Wednesday, November 13, 2013

HAPPY HOLIDAYS (And Other Hurtful Phrases)

Happy Holidays bitches.

It's that time of year where we do all the things that require us to ask Jesus for forgiveness.  While out trudging through snow packed parking lots we will likely come upon the phrase "Happy Holidays" at least once.  Which means there will be some people who will react as if you just burned their bible in front of them.  The fact that there are people who find this phrase offensive and an attack on their religion should be more alarming to all of us.  It’s a neutral greeting made for the holiday season and to find it offensive is as ridiculous as being offended by someone saying “Hi” instead of “Hello”.  Actually it stupider as one could make a proper grammar argument about Hello vs. Hi.  But let’s come back to this. 

For far too long the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) has been the day people employed in retail have had to get out of bed at 3:00 in the morning so that the worst people on the planet could score an unbelievable door buster deal on a toaster.  Or a flat panel TV.  And bless the poor sons of bitches under the employ of Sam Walton’s offspring.  Because in Wal-Marts around the country, shoppers take the term “Door Busters” literally as they trample the old and the weak on their way to big savings on a blu-ray player.  After all.  With great savings comes great sacrifice. 

As stories of people being trampled increased, you’d think we could all agree that it was time we re-examine just what the hell it is we’re doing.  Getting out of bed just as our REM sleep was beginning to kick in.  Bundling up and heading out to fight others willing to make the same sacrifice all in the name of saving a few bucks.  When did getting a good deal on electronics become something we brag about?  But instead of assessing our priorities, we up the ante.  Opening at 4:00 am the day after Thanksgiving wasn’t early enough.  We need to open on Thanksgiving at 8:00 PM.  Ensuring those who work in retail for a living that they will never have a Thanksgiving off.  Think about that for a moment.  Never.  For what?  I only ask that one person explain to me why this is necessary or even good.  Explain to me how this isn’t selfish.      

While we could go on about the commercialization of Christmas but to me this is more than that.  This is mean.  This is lack of empathy.  This is… evil.  While it’s true that Wal-Mart is a diabolical corporate entity that does more to keep poor people poor than the lottery, it’s the consumers that turn a blind eye in the name of savings.  It’s the consumer who chooses to follow the trend instead of create it.  It is the consumer who turns a blind eye to the person they are stepping on.  It is the consumer who is to be held accountable.

At least when it was just stupid early it had the feel of an event.  But now, opening at 8:00 pm and closing at 2:00 am.  Then opening at 6:00 am?  Why?  Let's tie in the whole Happy Holiday’s controversy.  

Those who drop change in a tray a couple Sunday’s a month while attending some sort of Christian faith feel they own the Holiday.  It is in theory the day we celebrate the life of Jesus and he’s the one they pray to when they need forgiveness for being a horrible human being.  So they kind of got a point. So they get a little defensive when someone has the nerve to say “Happy Holidays” in lieu of “Merry Christmas”.  They feel it minimizes the true meaning of the Holiday.  Too bad they don’t feel that way about walking across someone’s skull at 4:00 in the morning in an effort to get the Gilmore Girls Complete Series box set DVD for 10 bucks.

In other words, you should’ve seen this coming.  Christmas is more than a day Christians remember Jesus and give thanks for his sacrifice.  Publicly traded companies close their doors for a couple of days.  Schools, public schools, shut down for what they conveniently call Christmas break.  And guess what. Some of the people who attend those schools and work at these places aren’t Christian.  But for some reason, they too like presents.  Greed and selfishness is not something those of Christian faith should feel entitled to and is the main reason Christmas has become so mainstream.  And now that it is shared by companies that employ and are patroned by people of all faiths, that same selfishness rears its head.  Over a greeting.   

Lets face it.  There are more Christians exchanging presents than there are Christians making time for Jesus by attending a holiday service.  Search your feelings.  You know it to be true.  In other words, the people who have the biggest problem with the term “Happy Holidays” are the ones responsible for it.  It’s because of their willingness to continually amp up the commercialization of Christmas that has forced retailers to come up with a generic Holiday greeting.  So ask yourself, what will you be doing Thanksgiving or Black Friday?

Keep in mind, there is no one forcing anyone to not say Merry Christmas.  Or replace it with Happy Holidays.  You have to want to be offended by someone saying Happy Holidays.  What would Jesus do?  Turn the other cheek?

Alas those responsible will never account for their actions making a column like this preaching to the choir.  At the very least I implore this. 

If you must venture out into the myriad of Door Buster deals just take a second to smile and maybe throw in a thank you to the people willing to sacrifice their time.  After all, it’s the Holidays.  We should be nice.  Right? 

Happy Holidays!             

1 comment:

  1. The only thing I'd add is to remind those Christians complaining about "Happy Holidays" is that Hannuka and Kwanza are also celebrated this time of year. And Christmas was originally, in fact, the pagan celebration of the winter solstice that Christians chose to co-opt because those darned pagans refused to convert to Christianity because they discouraged the celebration.