This is the time of year when many cultures and traditions celebrate important holidays. In recent years, it has become customary to use the expression “Happy Holidays” as an all-inclusive greeting. Although the intentions are good and designed to make everyone feel included, in some instances it has had the opposite effect.
Many businesses have made it mandatory for their employees to say “Happy Holidays” for fear of offending some. Why should the greeting we choose be a big deal, especially if it is said in the spirit of the season? Is it really necessary to mandate political correctness for a holiday greeting? Wouldn’t it be better to focus instead on the sentiment rather than the words themselves?
It seems in the pressure to be inclusive, somehow we manage to highlight our differences in a way that isn’t perhaps as accepting as it should be. What happens isn’t a celebration of diversity, but a removal of it. Rather than words and trivial things; this is the time of year we should be focused on the larger meaning behind the season.
Peace, love, gratitude, and new beginnings are just some of the common themes of the major Winter holidays. These are ideas we can all rally around regardless of our religious and cultural affiliations and differences.
Happy Holidays is a lovely sentiment, but so are all the others. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Yule, Ramadan or Kwanzaa, it shouldn’t really matter. In the end, what we are truly celebrating is the spirit of the season that warms the heart of all who let it in.
Focusing on unity, tolerance and peace should mean allowing others to express themselves authentically. The greeting itself is of little importance; it is the sentiment and not the words that actually matter. If someone feels the generosity of spirit to bestow a greeting upon me, than I gladly and humbly accept that blessing while wishing them the same.
One of the most beautiful aspects of this time of year are the rich variety of traditions and customs. All of these form the human tapestry that we are all a part of. It is important to be inclusive, but not at the cost of losing the diversity that makes us who we are.
So no matter what holiday you celebrate, may you have a lovely, joyful holiday season filled with reminders of what makes life the special journey that it is.