As the holiday season approaches retailers everywhere are vying for my business. They want me to spend money on craft supplies for my tree, cozy sweaters and clothing for Grandma, jewellery for Mom, power tools for my father, cologne for my boyfriend, or, if I can’t be bothered to get creative, gift cards.
I took a quick survey of the websites of stores I was planning to give my business to this year. Beyond my immediate objections to the commercialization of Christmas, I think it’s awful that of twenty major chains, only two actually used the word Christmas in their advertising online.
In the U.S., the American Family Association puts out a yearly naughty and nice list of companies in support of or against Christmas based on their advertising.
Last December, Forbes Magazine published an article about political correctness at Christmastime. The gist of it was that saying “Merry Christmas” is important to shoppers during the “holiday season.”
Frankly, I think the whole debate is a little bit foolish. I get it, we live in a multicultural society. Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, New Year’s Day. Everybody wants something of their own to celebrate during the winter because there’s no sun and we’re all getting S.A.D.
But here’s the thing. Even with all the multiculturalism, the vast majority of people in North America, Christian or not, are celebrating Christmas. Christians are celebrating the birth of the saviour, Jesus Christ. Non-Christians celebrating Christmas are still celebrating Christmas, if only for the excuse to eat turkey and pumpkin pie.
Judging by all the secular Christmas music created (which will never compare to the beauty of O Holy Night, the Huron Carol, or Joy to the World) non-Christians are celebrating snow, Santa, and sex in front of a fireplace.
The thing about trying to be inclusive is that by focusing so much on reaching out to the minority, you’re alienating a pretty significant chunk of the majority. I think it’s great that people are celebrating other holidays around the same time as me!
I also think it’s silly for people to get offended when I say “Merry Christmas.” I’m not offended when Rabbi Yosef wishes me “Happy Hanukkah.” It wouldn’t bother me or deter me from shopping if a store decided to have a Kwanzaa sale.
In a time where diversity is being celebrated, everyone should be up front about what they believe and who they’re trying to reach. It’s not reasonable to be offended by someone wishing you well for the holiday they plan to celebrate. You can wish them the same.
Sanitizing the season with “Happy Holidays” just isn’t necessary, especially if you plan to decorate your shop with Christmas decorations, play Christmas music, and have sales aimed at Christmas shoppers.
Happy end-of-semester-crunch, and Merry Christmas!
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