So I see a post on Facebook. “Are you AFRAID to say Merry Christmas? I’m not! Share if…” blah blah. It’s right in tune with the other “I’m saying Merry Christmas!” and other “War on Christmas” posts. I look around town, at the myriad of lights, nativity scenes, cars with Santa hats and stores filled with Christmas music, and I have to ask–what war? It’s the only religious holiday when many people get a day off. (Buddhists don’t really have many holidays, but if we did, I can guarantee the whole country wouldn’t close schools and stores for them!) Many radio stations have switched entirely to Christmas music, all the stores are decorated for it, and the city covers itself in lights. What, exactly, are you lacking if you wish to celebrate Christmas?
No one is stopping you. You have far more accommodations than any other religion, and yet someone went as far as saying that not hearing “Merry Christmas” during December is horrible, and “happy holidays” is persecution.
Persecution? Perhaps we need a refresher on what persecution is. People being murdered for their beliefs is persecution. People being beaten is persecution. Being forced into hiding because of your beliefs is persecution. Look around at your town. Are any of the above occurring? No? Seeing lots of lights, music and people celebrating out the open? Then you’re not being persecuted. Not having a nativity scene at a courthouse or a Christmas play in a public school is not persecution. No one is stopping you from doing what you love. You may be annoyed, but you are not persecuted.
Maybe you love hearing Merry Christmas and it’s important to you. That’s okay, but it’s not the rest of the population’s duty to placate you. If not hearing “Merry Christmas” from the total stranger checking you out at the store ruins your day, perhaps you should go volunteer in a domestic violence shelter or a soup kitchen and get some perspective.
Likewise, non-Christians, hearing “Merry Christmas” isn’t going to ruin your day, either. It’s not an affront to you, or an indication that you need to run to church and convert. They’re words, meant in the spirit of kindness. Also, it’s not a holiday tree, it’s a Christmas tree. Have one or don’t. Christmas is a tradition that has roots here, and lecturing people about why you don’t like it, or why my children shouldn’t participate, is just as irritating as the persecution bit above. I’m not a Christian, but Buddhists are allowed to celebrate other holidays from religions that preach peace, so I celebrate Christmas in my own way, and I enjoy it.
As for me, I like hearing Merry Christmas. I like Happy Holidays too. I’ll also take Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Have a Nice Day, or Stay Warm. Frankly, as long as it’s not “go fuck yourself,” I’ll take anything. Take words of kindness and return them with words of kindness. After all…isn’t that what the season is for?