I was at Walmart the other day and I happened to be sitting on a bench near the registers when I overheard a young and happy cashier wish a shopper Happy Holidays. I smiled at the young man’s enthusiasm. The woman on the other hand, was just about as hateful as she could be when she turned around and said, “Excuse me? We don’t do happy holidays. We say Merry Christmas.”
I was shocked, to say the least. Though, I don’t really know why it shocked me because I witness people’s rude and self centered behavior almost on a daily basis. Like the other morning when I witnessed someone speed through a stop sign in a school zone, never slowing down, so they could be first in line. The woman didn’t even seem to care that she almost hit another mom who was dropping off her child.
But I digress. Merry Christmas. It has become such a debate over the years. Every time I see a post online or hear a discussion about it in person, it’s the same diatribe. By saying happy holidays instead of merry Christmas, we’re apparently taking Christ out of Christmas. Are those who say happy holidays really the ones taking Christ out of Christmas? Do we honestly believe that being hateful to someone who wishes us happy holidays is a Christ-like thing to do? I, for one, think Jesus is embarrassed about some of the things we say and do in His name. The least of which is being hateful about the happy holidays/merry Christmas debate (and the Starbucks holiday cups, but that’s a whole other ridiculous debate.)
I beg you to think before you speak this holiday season. Especially at big chain stores like Walmart. Those employees are just doing what Corporate tells them. They are a global company with shoppers from many different backgrounds. They don’t deserve verbal abuse spewed at them in their quest to be as unoffensive as possible. If a cashier or anyone else wishes you happy holidays, it’s quite easy to respond with a pleasant, “Merry Christmas,” back, or happy Hanukkah or whatever holiday it is that you celebrate. They aren’t forcing you to reply with the same generic phrase.
Of course there is another option if you just absolutely wish to hear Merry Christmas instead of happy holidays. Shop local. I guarantee the cashiers at United or the employees at Box or any of the other local stores won’t be saying happy holidays.
If the weather doesn’t change soon, we might all be saying, “Mele Kalikimaka,” this Christmas. “Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright.” (From Bing Crosby’s “Mele Kalikimaka.”