Christmas Eve day, I went to our local grocery store for a couple of things. There were two young ladies, probably high school age, that were ringing their bells for the Salvation Army. I could hear them saying “Happy Holidays” as I came through the door and was smiling to myself because it’s not often you see young people volunteering.
As soon as that thought went through my brain, I heard an old Biddy who was walking out as I was walking in say to the girls, “I was going to give you a dollar but you said Happy Holidays to me instead of Merry Christmas so now I’m not going to.” The two girls looked at each other in disbelief; I looked at the old Biddy and said, “Seriously? You think they can read minds?” The Biddy then shot me a murderous look and kept on going. Everybody in the area stopped talking and turned to look. The girls looked mortified.
(Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I do take extreme exception to any kind of bullying. I’m normally pretty placid until something like this happens, then my mama bear rears her head.)
So, she implies that she’s a Christian by rejecting the Happy Holidays greeting, that Merry Christmas is what she will accept and no other. Is she doing this because she is truly offended that Merry Christmas has been replaced by Happy Holidays? Does she think the girls are implying that she is of a religion other than Christian? Does she not have a dollar in her pocket to give them?
Well, I thought a good Christian was supposed to be tolerant of other religions, which is what Happy Holidays is all about. Perhaps she is one of those that wears her religion on her arm for all to see, but inside she considers herself such a good church-going person that she doesn’t have to adhere to Christian teachings.
I know people who are devoted to their religion and follow the doctrine in every aspect of their lives. I also know people who aren’t fans of organized religion. Both are kind, tolerant and accepting of others.
If The Biddy truly felt that Happy Holidays was a personal affront, she could have acknowledged it with her own “Merry Christmas” just to prove her point and then been on her way. She could have worn a button that is prevalent in our area this year that says, “It’s okay to say Merry Christmas to me.” Instead, she chose to be a Grinch to two kids that were volunteering for a charity. She certainly gave them a lesson about the joys of volunteering, didn’t she? I hope this doesn’t turn them off from volunteering again.
Happy Holidays to me is the best way we have to acknowledge that there are several different celebrations going on at this time of year. It’s not a definitive solution, but we live in a very imperfect world. Pleasing everybody may not be possible, but trying to get along with everybody should be. Practice being kind. If being kind isn’t an option, then being still should be. Taking a stand on every little thing is just too exhausting. Save your energy for the things that really matter.