‘Tis the Season…

…for griping about “holidays.”

First off, I wasn’t planning on discussing the holiday season until we were into Advent. I won’t take a serious look at Christmas stuff until then. A big exception is the gigantic, gorgeous, wishing-I-had-$400-to-spend-on-nothing Creche scene that Sam’s club is carrying this year. It’s not light-up – it’s resin – and it is absolutely one of the prettiest non-Fontanini Nativity sets I’ve seen. But, alas, I havne’t got that kind of money to spend.

Oh, yeah, back on topic.

So, I wasn’t thinking much about revisiting the big “Holdiay versus Christmas” war for a while, but the griping is already starting.

Some people are refusing to shop where the employees have been instructed not to say “Merry Christmas” to customers. For example, last year, lots of people boycotted Wal Mart because of it. I’ll tell you this: I was wished Merry Christmas nearly every time I went to Wal Mart. Why? Because when I was given a “Happy Holidays” by the associate, I smiled warmly and with a cheery voice and love in my heart for her, I said, “Thank you. Merry Christmas.” Almost every time (and this went for other stores, too), I was given the same wish back. Did I get my panties in a knot over it? Certainly not! What’s the point? The employees of these stores have no control over it, and they are merely following orders not to say it first.

If you’ve never worked in retail, especially during the Christmas shopping season, you have no idea how really difficult it is. If you are a happy Christmas shopper (like me), you have no clue how truly nasty some people are while looking for gifts for their loved ones. Apparently, it’s a chore for them! “I have to get X, Y, and Z for little Jimmy for Christmas because he asked for it all.” Golly, just that attitude is a whole different post! (Check back for updates on it! LOL)

But when it comes to us Christians, out shopping for Christmas presents, why are we so concerned about whether or not someone wishes us Merry Christmas as opposed to Happy Holidays? After all, the word holiday comes from “holy day,” and we all know which Holy Day of Obligation they are all alluding to, don’t we?

On one hand, Christians are busy complaining about the commercialization of Christmas. “It’s Jesus’ birthday!” we cry. “And the stores are treating it like just another reason to have a sale. Plus, they put up Christmas trees in mid-October, for goodness’ sake!”

But on the other hand, while we are out partaking of the absolutely killer sales, shopping to our hearts’ content, snapping up gift after gift for our families and friends, we get annoyed that the sales are not labeled as directly related to Jesus’ birthday.

Does that make sense?

Think, for a moment, about the Grinch That Stole Christmas. No, not the Jim Carrey, look-into-his-childhood-to-find-that-the-Whos-caused-his-grinchiness version. The original. The one that reminded us that it’s not the presents that make Christmas. Do your kids honestly know that? Suppose there were no presents at all this year. Would Christmas be the same?

And, if not – even if it would be only a little different … even if the kids would only briefly wonder what the deal is – why not? Could it be because the same Christians who complain about the commercialization of the birth of our Savior while also complaining that the birth of our Savior is not tied closely enough with the sale going on a Sears have also bought into the whole secular deal of Christmas?

And I’m not saying that I’m immune, people. Trust me, I make sure we all get presents for Christmas.

But what is our true focus as we approach Christmas? What is our focus as we enter into Advent? Do we use the season to repent and mend our lives, as we are admonished to do at Mass? Is Advent a mirror of Lent for us?

Or is it a month-long shopping spree where we all get together with our Christian friends and complain that Best Buy won’t remind us of Jesus when we buy that plasma TV?

6 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season…

  1. SUCH a good post!I agree, and I think that we’ll probably go along with the other Traddies at church and exchange gifts on St. Stephen’s Day or St. Nicholas Day, whichever one comes right around Christmas – I can’t recall.For me, I don’t get upset when someone uses the generic “Happy Holidays”, because I want the Jews to have “Happy Holidays”, too. I do get upset when people go out of their way to SUPPRESS Christmas, like calling a Christmas Tree a “Great Tree”, things like that.It’s like Christmas is a dirty word.

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  2. For the record, I also dislike the de-Christmasing of the season, but seriously, it’s not something worth boycotting to me. And I do make sure that we have presents to open Christmas morning (and Santa comes, too). I think I’ll write at the Soccer Mom site about things we’ve started to do to de-emphasize the commercialization this time of year. When I worked in retail, I wished people Merry Christmas through most of the shopping season, but when Hannukah came around, I wished every person Happy Hannukah. If someone said that they weren’t Jewish (or Christian, for the Christmas wishes), I’d answer (always smiling and sincere), “Does that mean you can’t be happy during Hannukah/Christmas?” Most people never think of it that way.Anyway…there is a happy medium to be found. We don’t have to be at each other’s throats over this stuff.

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  3. I am offended when someone says “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. Why? Because Christ is being taken out of Christmas. I watched an interview awhile back where a reporter asked random people on the street questions. Some of them were “What is the true meaning of Easter?” and “Who was born on Christmas?”. The sad truth is there were people who honestly couldn’t answer the question. These people NEED to hear the name of Christ.By the way, Walmart has changed it policy and now uses “Merry Christmas” and says it will stop funding pro-gay organizations. This means that for any Catholic, Walmart is a safe place to shop.

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  4. Christine, when I went to Catholic School back in the 1980’s I remember Sr. Josephine telling us that using “Happy Holidays” was perfectly acceptable because Holidays ment HOLY DAYS. And this nun was fluent in French, Latin, and several other languages.

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