat 5 or 7 types of fried fish until we ‘splode. Don’t have to take my word for it:
God, I miss John Pinette. RIP, good sir.
Anyway, if folks want to wish me “Merry Christmas,” I’m cool with that. And if folks want to wish me “Happy Christmas,” I’ll be cool with that too, and I promise not to make any awkward comments about the Doctor or Vicar of Dibley or even mention your accent at all, probably.
Finally, January 31 is New Year’s Eve, a secular holiday celebrated by anyone who uses a Gregorian calendar in their everyday life.
(And yes, for those of you Super-Catholics/Latinos, the holiday season extends all the way to January 8. Sadly, we don’t celebrate Three Kings’ Day much in America. I blame the Protestants.)
So, as you can hopefully see, “Happy Holidays” isn’t just an inoffensive salutation, it’s technically accurate. We’ll all be celebrating at least two holidays this year, since most atheists I know do something for both Christmas and New Year’s. Probably something involving excessive amounts of chocolate or wine or chocolate wine.
I hope they invite me.
So, happy holidays, folks. And if you still feel offended by someone hoping you enjoy a 30 day period of almost non-stop celebration, maybe you should see a doctor about that unsightly sprig of holly protruding from your bottom?