It’s been a whirlwind three weeks of work, travel, and cold weather1. And the impending Christmas crazies are exploding all over. It seems that every time we open a paper, crack a magazine, or power up the boob-tube, someone is talking about the “Holidays”.
In the past, this hasn’t ever really bothered me—but this year it does. And now every time I hear “the holiday shopping season”, a rage grows inside me… Not that I will ever go all Santa-with-a-machinegun at the local mall, but that it serves to illustrate how completely backwards political correctness really is. If you truly mean “Merry Christmas”, then don’t just swap words and keep all the Christmas trees and Santa Clauses on your holiday cards… just say those words. It proves to be a whole lot less offensive. And, while I am completely in favor of inclusivity… this is not accomplished just by replacing words with Happy Holidays.
So, in hopes of fixing the problem… I have fashioned a simple list entitled “3 Steps to Holiday Correctness: Winter Edition” so that we all can work to correct this political incorrectness:
1. Learn — It’s could be as simple as visiting your local Wikipedia page—reading up on some facts about other religions. (For example2, this year the minor holiday of Hanukkah begins at sundown on the evening before December 12th. Which means that wishing anyone a Happy Hanukkah after the 18th will result in strange looks3.) Or as involved as going to a different church to learn first hand what makes them unique. The key here is understanding.
2. Improve — Make a conscious effort to include different religious views in your actions. (Yes, this means actually finding out who celebrates what in your circle of friends and workplace, and appropriately tailoring your conversations to specific individuals you are referring to. *gasp* [that was sarcasm]) The key here is growth.
3. Tollerate — If someone does wish you an incorrect holiday greeting (and it will happen), remember that’s hopefully just their way of trying to be friendly… and try not to read too much into it. The key here is compassion.
So my friends… now it is up to you to go out and be kind to each other. Enjoy your winter vacations. Spend time reflecting on the positives in life. And try to keep warm. Oh, and say hello to your mother for me.
2 — I was raised as a Christian, so I do realize that the facts mentioned herein are probably biased towards Christmas. However, I do not consider myself a part of any religion now… not anti-religious, just un-religious.
3 — Related to this, there’s a “cranky Jew” rant at Sometime Davey Wins that’s worth a read.
PS. This snapshot was taken into a window display along Haight Street in San Francisco. I love that the camera doesn’t betray it’s own presence, and that the subject actually becomes this green man, longingly gazing out the window onto the street… hoping for a world without corporate greed and holiday drama. You can see another example like this in my Flickr photostream.