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Thread: Offended by Christmas greetings...

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Bremerton, Washington, United States
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    2,932

    Default Re: Offended by Christmas greetings...

    I wrote this several years ago. I guess it needs saying again....

    Happy holidays, everyone! Oh, wait... excuse me. Which holiday do you celebrate in December; Christmas? Chanukah? Yule? Maunajiyaras? You see, there are so many holidays this month that it's easy to get confused. And I don't want to insult anyone.
    Only one holiday this month, you say? I do apologize, but beg to differ, as do many others of different faiths. There can be as many as 17 or more holidays that fall during the 12th month of the Gregorian calendar, depending upon both the solar and lunar calendars.

    Maybe you are a Baha'i. If so, then you celebrate the start of two months of your year in our December; Masa'il and Sharaf. The Baha'i calendar consists of 19 months of 19 days. They even out the years by adding a leap year, much as we do every four years.

    Perhaps you are a Muslim. Some years, the month of Ramadan ends about now which means that Eid-al-Fitr, the Breaking of the Fast, will occur in December. If this happens then Laylat al-Qadr will also fall in this month. On this day, the Muslims celebrate the first revelation of the Qu'ran to Mohammed.

    If you are Jewish, you may be celebrating Chanukah this month. The Festival of Lights commemorates the miracle of the Temple and lasts eight nights. It is not, as some believe, as "Jewish Christmas" but a holiday all its own which has been celebrated for hundreds of years by Jews the world over.

    December marks the coming of the Winter Solstice. There are two religions which hold this day as sacred. The followers of Shinto call it Toji-Taisai and for them, it marks the return of their Sun Goddess, Amaterasu. To Neo-Pagans of all stripes this is Yule, and marks the turning of the Wheel of the Year and the sun's rebirth. Even non-religious people observe this day as a secular turning point - the longest night of the year.

    Maybe you follow the Jain religion. If so, this is a quiet holiday for you. Maunajiyara is a day of fasting, silence and meditation. This day honors the monks, teachers and religious leaders of Jainism.

    If you are Sikh, you honor the birthday of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, the Ninth of the Ten Sikh Gurus and a devout defender of religious liberty.

    Rohatsu, also known as Bodhi Day, is December 8th. Buddhists celebrate it as the day the Buddha attained enlightenment while sitting in meditation under the bodhi tree.

    Zoroastrians will remember the founder of their faith on the anniversary of his death on the 26th of December. You will also celebrate Ghambar Maidyarem from December 31 through January 1 as the time of the creation of earth's animals.

    If you are African-American you may have adopted the relatively new holiday of Kwanzaa. While it is a recent arrival to the list of December holidays, it honors the ancient heritage of your people.

    Catholics remember many Saints this month; St. Nicholas, St. Francis Xavier, St. Lucy (if you're Scandanavian, this is St. Lucia's Day), and two Johns (St. John of the Cross and St. John the Evangelist), among many others. Latin Catholics honor Our Lady of Guadeloupe. And among the most important of Catholic holidays, the Feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of The Holy Family fall in December.

    So, you see, the best way to greet people you do not know in this crowded month of holidays is "Happy Holidays!" But, many of you may be thinking, can't I tell by looking? Isn't a turban or yarmulke obvious? Perhaps, but it's certainly not foolproof. Not all Jews wear yarmulkes outside of Temple. Not all Latinos are Roman Catholic. Not every covered head means a Muslim.

    Let's pretend for a moment that everyone will get insulted when not given the "proper" holiday greeting (and what a horrible world that would be to live in). What if, seeing no yarmulke, I wish my Jewish acquaintance a "Merry Christmas"? Or my Zoroastrian friend a "Happy Chanukah"? Should I presume that my African-American postman celebrates Kwanzaa? Shall I assume that every white Anglo family I see is Christian? They might be Neo-Pagan. Or atheists. Or even converts to another faith. That would certainly create a lot of bad feeling in this most happy of months, wouldn't it? It would be so much better if everyone would accept any and all well-wishes with grace. You can accept them and reply as you like: if you want to wish me "Merry Christmas" even though I'm not Christian, I think that's wonderful and I thank you. Can't we all do this? Is it really so difficult in this season to spread good feelings? Of course not.

    No, the best greeting for this time of year is "Happy Holidays." That way, you're pretty much covered and everyone spreads the cheer. And as for this so called "war on Christmas:, it behooves us to remember that it in no way belittles nor degrades our own holiday to acknowledge others. When you say, "Happy Holidays!" you are saying, "we all celebrate something this time of year; may your holiday be as wonderful and joyous for you as mine is for me." And I so wish it. Happy Holidays, everyone!

