Dear Editor: I have no quarrel with people who overlook Christmas’s being a Christian feast celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. But I am somewhat inclined to take offence when someone says I am over-sensitive if annoyed by his ostentatiously drawing my attention to his deliberately dismissing the occasion’s significance, which is what most do who wish me “happy holidays.”
Those person, usually, are not overlooking anything, unless incredibly obtuse. The holidays in question are evidently the Christmas holidays; if you don’t believe me, try going around wishing everyone “happy holiday!” on July 1 and see if people don’t remind you that it’s Canada Day and not Christmas.
If you don’t want to offend Muslims or Jews, or people who you just don’t know are Christian, you can simply wish them, politely, “Good day.” I’m not much inclined, though, to be offended thus by the hapless and unfree employees of giant retail stores who wish me “happy holidays.” That is partly because those persons mostly are not at liberty to offend, and partly because I find the very existence of giant retail stores highly offensive to begin with, and there’s not much I can do, just yet, about that.
What the masters of those employees mean by the phrase “happy holidays” is that any pretext for receiving money from customers makes those masters happy, if sufficient cash is forthcoming, and that they can’t “offend” the majority of customers by evidently acting as if Christmas didn’t matter to that majority.
Feigning to pretend that the holiday in question is not Christmas will most likely placate the larger minorities, and calling attention to your scouting an idea is a tacit admission that it may be important to some (win-win for retailing). But retail giants can’t afford to prompt the reflection that a religion might be more important than retailing, especially in the light of what the current Catholic Pope has to say about unbridled capitalism.
Those who claim that Christmas really is and ought to be the celebration of the pagan “winter solstice” ought not to fool anyone; that pagan celebration was never one of most moderns’ own traditions and their reason for pretending that it is a valid one is likely to be only their own hostility to genuine religious belief.
Colin Burke, Port au Port