Being Canadian has to be the weirdest around holidays. Especially in Toronto where there are so many different people from around the world living here. Different cultures, different religions… I take it for granted now, but it’s pretty amazing that we all get along the way we do. Relatively speaking anyways. We still don’t really get along as well as we could, especially around the holidays.
I deal with the public for a living. When someone I’ve been dealing with leaves, I say ‘have a great day’. I say this during the day. I say this at night. I say this every day of the week. I say this on Holidays, both national and religious. It’s my thing. Have a great day. Nobody gets offended. Nor should they. It’s very Canadian to not want to offend anyone.
I first became aware of different cultural beliefs when there was a student in my class whose parents made an arrangement to have them ‘pulled’ from the room every morning when we said the Lord’s Prayer. I think this was Grade 1, and it was quite some time ago, because we sang the national anthem (which I’m sure they still do), but then we followed it with the Lord’s Prayer. That seems crazy to me now for public school to do that, but they did. I guess they figured we were all cool with that. I felt bad for the kid though. It’s just embarrassing to be pulled from the class for 2 minutes a day for any reason. I don’t know if the parents thought this kid would turn into a raging Christian or what, but they didn’t want to take any chances.
As the years went by, more and more immigrants descended on Toronto. They stopped doing the Lord’s Prayer in Public Schools at some point. Which I agree with. People can go to church for that. It should be optional. There are lots of churches here or temples or whatever you need for whatever religion you are. I guess different people’s belief systems make them who they are, and inform them on how to interact in the world. It’s truly interesting and sometimes fun that there are so many, but when Christmas rolls around??? Not so much fun.
The consensus seems to be that in order to be sensitive to everybody here, that we shouldn’t be wishing people a ‘Merry Christmas’. Even if it is Christmas, and there’s no competing holiday for any other religion on that day. The politically correct term we can use is ‘Happy Holidays’. That’s more inclusive. I’m OK with that. I’ll go with the majority. If I’m dealing with the public, I don’t want to assume that you celebrate Christmas. I don’t want to assume that if you did, that you could or would be able to have a happy or merry one. So sometimes I say ‘Happy Holidays’ which is recommended. Most of the time I say ‘Have a great day’ which is even less offensive.
Here’s the real problem. Why is Merry Christmas offensive?? December 25th is Christmas whether you celebrate it or not. When I wish you a Happy Christmas, I’m wishing you a Happy Day. I’m not telling you to go to church, I’m not telling you to sell out your own god, I’m not telling you to decorate your house, I’m not telling you to sacrifice a goat, I’m just wishing you Happy Days. Sunday Monday Happy Days. Tuesday Wednesday Happy Days. Thursday Friday Happy Days. Saturday, what a day, groovin all week with you. You know the rest. I’m just wishing you a happy day. Why is that offensive?? If you said Happy Hanukkah to me I wouldn’t be offended because I’m not Jewish. I’d be happy that you shared some positive words with me. I’d list off a few other examples, but I really don’t know that much about the other religious holidays. Just know that if your religion has a holiday where it’s customary to wish somebody well during that time, you can wish me well, and I would be happy that you did. Not offended, that’s absurd.
To make matters COMPLETELY worse, I’ve noticed a lot of Canadians who do celebrate Christmas posting stuff on their Facebook that is making is seem like ‘Happy Holidays’ is offensive to them because we should be saying Merry Christmas, and never mind what everybody else thinks about it. I understand the sentiment, but really??? You’re badmouthing ‘Happy Holidays’????
Everybody needs to just calm the fuck down!
Whether you believe in Jesus, Santa Claus or somebody or something else, or none of the above…… Christmas is a time to be cool. You’re not being cool! No matter what religion you are part of, the major holidays are about being with your family, friends and spreading good cheer. It’s not about money, expectations, stress and nonsense. All this arguing is bringing me down man. It’s petty. Grow Up!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Have a Great Day!!