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    outside the dome
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    1,259

    Default Re: Offended by Christmas greetings...

    i must second the gnt again....100% perfect answer, ms mod


  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Offended by Christmas greetings...

    People come to our country knowing the common traditions and beliefs that we practice. We welcome them with open arms and hearts! I personally think tolerance and respect works both ways. It saddens me that we have to respect other people's opinions and change every little thing that makes our country so wonderful to suit a minority opinion, and that the same courtesy and respect is not afforded to the majority. I am offended by that.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    14,080

    Default Re: Offended by Christmas greetings...

    Quote Originally Posted by AnnaMarie View Post
    The picture is not associated to the article.

    Quote from article:

    If it's like buses in my city, where it normally says the bus route and number, it flashes between that information and "Merry Christmas". No taxpayer money involved. I do wonder what other messages have flashed on the buses and whether he even noticed them.
    I understood that wasn't a picture of a bus.

    I did get off track with the mention of taxpayer money being spent on public displays for Christmas. While I don't personally have a problem with them and wouldn't object, I still stand by agreeing in principle with the person who is objecting on the basis that if a country is secular, then no one religion should be given consideration above all others. That is to say, I understand his reasoning and think he has a point. What a private company or individual does is entirely up to them. Do you think he would have had a problem had the message said the generic Happy Holidays which would be inclusive of all (and as Tery pointed out, there are a LOT of December holidays)? Why shouldn't the others be given recognition and validation just because they are in the minority (where that is the case)?


  5. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Kansas City
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    3,847

    Default Re: Offended by Christmas greetings...

    Quote Originally Posted by SharonC View Post
    People come to our country knowing the common traditions and beliefs that we practice. We welcome them with open arms and hearts! I personally think tolerance and respect works both ways. It saddens me that we have to respect other people's opinions and change every little thing that makes our country so wonderful to suit a minority opinion, and that the same courtesy and respect is not afforded to the majority. I am offended by that.
    That actually would only be the case if, for example, they ONLY wanted their stuff shown. For example, if a Jewish person said "I don't want to see Merry Christmas, but I DO want to see Happy Hunukkah," that is the same thing as saying "Why can't we just say Merry Christmas?" and it's kinda ... jerky. But saying "Hi, I'm here, I pay my taxes, I am a good neighbor and citizen, and I am helping to pay for this thing, so I would like to be recognized, at least generically with 'Happy Holidays'" ... that is not disrespecting anyone.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    near georgian bay
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    63

    Default Re: Offended by Christmas greetings...

    Quote Originally Posted by Todash View Post
    I see your point, staro, but he's not going off on some random person wishing him a merry Christmas; he's simply objecting that his tax dollars are used to pay for something to which he doesn't personally subscribe. I don't celebrate Christmas myself, so I understand where he's coming from a little bit.

    Would I complain like he is? Nah, prolly not; I'd file it under "not a big enough deal to get my panties in a bunch over." I'd rather support that bus display than some other rather shifty governmental endeavors with my tax dollars, but it's not like I get the choice. And if someone wishes me Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Kwanzaa, or Happy Holidays, I recognize and appreciate it for the expression of goodwill that it is. But I think he's making a valid point. To *include* only one specific holiday on a publicly-funded display is to *exclude* the others.
    Why not have rotating signs that include all religious holidays?

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    936

    Default Re: Offended by Christmas greetings...

    sorry, Ms Mod...I thought you might have thought the picture was of some "weird Canadian bus stop".

    Anyway, it is unlikely this is the one and only message that has ever flashed on a bus in that city. Here, I've seen occasional messages flashing "Go Leafs Go" or messages of congratulations. (Admittedly, not often our home teams get congratulations.). I'm not sure the last time I saw a holiday message. But, I do wonder if where the complaint went in they have always posted holiday messages, and do so for more then just Christmas.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Kansas City
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    3,847

    Default Re: Offended by Christmas greetings...

    Quote Originally Posted by SharonC View Post
    People come to our country knowing the common traditions and beliefs that we practice. We welcome them with open arms and hearts! I personally think tolerance and respect works both ways. It saddens me that we have to respect other people's opinions and change every little thing that makes our country so wonderful to suit a minority opinion, and that the same courtesy and respect is not afforded to the majority. I am offended by that.
    I also meant to say something about Canada but forgot.

    People the world over celebrate Christmas. I think the US does it with a certain flair--to immediately follow the ONE official day of thanks for what we already have with the absolute craziest shopping day of the year demands a hefty share of chutzpah--but really, Christmas has become so very widespread that it's not something most people associate with a certain country, though it is something that's associated with specific religions.

