I have used the phrase “Happy Holidays” for as long as I can remember. Never have I felt so disrespected for doing so as I did when I read something a coworker of mine posted to Facebook.
“Just in case anyone was wondering… it is NOT… Happy Holidays!! It is MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! We are celebrating the birth of Jesus, HE is the reason for the season. Without CHRIST there would be no CHRIST-mas. So let’s remember that during the next few weeks and put HIM first in all that we say and do. So with all that said…. Merry Christmas and let the festivities begin!!!”
Actually, no one was wondering. Also, I’m pretty sure no one asked you. That quote is pretty much giving a middle finger to non-christians by saying “I’m better than you, so deal with it.” The disrespect that is spewed in this statement marks that demise of what little possibility of a non-coworker friendship existed. The judgement you have passed on people with a different belief system than yourself has made my stomach turn for years. Within the first few months I started working in the healthcare industry, when I was speaking with someone about religious beliefs and I mentioned being agnostic, you quickly piped in (unsolicited, might I add) “You won’t last long in this business if you don’t believe in a higher power.” That says more about you than it does anyone else. Maybe YOU couldn’t work in this field if you didn’t believe in a higher power, but I have no qualms with it.
I can now say that I am an atheist. I do not fear retribution for those beliefs, as they are my own and I do not try to force them on anyone. I feel that everyone can have their own faith and belief system without it being detrimental towards me. I’m sick of staying quiet when I hear people spew their hate in the name of their religion. You may want to wish people a “Merry Christmas,” to which I would smile and thank you, but don’t ever tell me that it is not “Happy Holidays.”
I do not say “Happy Holidays” as a phrase of disrespect to Christianity. I am saying it due to my own belief in supporting the positive feelings of the season. Whether you are celebrating Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Festivus, Boxing Day, Advent, New Years, or Super Bowl Sunday, I want you to feel included in my well-wishes. I do not feel alienated as an atheist at this time of year, but it is because I take it as an opportunity to be grateful for everything that I have. I like cooking and baking for people to show them I care. I like giving gifts because I like seeing the smiles that come to people’s faces when they open them.
It might be “Merry Christmas” to you, and that is absolutely fine. Do not ever tell me that it is not “Happy Holidays.” You are neither my mother nor my dictator, no matter how you try to be both. Remember that the season is not only about your traditions.
In conclusion, I say to you all, Happy Holidays. Hold those close to you tight and don’t forget to let them know you care about them.