If my honest use of the word “Christmas” has not caused you to wither away in disgust, then stick with me a bit longer. I have watched, with great amusement, the debate over the use of the word Christmas during the last few weeks. What I have to say may surprise you.
I don’t have a problem with stores greeting customers with the phrase “Happy Holidays”. I just don’t find it offensive. It’s dishonest, but not offensive. Let me ‘splain this one to you Lucy.
A lot of people celebrate holidays during this time of year. Christians, as you may have heard, celebrate the Christmas holiday (which stands for Holy Day). Our Jewish neighbors celebrate Hanukkah during this time of year. It’s a beautiful holiday celebrating a miracle of the same God we share. Our Muslim neighbors have a holiday. For all I know, atheists may celebrate Nothingmas and sing non-sectarian carols all the Newdow day. It doesn’t matter. It’s just good business to issue a blanket greeting to someone when they enter your store.
However, let’s be honest with ourselves. The whole argument is a stunt designed to get attention from a populace that has the collective attention span of a moth. What was I saying? Oh yeah.
I’d give all of the money in my pocket (a quarter, by the way) to have been in the meeting where the politically correct dufus announced that his store would sell “holiday trees” this year. I don’t want this to sound insensitive (yes I do), but they are called Christmas trees. No other Holy Day celebration involves putting lights and shiny things on a fake tree in your living room. Calling your Christmas trees “holiday trees” isn’t insulting to Christians – of which I am one – it is insulting to all of your customers to presume they are impressed by such shallow political correctness.
I’m not asking anyone to be disrespectful. Be honest with your customers. When they get out of their cars and they see the green and red decorations around your store, they know you are saying “holiday” and meaning “Christmas”. When they see the fat guy in the red suit, they don’t think he’s Hanukkah Harry. When they enter your store and the muzak is playing holiday carols, they figure out pretty quick that those are not Buddha ballads or Solstice Songs. They are Christmas carols.
Christmas is big business. Why else would malls start decorating for Christmas right after the 4th of July every year? I live in Alabama. It’s a pretty place but I cannot relate to dashing through the snow when it is still 85 degrees outside on a cold day. Obviously there is a financial reward to the holiday season.
Be honest with your customers. If you want to be inclusive to other traditions – and you should – then do something to attract people from other traditions if it is advantageous to your business. This is a free market society (sort of) after all. But if you are gearing up for the Christmas season, decorating for the Christmas season, and hoping to make most of your sales for the year during the Christmas season – then admit that you celebrate the Christmas season. Your customers know what the trees are for and they are not offended. 😉
America is the world’s only true melting pot culture. That’s what makes us great. We can respect different beliefs and still be united under one flag. We don’t need wishy washy symbolism and politically correct nonsense to act as the self esteem police to shield us from other ideas. What we need is a little common sense. If you ask your customers to spend their money with you for Christmas, then don’t pretend it isn’t Christmas. if you don’t want to acknowledge Christmas, then don’t decorate for it, don’t advertise for it, and don’t accept profits from it. Simple enough.
Americans of every background would appreciate the honesty.