    I haven't spent a lot of time in Canada, but a few years ago in June we drove from Alaska to Kansas City, and we traveled through several of the western provinces along the way. So here is this outsider's view of what is special about Canada.

    • The sheer beauty of it. Miles and miles and miles of nothing but pretty. And considering the lack of hideous billboards and such, I can tell you all know what you have and want to keep it that way.
    • Some of the best breakfast sausage I have ever eaten. A tiny little motel we stayed at offered a free hot breakfast, which some motels in the States do, but it's usually sad little powdered eggs and such. This was a take-your-order, how-would-you-like-your-eggs breakfast. The sausage was da bomb diggity.
    • What surely must be the nicest, cleanest roadside rest stops in the world. When you have been in the car for eight hours, that matters. A lot.
    • No fountain soda, like, anywhere that wasn't close to the US border. Probably made my trip a bit healthier than it would have been, though I admit at first I was annoyed.
    • The biggest, most vicious, bloodsucking mosquitoes I've ever encountered. One got in the car, and when I smooshed it against the window, the resulting smear looked like a crime scene.
    • And the best thing: in every province, from Yukon to Saskatchewan, in rural areas, small towns, and cities, every person we met was kind, helpful, friendly, and open. NICE, in other words. A lot like my little patch of the Midwest, in fact, except a lot colder, a bit cleaner, and with homicidal mosquitoes the size of small birds.

    That's what you've got going for you. That's what makes Canada special. Well, that and the health care. And the law enforcement officers that keep a certain Canadian friend of ours safe. Not an exclusive sign on a bus.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Right here.
    Posts
    374

    Default Re: Offended by Christmas greetings...

    Sheesh, someone needs to refill his Prozac. (Or is it Proozac in Canada? )

    When speaking to people I don't know well, I tell them to enjoy the holidays, just as a blanket statement. Just seems easier. I guess if I stretch, I can see getting all pissy about a Christmas message, because yes, public funds are being used. But to say that his civil rights were violated? Uh, no. Someone saying Merry Christmas, Merry Yule, or Happy Hannukah in no way is restricting the rights of a person to celebrate the holiday they choose to, or not celebrate at all. It seems to me that if one's faith is so vital to their life, it shouldn't be shaken by a greeting from another belief system.

    On a side note, I really like it when people offer greetings that aren't Christmasy. I can't say that it's like being invited to join their religion, but they cared enough to extend themselves and share what they believe, and wish me the best of it. It's a kindness, not meant to offend, and that's how I take it.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Alberta Canada
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    1,713

    Default Re: Offended by Christmas greetings...

    Quote Originally Posted by Todash View Post
    I also meant to say something about Canada but forgot.

    People the world over celebrate Christmas. I think the US does it with a certain flair--to immediately follow the ONE official day of thanks for what we already have with the absolute craziest shopping day of the year demands a hefty share of chutzpah--but really, Christmas has become so very widespread that it's not something most people associate with a certain country, though it is something that's associated with specific religions.

    I haven't spent a lot of time in Canada, but a few years ago in June we drove from Alaska to Kansas City, and we traveled through several of the western provinces along the way. So here is this outsider's view of what is special about Canada.

    • The sheer beauty of it. Miles and miles and miles of nothing but pretty. And considering the lack of hideous billboards and such, I can tell you all know what you have and want to keep it that way.
    • Some of the best breakfast sausage I have ever eaten. A tiny little motel we stayed at offered a free hot breakfast, which some motels in the States do, but it's usually sad little powdered eggs and such. This was a take-your-order, how-would-you-like-your-eggs breakfast. The sausage was da bomb diggity.
    • What surely must be the nicest, cleanest roadside rest stops in the world. When you have been in the car for eight hours, that matters. A lot.
    • No fountain soda, like, anywhere that wasn't close to the US border. Probably made my trip a bit healthier than it would have been, though I admit at first I was annoyed.
    • The biggest, most vicious, bloodsucking mosquitoes I've ever encountered. One got in the car, and when I smooshed it against the window, the resulting smear looked like a crime scene.
    • And the best thing: in every province, from Yukon to Saskatchewan, in rural areas, small towns, and cities, every person we met was kind, helpful, friendly, and open. NICE, in other words. A lot like my little patch of the Midwest, in fact, except a lot colder, a bit cleaner, and with homicidal mosquitoes the size of small birds.

    That's what you've got going for you. That's what makes Canada special. Well, that and the health care. And the law enforcement officers that keep a certain Canadian friend of ours safe. Not an exclusive sign on a bus.
    I love this post Todash! Everything that you said is exactly what makes me proud to say I am Canadian! Thank you Todash, that was very special.

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