Winter break is just around the corner, and after only a few days and several long test periods, we will be free from the semester. Free to travel home, rest and make merry. Despite such freedom, there is one thing all are still captive to: being wished a “Happy Holidays!” or a “Merry Christmas!” Whether seen plastered across a storefront, or heard while passing a red kettle, these phrases are unavoidable. While these season specific phases are intended to be friendly salutations, they often spark frustration, annoyance and sometimes anger. Regardless of an individual’s religion or lack of religion, there always seems to be potential for outrage. As you enjoy your respite from Mines these discussions may be of little concern to you.
Still I believe all are bound to hear an opinion on the subject, so if you will, please allow mine to be one of the first. Firstly, I think the way businesses use the phrase “Happy Holidays” is superficial. I understand they are hoping to welcome those celebrating Kwanzaa or Hanukkah instead of the Christian Christmas, but since Christmas decorations filled with Christian symbolism are sure to be present, isn’t the phrase merely lip service?
Wishing someone a happy holidays is also used to include those who have no religion and celebrate the holidays of New Years and maybe Festivus, but I find it odd the way nonreligious individuals are vexed by the use of “Merry Christmas.” It is true Christmas contains the word ‘Christ’ in it and it is the day that Jesus’ birth is celebrated, but Christmas day in America is a holiday meant to include all.
The American way of celebrating Christmas is not strictly Christian. There are no Biblical commands to decorate a tree, to sing carols door to door, or to kiss under mistletoe.
These are American traditions and like the American people, a melting pot of cultures. So enjoy this American holiday, wear your ugliest sweater, drink eggnog and have a merry Christmas.