It's not a festive tree, dammit
As Christmas approaches, I have given much thought to how I choose to express the sentiments of the season. For many years, I went with the politically correct phrase of "Happy Holidays!" When I bought stamps for my cards, I purchased Hanukkah ones for my Jewish pals, Jesus ones for my Christian pals, and Forever stamps for my atheist buddies.
I'm fed up.
In many of my children's school textbooks, the message is to accept the fact that people celebrate diverse holidays and beliefs. I greatly appreciate this notion. I would love it if my kids' schools conducted parties that involved traditional aspects of many cultures and religions. But instead, there has been a steady removal of most customs and conventions from our school systems. Everyone seems ridiculously terrified of offending everybody else.
With this precedent growing in popularity, kids have less of a chance to appreciate the beauty, philosophies, and beliefs of their earthly brethren. How is this helping anyone? It seems terribly isolationist and fear-based. Throughout world history, when exposure to other belief systems is limited or vilified, it tends to result in social upheaval, war, and even genocide. Does this not warrant additional consideration from the policymakers who continue to devalue the impressive assortment of cultures that is America?
Throughout my life, I have thoroughly enjoyed experiencing traditional holidays with my friends who are not Christians. They are proud of their customs and eager to share the nuances of their celebrations. There is a profound respect for each other's cultures, and I have never once been accosted or belittled for using the words "Merry Christmas," just as I am honored for them to wish me a "Happy Hanukkah" or the like.
We are who we are. We believe what we believe. And casting a shameful shroud on our humanity by limiting exposure to our grand diversity seems very wrong.
So this year, I'm losing the PC crap and going with Merry Christmas. If you choose to wish me a happy Kwanza, Dongzhi Festival, or whatever it is that supports your belief system, I would be honored.
And if there are special cookies or treats involved?
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.