Social media posts abound with comments about how grim 2016 has been. Numerous famous deaths and a downright nasty US election campaign that culminated in a shocking result seem to be the main culprits causing the ‘I wish the year was over’ refrain.
I think many are hopeful that the upcoming holiday season will provide a lift before year’s end. It is often noted that every year the Christmas marketing paraphernalia appears earlier; Halloween’s zombies are just back in their graves when the first Christmas trees are being placed in department stores. Yet I have heard less grumbling about it this year. Perhaps, like the song says, we need a little Christmas, right this very minute.
With the early arrival of all things Christmas, comes the annual ‘happy holidays season’s greetings’ debate. There are those who would have us say happy holidays instead of the traditional Merry Christmas in an attempt not to offend non-Christians. Ridiculous. But then there are others who suggest happy holidays should be verboten as it erases Christ from Christmas. Just as ridiculous.
Is it okay to say Merry Christmas? Of course. Happy Hanukkah? Most certainly. Happy Kwanzaa? You bet. Depending on the year, and how close to the other holidays they fall, happy Diwali and Eid are also fine. And, should you find yourself in a group of people, some of whom celebrate Christmas while others mark Hanukkah or Kwanzaa then by all means issue a blanket greeting by saying happy holidays or even season’s greetings. I see these as inclusive not exclusive expressions of kindness.
Although Canadian I have always enjoyed the concept of American Thanksgiving, a four day weekend that is chock-a-block with food, family, friends and football. Interestingly it has outstripped Christmas for family gatherings if travel statistics are used as the indicator – the Wednesday before Thanksgiving being the busiest day of the year for planes and trains. So to my American readers travel safely and have a happy Thanksgiving!