Christmas is cool. Any holiday which promotes the spirit of giving and sharing can’t be bad. Guess that’s why it transcends a few religions. Unlike our Thanksgiving, which started out as a religious holiday and turned secular, Christmas is a religious cum commercial holiday.
When I was growing up, our family went to church weekly and always Christmas morning — or sometimes midnight mass on Christmas eve. That was then — ancient history. Haven’t done either of those since I grew up (at least physically). Nothing wrong with the church, they mean well and do well. It’s just that the logic of most of it made less and less sense as I went along. I’m open to accepting that perhaps I’ve developed twisted logic.
But in all the circles of people I know, none go to church on Christmas or celebrate Christmas in a religious way (my mother excepted). Not in the U.S., or any other Catholic or Christian in other countries do I know of any who religiously practice Christmas. Buying, sending and receiving presents, or wishing others Merry Christmas doesn’t count.
In several heavily catholic Central and South American countries, they take off weeks around Christmas. Most of the celebration is getting together with family. A very good thing no doubt, but nothing to do with religion. Many celebrate the 24th dancing and drinking in the street. Are they hypocrites? Probably not. Christmas has simply evolved into time off, and an excuse to do good (and party). And, a time to buy, give and receive stuff.
For most, stuff is what it is. Not stuff we need or even want. Thankfully, no one has gotten me any stuff for a few years. No need to feel bad for not returning the gesture of stuff giving. Except that GV did surprise me this year. We, at least us Americans, are “stuff mongers. If we have cash, or active credit cards, we get stuff just because we can. Christmas is a special time where we’ve been indoctrinated with the reason to give (and get) stuff. Sure, when we were small, Christmas day was like a gift orgy we looked so forward to.
Now though, when someone wishes me Merry Christmas, I return the Merry Christmas greeting back. It would be rude not to. But the greeting seems as innocuous as saying have a good day. It’s a nice (empty) greeting. It’s not personal like Happy Birthday. You say it to anyone, or everyone. It really doesn’t mean anything. To be safe, more and more people are simply saying the happy holiday greeting so as not to offend anyone who may not be a Christmas believer.
But it’s the spirit of Christmas that is important. Especially for retailers. There is no holiday during the year that is more important for the retail world — at least in the western part.
When I lived in the UAE, Christmas was a work day. Saturday and Sunday were work days. Even though we were a U.S. company, we couldn’t take off every U.S. holiday, nor could we take off every Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Sri Lankan or European holiday. There were enough local and muslim holidays.
Maybe since then it just stared meaning less. Since then I think I’ve flown over date lines at least twice during Christmas. Once was traveling from the America’s timezone to a new assignment in Mauritius. The entire Christmas day was spent at 40,000 ft. And as I write this, traveling east for a connection in Holland before heading to the Iberian Peninsula, I’ll land sometime Christmas afternoon. In fact, it may have just turned Christmas as I write this paragraph somewhere over the Atlantic. So far, no one on this packed dutch plane (that I’ve heard) has said “merry” or “happy” anything. omg
Last year Christmas was spent with my sister, mother, and other family in a very warm setting at my sister’s home. It couldn’t have been a better time. It was an excuse to get together — a reunion. And it was excellent. I also felt that I was recovering rather well from the radiation which had stopped about one month before. But this year, the recovery seems to have slowed significantly and gotten somewhat worse. That operation in February was more brutal and damaging to my tongue, neck and throat then the chemo and radiation had been. They did such a great job last year, but then came back this year with a wreaking ball. I should have ducked but I just stood there like a dummy.
So Merry Christmas, and stuff. And Happy Holidays and may you get lots of stuff, or give lots of stuff — or both. If your preference is just to shout out a wish of merriment, then by all means, shout it out. And shout it with some stuff. I’m getting stuff low.