Season’s Regreetings

THE NEXT TIME SOMEONE OUTSIDE your comfort zone wishes you a merry holiday-you-don’t-celebrate, don’t take umbrage — just wish them a happy “Same To You.”

This three-syllable Teflon Shield of Banter will save you from giving and receiving earnest but endless dissertations on cultural supremacy, cultural relativity, hegemonic religion, religious hegemony, justified indignation and getting-over-whatever-some-else-thinks-“it”-is. (We’re all busy people here — who has time for such nonsense?)

“Same To You” means you acknowledge that the greeter’s intention is not to persuade or dissuade you into or out of anything you might consider distasteful or inappropriate. What I mean by “Happy Chanukah” and you mean by “Merry Christmas” and she by “Blessed Be” can also be expressed by Bilbo Baggins’ “I hope you are all enjoying yourselves as much as I am.”

Don’t we all agree on that? If so, then “Same To You” — sincerely.

3 comments for “Season’s Regreetings

  1. 2010.12.09 at 1350

    Wow, is this really a problem? I read about it in Miss Manners each year; still, I haven’t run into it personally, nor heard anyone I know personally speak of problems (until now). I myself just say “Happy Holidays” if I am unsure of someone’s affiliation or beliefs. “Holidays” is wonderfully inclusive, as it can include Turkey Day and New Year’s as well as any religious days in the mix.

    As an atheist, I celebrate Christmas for the universal humanist values it includes, like being on one’s best behavior, trying to be a little more tolerant, more generous, more patient than usual. (I also enjoy the stolen Pagan traditions, like Christmas trees ;-)

    I take no umbrage at any and all types of holiday wishes. Good will is good will. Pushing one’s beliefs on another is not good will – but breaking off a little piece, and offering to share, is not pushing. Example: A Christmas celebrant is feeling generous because of the season, and hands a nice, big chunk of change to a homeless dude on the street, along with a cheery “Merry Christmas.” Say the dude is Jewish, or Muslim. Think he minds? I hope not.

    Once upon a time, I had a Jewish lover who really hated Christmas time, not for religious reasons but just for the saturation, the onslaught of xmas-themed marketing and over-the-top, vulgar decorations in his neighborhood. I do sympathize – I’m not fond of all that, either, and not having a tradition of celebrating from childhood must make it extra annoying.

    So, I tolerated his snarky comments with good humor, and enjoyed his boyish potty mouth – his smirking suggestion that we break out the “Yule log” is one I still use upon occasion. :-D

    Anyway, Happy Festivus – for the rest-of-us! ;-)

    • 2010.12.09 at 1425

      Thanks, Kathryn. I only know this is a problem partly because I read about it being so, but also because I actually know someone whose “Merry Xmases” are intentionally militant. (But then, I’ve also known folks whose “Happy Chanukahs” and “Blessed Bes” were likewise confrontational; I probably even did that myself once or twice when I was younger. It takes some time to learn that vehemence only hurts the vehement.)

      On the other hand, there was the time a few years ago when I wore a yarmulke more full-time than I do now. When she caught sight of it, the grocery cashier’s “Merry Christmas” turned to ashen stammering. “You too,” I told her.

  2. Betty
    2010.12.09 at 0802

    I like that! Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *