Americans just love to be offended, don’t they?
Regardless of what holiday any given person celebrates during the holiday season, their expression of goodwill toward others, whether it comes in the phrase “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” or whatever else they decide to say should not be taken as a source of grief and annoyance by people who may not align themselves with a similar holiday practice.
In a lot of years, I’ve known many people to be offended by the greeting “Merry Christmas” because it poses an unfair generalization about the religious background of any given person based upon the fact we live in a predominantly Christian society.
It makes total sense to be put off by the assumption despite the fact that a lot of people who go out of their way to express any kind of cheery holiday greeting are typically doing so with good intentions.
I’ve seen an increasing number of people, however, who are monumentally offended by the phrase “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas” — and even though I personally celebrate Christmas I really cannot understand what is so offensive about someone hoping that I enjoy the month of December even though they don’t specify that they would like me to be particularly happy on the 25th.
It’s not usually fundamentally offensive to issue any sort of holiday greeting when the intent is to express a positive wish toward another person. It only becomes offensive when the person expressing the holiday wish is expressing it in a way that subconsciously or intentionally marginalizes other religious groups and target of the greeting finds that they are uncomfortable with an expression or an omission of religious affiliation.
Something that is offensive is to actively and angrily call people out on their preferred method of spreading holiday cheer.
It’s stupid to politicize well-wishes. It doesn’t make any sense and actually achieves the opposite effect when any given person decides that they’ve had enough of this secular happiness and goes around screaming “Yeah, Merry Christmas, I said it! What of it!” just to spite people. Those people who slap those “I still say MERRY CHRISTMAS!” bumper stickers on their car don’t seem to realize that they don’t come off as jolly, they come off as jerky.
We all know that everybody celebrates different religions, but do we really have to get all crazy sensitive about it during the holiday season?
It’s great that we live in a country of diversity.
It’s very polite and important to try and make sure that our methods of expressing our holiday cheer don’t offend someone who may not practice the same religion we do.
But, we’re bound to make a mistake at some point, and when we do, it would be a lot more pleasant for everyone involved if, rather than getting extremely offended and causing a ruckus about how we would rather be wished peace and happiness in a different format, we just all recognized that most holiday greetings are well-intentioned and went on our merry way.
Sarah Moesta is a junior majoring in English and is the Daily Collegian’s Friday columnist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org