Happy holidays, man.
I hear it a lot. It’s awkward, indirect and frankly cold and inhospitable.
They look at you and try to guess at your religious orientation, as if gaydar had some denominational equivalent.
Hmmm, is he Catholic, Jewish, Methodist or agnostic?
And then it comes, halfheartedly, because it doesn’t really mean anything more than enjoy your vacation – happy holidays, man.
As the son-of-a-preacher, missionary kid, I take a beating every time I hear the term. A beating of conscience.
There’s a quest, so to speak, to put right the wrongs or perceived wrongs of what I would consider the overzealous religious types. Those who do not recognize anything beyond their own beliefs. Those who forget that our country was founded on religious freedom, not the mores of a single religious group.
I’m guilty of issuing a lot of happy holidays myself, albeit in a spirit of reconciliation. I’ve overcompensated for the religious right while hoping for something a little more centrist.
But this year it struck me that I’ve wished a number of friends happy Hanukkah, ‘Eid Sa’īd or a warmest Diwali.
And for the first time in a long, long time, I heard that rarest of seasonal greetings – Merry Christmas!
It struck me like an awkward chord, something I hadn’t heard in a long time. It wasn’t wrong, it just didn’t sound right. Not in the belly of the big city, the liberal bastion of a blue state.
Happy holidays is technically correct when three of the biggest holidays fall within a month of each other.
But we all know that we cram them all together to avoid offending those who don’t believe in Santa Claus.
Like bland food, let’s do away with it once and for all.
No more happy holidays.
Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, my friends.