I’m a Casualty of the War on Christmas (The Yearly Repeat Blog Post)
Someone last week insisted that she was going to wish people a “Merry Christmas” and not a “Happy Holiday” and that she didn’t wish them a happy holiday at all–ONLY a Merry Christmas.Â Wow, that’s the Christmas spirit?Â How sad.Â If you don’t know what to wish people and don’t have the time or inclination to find out exactly how they celebrate this time of year, rather than pushing your own religious agenda, how about simply wishing someone a GOOD day or aÂ NICE day?
It’s that time of year again when the very word Christmas becomes part of a struggle for control between Christians and pretty much any other religion.Â This is an article that ran for the first time in 2006 and is as pertinent or more so today as the War on Christmas terminology escalates. Â (Really, I can’t believe I’m still running this article year after year or that Sarah Palin and others are still using this terminology.) Â It’s too bad that some people forget their Christ’s compassion when they’re publicly Â remembering the reason for their season.Â Â It’s a time of the year when people tend to be eitherÂ very happy to be with loved ones orÂ very sad not to be–and way more stressed than is necessary.Â Let’s remember to be kind to others who may not be having as merry a time as others are, particularly in the current economy, with soldiers far from home, and a lot of uncertainty about what the next year will bring. Â This season can be especially joyous…or a tragic reminder of joys lost.
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Contrast.
You know what? I donâ€™t really care if you wish me a â€œMerry Christmas,â€ a â€œBlessed Solstice,â€ or â€œHappy Holidays.â€ I donâ€™t. But just wish it for me and donâ€™t demand it of me. Such a wish, in my opinion, should be meant as a lovely personal blessing, not a political grenade.
Iâ€™m doing pretty good, I suppose. Iâ€™m still having moments Â of Â sadness Â juxtaposed Â with Â relief Â and Â solid Â attempts to enjoy the season with my children. I am open to joyful moments, and there have been more than a few sweet ones. So no one needs to avoid me or feel they canâ€™t laugh around me. Most of my co-workers Â stay out of range and let me work quietly. They donâ€™t know what to say and they donâ€™t want to Â intrude, and this is okay. But sometimes I am unexpectedly sad and it shows. If the Law of Attraction is in effect, then I probably draw to me the Â thing Iâ€™m most fearing at this moment, Â which is, I really Â donâ€™tÂ wantÂ to Â be antagonized Â or further stressed right now.
Which is why the woman behind the counter goes to great pains to insist I have a â€œMerry Christmas.â€
Iâ€™m frowning Â intoÂ my purse, Â looking Â for theÂ credit card thatâ€™s Â somewhere Â in there but Â my Â fingers Â instead find the â€œA Life Â Rememberedâ€ Â memento, Â and I wince. Reflex, I suppose. Iâ€™m having an overall good day but the reminder takes me by surprise.
Just then the cashier says, in a not so pleasant way, â€œSmile. Itâ€™s Christmas.â€
I barely hear her. I say nothing. At the moment, my throat is tight and I canâ€™t talk.
When I look up, her eyebrows Â are knitted Â together and her eyes are angry. â€œI said, â€˜Smile. Itâ€™s Christmas.â€™â€
I donâ€™t smile. I donâ€™t feel like it and Iâ€™m not sure I even can right now. Instead, I just nod.
â€œYou donâ€™t have to be so bah-humbug about it! You donâ€™t believe in Christmas or something? Oh.â€ She gets a strange look on her face as if Â she just tasted something rancid. Â â€œWas Â I Â supposed Â to Â say Â â€˜Happy Â Holidaysâ€™ Â or something?â€ She says â€œHappy Holidaysâ€ in a voice thatâ€™s a perfect imitation from â€œThe Exorcist.â€
I stop what Iâ€™m doing and just stare. I shove the little memento back Â into myÂ purse Â and hand Â her Â myÂ credit card. All I can do is blink. I canâ€™t even swallow.
â€œI donâ€™t say, â€˜Happy Holidays,â€™â€ she tells me. â€œI believe in Christ the Lord and I say â€˜Merry Christmas.â€™ Â To everybody. Non-believers, Â too. Â Jews, too. Iâ€™m not going to be a casualty of the war on Christmas. Â Iâ€™m Â going to wish Â everybody Â who Â comes Â through Â this Â line Â today Â a Merry Christmas whether they like it or not. And my employer says I can.â€
She takes my card and totals my bill. Iâ€™m hopeful that sheâ€™s done with her outburst, but I must be giving off my Iâ€™m-a-good-listener-and-you-can-tell-me-anything vibrations because she just Â wonâ€™t shut up.
Iâ€™m breathing Â deeply.Â I mustÂ look absolutely Â miserable.
â€œLook at all these people out Christmas Â shopping,â€ she tells me. â€œTheyâ€™re all so happy.â€
I glance at the long line of impatient people behind me. None of them are smiling either, and the woman behind me keeps sighing her displeasure. Weâ€™re all trying to finish errands Â on our Â lunch Â hour Â and Â none Â of usÂ will make it if the cashier keeps yammering.
â€œEverybody else in the Christmas Â spirit,â€ she continues, finally handing me a receipt to sign. â€œYou need to get into the mood, too. Youâ€™re spoiling it for the rest of us.â€ She takes Â my signed Â receipt Â and looks Â angrily Â into my face. â€œAnd for Godâ€™s sake, if youâ€™re not going to have a Merry Christmas, at least smile.â€
I finally swallow and regain my composure. I respond but my voice is too low to be heard.
She completes Â the business Â transaction, Â handing me my Â receipt, Â credit Â card, Â and Â my Â purchases Â in Â a Â bag. â€œWhat? I didnâ€™t hear you.â€ Her tone is unbearably hateful. My Â presence Â among Â the Â Christmas Â â€œMerry-Makersâ€ Â is irritating to her and she is letting me know it.
I repeat myself, loud enough for her to hear, and I watch her freeze in her tracks.
â€œI said, I just buried my dad and Iâ€™m not really feeling like smiling right now.â€
I leave without another word. I wonâ€™t shove my politics down her throat or demand she wipe the sudden look of shock and embarrassment Â off her face. I could wish her a â€œBlessed Solsticeâ€ or a â€œMerry Christmasâ€ or whatever blessing of celebration would make her happy, but that would beâ€¦disingenuousâ€¦of Â me.