The stretch of time between the U.S.'s Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, you know, when different groups celebrate different things while wrapping up one year and looking to the next. Grumpiness, Bah Humbugs, and Grinch-like behavior sometimes peep through, even from the holliest and jolliest of folks. But, there are some things that I don't see as worth getting your Burgermeister Meisterburger up in arms over.
I fall into the category of a "Happy Holidays" wisher, for the most part. You may find that offensive, put me in my proverbial place, delete me from social media, never read my blog again, and go off to commiserate with Bill O'Reilly and the rest of the War on Christmas protesters. (If saying, "Happy Holidays" is an act of war, I don't know what is going on in the Middle East!) Anyway, you can take that approach, as is your right.
Or, may I suggest an alternative? You can smile, say "Thank You!", maybe a "Merry Christmas" in return if that is your preferred greeting to use. You can be gracious and accept the greeting, as generic or blanket statement-like as you feel it is, in the spirit with which it is most likely intended. It is not a dig at those celebrating Christmas. It is not a bleeding heart conspiracy term meant to start a war. It is a pleasantry akin to "Have a nice day" or "I hope all is well." If someone were to say to me, "Happy Hanukkah (or Chanukah or Chanukkah)!" I would not be offended because, in that moment of well wishing, it is not about the holiday celebrated or the religion practiced. It's a simple exchange of greetings which takes a few seconds out of our chaotic lives to just be kind to one another.
During a time when faces are buried in smart phones, lines are long, people are running ragged, even a smile and a nod with no words at all is a breath of fresh air. Winter is gray, day light is with us for a shorter amount of time, and some are going through the worst times of their lives. This stretch of time for Thanksgiving through New Year's Day is so often associated with giving. The giving doesn't have to be materialistic. A week ago, I was in line behind a man at Target. During his transaction, the chit-chat between he and the cashier revealed that it was his birthday. When he was done, he went to the in-store Starbucks. As I was leaving the checkout, I went to the Starbucks and offered to buy his coffee. He turned me down, but while doing so said, "No, but thank you. That is the best gift I've received." So, my point is, just being kind in action or in words captures the spirit of the season.
My wish for all, as Blues Traveler sings, is:
And everybody sings
If it's Chanukah or Kwanza
Solstice, harvest or December twenty-fifth
Peace on earth to everyone
And abundance to everyone you're with.