Now add to this the anxiety that occurs over a simple exchange of what should be pleasantry. You say, "Happy Holidays" to someone, either because you don't know what they celebrate and don't want to make assumptions or you're putting whatever winter holiday they do (or do not) celebrate into a nice little bundle with New Year's. In return, you'll most likely receive a 'You too!' which can range from lake bottom frigid to Midsummer warm but you may run into a viper who can't help but say something along the lines of 'It's Christmas!' in an overly indignant manner. If you work in retail or with the public, you know what I'm talking about. If you've been in the shops at this time of year, you may have seen this snake strike out at a hapless clerk who was just trying to be nice.
To these people I say; get the fuck over it. The fact that Christmas comes at the end of the month (just a week before New Year's) has not escaped my notice in my 28 years on Earth. In fact, despite my being a pagan, I celebrate it with my friends and family. Who can't get behind the idea of swapping gifts beneath a glittery tree with friends, family and hot chocolate laced with peppermint shnapps? What's that you say? I forgot the 'Christ' part of Christmas? Of course I did, I worship other gods and honor other traditions just like all of those other folks who also celebrate other holidays. You know, the ones you cram your Christmas down the throats of.
Let me ask you something, Christmas Crazy, if I were to wish you a Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Eid (when it falls in December), Happy Festivus or A Happy Yule during those holiday's times of celebration this month, would you react with as much grace and dignity as the rest of us? I doubt it, because you're batshit crazy. On the other hand, if some pimply kid at the cash register smiles and wishes me a Merry Christmas, rather than pointing the finger and yelling 'USURPER OF YULE!' at him and ranting and raving about the return of the Sun and the Triumph of the Oak King I smile warmly and wish him one as well. And do you know why? Because that kindness means more than the words that were spoken; if someone sincerely wishes me well, that is what counts. Because those simple kindnesses are few and far between in our increasingly cold, greedy and self serving population. Just ask the people who were pepper sprayed and beaten up over towels at Walmart on Black Friday. Towels, folks.
In a time when people use methods of self defense in order to buy the cheapest quality shit they can lay hands on, we should be grateful for each and every act of kindness we receive; regardless of that person's spirituality, looks, etc. If someone is willing to make eye contact and be warm, you've hit the momentary jackpot. Because personally - as someone who works as a lowest level employee in one of those evil banks right now (because I enjoy things like electricity and eating) and has at least a handful of people a week accuse me of personally stealing their money (in the form of fees) when they overdraft for my personal million dollar a year bonus - I don't say a damn word of holiday cheer. I don't need anymore dirty looks or ugliness to be tossed in my general direction and so, in true Grinch fashion, I'll only wish you a nice day. Which is truly, a bit sad.
So this year, while you're strung out on Starbucks and running a million and one errands to get yourself through the season with not a tear to be shed by anyone (including yourself) take into account that not everyone celebrates the same holidays (or celebrates your holiday for the same reason) as you. If someone wishes you a Happy Holiday/Merry Christmas/Wonderful Winter, sincerely thank them and move on with your day. I celebrate Yule, which will never, ever be something that I am wished a 'very merry' by in a public forum and I'm cool with that. And if I (and numerous other pagans/heathens/witches/etc) can be, then so can you.
Also, some more food for thought. This season, why don't we all take that 'Good will toward man' thing seriously. Because regardless of your religious belief, it's just a damn fine rule for being human! Let's put away the pitchforks and torches. Quit the mud slinging. And no one should be saying "Christ" or get the fuck out, like this asshat who clearly needs to pick up a history book and learn about the why's of certain traditions, symbols and phrases added to our country's wording:
I could say so many things about this, but Kallan over at The Secret Life of an American Working Witch has already cited enough references and reasons that this person should take down their sign and be ashamed - even outside of it just plain being an ugly sentiment. So I'll leave you with this - quit associating holly leaves (which I hold dear at this season) with your ignorance and learn to practice what Christ taught. Because, I doubt he'd be proud of you right now.