I will begin by saying it straight out: I am not Christian. I do not believe in Jesus. If you do, good for you and I hope that your faith will get you through the harder times in life. But I am not you. I consider myself a spiritual agnostic. Don't try to search it or look it up on Wikipedia. I made it up, and it covers my beliefs pretty well.
Note: apparently others have thought of it, though their concept of spiritual agnosticism is different than my own
However, I do celebrate Christmas. I love Christmas. It is, without contest, my favourite holiday. It's not the gifts, or the spending money, or the unwrapping of whatever interesting or unique knick-knacks I may receive. It's not even Santa Claus, elves, and all the other fairy tale stuff that makes it magical. It's the family time.
Every Christmas, I spend the day with my parents. Every year, even when I was not living with them, on December the 25th, I would go over to their house and spend the day there. Sometimes my paternal grandmother would be there, sometimes not. Sometimes my aunt on my dad's side would be there, sometimes not. But my parents were ALWAYS there.
Every Boxing Day, I spend the day with my extended family on my mom's side. All 23-or-so of us cram ourselves into whichever house is volunteered for it and spend the day together. We open gifts, we talk amongst each other, we eat. If I didn't go one year, I'm pretty sure my maternal grandmother would whoop my ass, and I would stand there and take it.
But lately, as many of you may have heard, it is no longer 'correct' to say Merry Christmas. Because god help us if we say Merry Christmas to someone of the Jewish, Islamic, Pagan, etc faith. It's an attack on their faith.
I'm sorry, but if I celebrate Christmas, I will be saying Merry Christmas. If I celebrated Hannukah, or Kwanzaa, or Yule, I would expect that people would not be offended by wishing them a joyous Hannukah, or Kwanzaa, or Yule. If you get offended by people who say Merry Christmas, you are insecure in your own faith.
Getting offended at someone wishing you a happy holiday that you do not celebrate is like getting offended when someone asks you if someone of the same gender (if you're straight) or different gender (if you're gay) is attractive. If you can't say that someone else is attractive without being uncomfortable and offended, then you are not secure in your sexuality. Just admit it.
I will say it again, I am not Christian. I celebrate Christmas for what it means to me. I am also gay, but I can tell others that I find men attractive, even if I would never attempt to bed or try to attract one. I am secure in my faith and spirituality as I am secure in my sexuality.
If you say Happy Hannukah to me, I will assume that it is your religion and your holiday that you are following, and I will say Happy Hannukah back to you. Because I respect your choice in religion and holiday.
If you say Happy Kwanzaa to me, I will assume that it is your religion and your holiday that you are following, and I will say Happy Kwanzaa back to you. Because I respect your choice in religion and holiday.
If I say Merry Christmas to you, just say it back. Or reply with the holiday of your personal choice. (example: I say "Merry Christmas" you reply "Happy Hannukah" back. It's not challenging.) I am wishing you well in the festive season and holiday of my choice, and trying to show a level of respect in myself. If you don't respect my choice, then don't say anything back. Don't be snarky, that's just disrespectful and rude.
Saying Happy Holidays, however 'all encompassing' is insulting to me.
- First of all, you are releasing your own conviction and system of beliefs for fear of insulting or offending people. No matter what you do in life, people will be offended at it. There's nothing you can do about it. Just be yourself and those who respect truth and honesty with come to you.
- Secondly, most people don't celebrate "holidays" they celebrate Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/Yule/etc. Generalizing is discrimination and prejudice. If you don't believe it, start generalizing about a group of people and see if they appreciate it.
- Thirdly, and finally, most of the 'holiday season' holidays do not overlap. Occasionally they do, but for the most part they are stand-alone. (example: Hannukah started on December 1 and ended December 9, Kwanzaa December 26 til January 1, Yule December 21 in the northern hemisphere and June 21 in the southern hemisphere.) Not even close!
It is a holiday season, but my holiday is Christmas. If you want me to respect your choices and your beliefs, then show some to me. Because I have nothing against other religions or holidays. Just because they are not my choice does not make them invalid to me.
Open your heart and accept the love that people are trying to share with you.
Peace and serenity,