Political correctness is not always a necessity

During the winter break, as I wandered around southern Florida, I noticed something that bothered me a bit. Everywhere I went, the people and the signs always said, “Happy Holidays,” or something to that extent.

Very rarely did I see or hear anything about Christmas, Hanukkah or any other religious-related holiday wishes.

Photo courtesy of thebrodskyblog.com

It has become a rule, implied or stated, that one does not mention a specific holiday in order to keep others from feeling offended.

While I do understand respecting the beliefs of others, I do not understand how saying the word “Christmas” offends people.

Christmas was started as, and is supposed to be, a religious holiday, but there are many people who celebrate Christmas in a merely commercial way; they do the presents, the tree, the cookies and the eggnog, but they do not attend a church service or read the Bible.

I am a Christian and absolutely love Christmas, but if someone came up to me and said, “Happy Hanukkah!” then I would simply reply “Happy Hanukkah to you, too!” and genuinely mean it.

I understand that to that person, Hanukkah means something to them and that they would like to share the joy they feel over the holiday with me. I am not offended by the word “Hanukkah” or the fact that it is a Jewish holiday.

It is not about trying to push your beliefs at someone or hitting them over the head with a Bible or a menorah; it is just a way of wishing someone well and expressing your desire that they enjoy themselves. I say “Merry Christmas” because that is what I celebrate, but I am not assuming that whoever I say it to also celebrates it. For me, December means Christmas, so that is what I say. I am telling others that I celebrate Christmas and that I hope they have a wonderful time, no matter what they do. One of the reasons the United States is a country that people want to come to and in which Americans take pride is the freedom.

We have religious freedom, so we can decide for ourselves what we want to believe; we have the freedom of speech, so we can say what we want to say (with some limitations, but that’s really a violence/danger thing).

So why shouldn’t we be allowed to say “Merry Christmas”? A declaration was signed, and a war was fought so that we could say exactly that or something entirely different. We have that freedom, and others have the freedom to respond to it in any way they want.

Other countries do not give their people that right. Some people are persecuted, thrown in jail, or killed for what they choose to believe. We have the right to think whatever the heck we want to and be vocal about it if we so choose.

I am not saying that the word “Christmas” should be everywhere with pictures of the baby Jesus plastered on walls and billboards; however, people should not be restricted from saying what they want to say. Each person should get to choose.

If you want to say, “Happy Holidays,” then go for it. If you want to say, “Merry Christmas,” then please do. If you just want to say, “Screw you!” then say it loud and proud. It is, after all, a free country.

So the next time someone remarks to ward you, “Happy fill-in-the-blank,” just respond with a smile or a thank you, or you can even reciprocate with whatever holiday you celebrate. Don’t be offended; be flattered that they are putting forth the effort to wish you happiness and leave it at that.

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