Ho-Ho-Hold Your Tongue

Stop getting all testy about people trying to wish you the best this season

Megan Orr, Opinions Editor

‘Tis the season for people complaining incessantly about everything. Trust me, I know, because I love to complain. There’s something about the holidays though that really brings out the best and worst in people. We’re sensitive, excited and just generally fragile. So fragile in fact, that a mere festive proclamation of “Happy Holidays!” or “Merry Christmas!” can send people into a spiral of rage. If you’re one of these people, it’s time to pull the Christmas cracker out of your ass and just be grateful that anyone is showing your Scrooge-y self even a little bit of kindness.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all about trying to be inclusive. I will wish people Happy Holidays if I’m not sure how they celebrate and if I feel like they deserve the gesture to begin with. I celebrate Christmas, so for friends and family it’s usually a, “Happy Christmas!” (British Harry Potter style). Here’s the thing though: me having to explain which greeting I use and why is absolutely unnecessary. Just take the well wishes and move on.

Seriously, during a time of year that can be very difficult for individuals and families, just appreciate the fact that someone feels like you deserve anything happy or merry, say “thank you”, return the sentiment if the mood strikes you and then walk away. I mean, if it’s someone you’ve just started a conversation with don’t walk away, but you get my point. Not everything is about you and your beliefs.

This is not a war, no one is trying to take Christmas away from you. “The idea of a ‘War on Christmas’ has turned things like holiday greetings and decorations into potentially divisive political statements,” wrote Liam Stack of the New York Times on the controversy. The fact that people feel like a mere statement of cheer is a “divisive political statement” just shows how much y’all love the drama.

I am absolutely not finger-pointing here either – there are guilty parties on both sides. People get offended if they don’t celebrate Christmas but you wish them a merry one. Other people assert that we have to, “Put the Christ back in Christmas!” when you hope someone has a happy holiday. In a world where it seems like cheer is some form of protest it can be easier to just say “bah humbug” and be done with it.

If someone saying the wrong greeting to you really has the power to ruin your day, you need to re-prioritize. There are so many different ways of celebrating this time of year and if someone is trying to (kindly) spread cheer through their own greeting, allow them to. There’s no need to clarify what you think the best way to celebrate is, seriously. Nobody really cares what your beliefs are. The point is: if you can’t handle someone wishing you a Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays (or Seasons Greetings, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, etc.) maybe it’s best to just stay home until after New Year’s.

If you can manage to share kindnesses with people around the holidays without being a miserable asshole, then please do. I am always just flattered when someone wants to wish me well, any time of year, but especially around the holidays. It takes so little to spread cheer, but people are hesitant because of the idea that your choice of words is some form of personal or political statement. If someone does use the “wrong” greeting to you, there’s no need to correct them. Like I said, it isn’t actually about your beliefs. Bite your tongue, say, “Same to you,” or just smile, following the age old adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” And on that note – merry, happy, festive, cheerful whatever to all of you, dear readers!

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