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Merry Christmas, Mason - Have A Happy Holiday!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 • Posted December 22, 2010

I'm tired of hearing the arguments. Clerks should say merry Christmas rather than happy holiday! If someone says something other than merry Christmas, it is a slight to our Christian religion!

In the words of Ebenezer Scrooge, "Bah! Humbug!"

If you've ever worked in any retail environment, or had to deal with the public all day long in a store, office or restaurant, you know that the words that spill out of your mouth by the end of the day start to lack any real enthusiasm or meaning. After the fiftieth time that you've told someone to "Have a nice day," you don't even hear yourself say the words anymore.

In the last few weeks, I've been greeted with "merry Christmas," "happy holidays," Feliz Navidad," and any number of other greetings. When I lived in Austin, it wasn't uncommon to even be greeted with "Happy Hannukah," especially since the celebrations overlap, both involve celebration, and both involve gifting. I was never personally wished a "Happy Kwanza," but heard the greetings being exchanged at the little grocery store in east Austin where I occasionally stopped for gas.

What people say is their own choice. If they want to tell me, "See ya later," or "Come back again," that's their choice. If they've been working an eight hour shift, dealing with the public (not an easy task in case you've never had to do it), and they just want to say "thanks for coming in," I'm fine with that.

But now, we've decided that if everyone doesn't specifically wish us a merry Christmas, they need to be reprimanded. Why? I'll wish them a merry Christmas, and if they want to reply in kind, that's wonderful. If they respond with Hannukah greetings, solstice salutations or Buddhist blessings, that's perfectly fine as well, and it's their right to choose what to say.

The controversy began when some retailers encouraged their sales staff to not say "merry Christmas" to the customers shopping in their stores. Management decided that, even though Christmas decorations had been up since Halloween, some people might not be comfortable being wished a specific greeting that seemed to endorse one religion. I find that a bit disingenous, since the shopping frenzy in the stores seldom has anything to do with Christmas, and everything to do with sales. What greeting a clerk may or may not choose to give me when I shop at that store will not change how I choose to greet them.

I also will not impose my choice upon them by insisting that if they don't say words I'm comfortable hearing, they are offending me. That's a type of political correctness that is just silly and unnecessary.

At the end of the day, I want to say something to the clerks and salespeople that let them know I appreciate the fact that they are still helpful, still courteous and still friendly, even though they had to referee a fight over the last iPad on the shelves, had to find a child's parents after they became separated in the store, and had to miss lunch because everyone decided to go shopping on their own lunch hours and no one was able to take a break.

So choose the greeting you want. Use the words you feel comfortable using. If you wish me a "Happy Holiday," I know that you mean that you want me to have a merry Christmas and a happy new year. I'm not going to be angry that you didn't specify the denomination of the holiday, I'm going to assume that you really mean what you've said and I'll take it in that spirit.

I'll say Merry Christmas, and later, happy new year. I'll mean it, and I hope you'll know that. And I hope that the blessings of the season will wrap you up and lift you into the bosom of the Lord. That's my feeling, my words, and my choice.

Make your own.

It’s all just my opinion.

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