I had my monthly dose of medicine via the stomach jab yesterday and I’m feeling crabby, so I thought I’d wade into the Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas debate/argument/verbal war. I’m in the right frame of mind for a good stoush; at least while I still have the oomph to care about anything.

The problem, as I see it, stems from political correctness being taken too far. I don’t know that it’s actually the law in the USA that you can’t say Merry Christmas any more and everyone has to say Happy Holidays, but there’s certainly an overwhelming social pressure to do so. The thinking is that saying Merry Christmas to someone who isn’t a Christian would be offensive. Therefore, according to the all-wise “they”, the solution to that possible dilemma is to offend the Christian by forcing them to ignore their significant religious holiday in favour of everyone else’s. (This is called “enforced turning the other cheek”.)

Now, I know that there are other significant religious celebrations going on at the same time of the year: Hannukkah and Kwanzaa to name two. I don’t see why people who celebrate them can’t greet me with the appropriate salutation for them. God bless ’em, I say, and Merry Christmas to all.

I also know that December 25 isn’t the exact date of Jesus’ birth. I know that the early Christians appropriated this date for the celebration of the Incarnation of Jesus, to sanitise a “pagan” celebration: the Saturnalia (a Roman religious event). They didn’t want to join in the drunken orgies associated with that particular festivity, so instead they chose to celebrate the birth of Jesus at that time. I expect that, once they started wishing people a happy and blessed Christmas, there was an outcry: It’s not Merry Christmas, it’s Sodden Saturnalia. Don’t steal our holidays!

If the point is not to say anything offensive, then I think there should be a law against the following expressions: You’re fat; you’re stupid; you’ll never amount to anything; F— off!; motherf—-r; don’t tell anyone, kid, it’s just our little secret; I hate you; war, and the use of a deity’s name as a swear word. But, that won’t happen because the USA (and UK, and Australia and other places) have such a thing as ‘freedom of speech’…which you can exercise most of the time, unless it doesn’t suit the people in charge.

I think everyone should climb back down off their soap-boxes and take a few deep breaths.

Non-Christians: if someone wishes you a Merry or Happy Christmas, take it in the spirit it’s given. Think of it as a seasonal form of “have a nice day”. Is that really so offensive?

Christians: not everyone believes in Jesus. Why are you surprised? You can’t force them to celebrate something that means nothing to them. Why do they still get to party? Because the government has made it a public holiday. If it helps, think of it like this: some people have never stopped celebrating Saturnalia.

I can’t believe all the hoohah that goes on about this. Why can’t we put our energy into stopping the practice of child labour, child soldiers, animal abuse, corporate greed, exploitation of the poor…? Now they’re the sort of things that I find offensive.

Happy Christmas/Happy Holidays/Happy Life to you all.