Five years ago, I was pregnant with my third baby. To help out with the holidays, I was working part-time at Target as a cashier.
Yes, during the holiday season.
When the lines would be non-stop and everyone was irritable.
I tried to stay cheerful: my two boys were being taken care of by their Grammy, I was growing a new baby, and I was helping my family to have a better Christmas. I didn’t work long hours and anything can be tolerable in small doses.
I chatted with the customers as I rang them up. Oh, what a fun toy, who was that for? And such a pretty ornament, I hadn’t seen that one before. And oooh, that’s a great deal, I’m going to go get one of those on my break!
And I said goodbye with “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas!”
Oh yes, I said Christmas.
I don’t remember ever being told what we could and could not say, though there may be an official policy at Tar-jay somewhere.
But, no one seemed to mind my holiday cheer.
Until one day.
Oh, this woman who came through my line- she looked so incredibly stressed out. Her cart was overflowing: so many toys, miles of Santa wrapping paper, and tree decorations.
I smiled at her and nodded my head at all her complaints: how busy the store was, how she needed to get all of her shopping done, how long she’d been in line.
And then, when I handed her the receipt for all her purchases, I said “Merry Christmas.”
She stopped in her tracks, glared at me, and screamed “I don’t celebrate Christmas! I don’t want to hear someone tell me ‘Merry Christmas!’”
To which my pregnant and hormonal self wanted to snap back and say “I can’t say ‘Christmas’ but you can buy Santa wrapping paper and Christmas tree decorations?”
And yes, I know that someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas could be buying such things for someone who does, as a gift.
Sometimes I think we’ve become such an overly-sensitive, politically correct society where every word has to be watched. It’s possible to offend people so easily.
Yes, we take part in the commercial part: we buy gifts and decorate our tree and plan a big dinner. We go see Santa, decorate cookies, and hang our stockings by the fireplace.
But, I also believe that Christmas is the celebration of God’s greatest gift to us: His son. And yes, I do realize that in all likelihood, Jesus was not born on December 25th or even during this season. But, it’s the time of year that we celebrate His birth. And that means something to me.
So during this time of year, I tend to wish you a “Merry Christmas!”
If you don’t celebrate, I don’t mean any offense. “Happy Holidays!” simply doesn’t come naturally to me.
If you were to wish me a “Happy Hanukkah!” I wouldn’t think anything of it. I’d probably smile and say “You, too!” or “Happy Holidays!” or maybe even “Merry Christmas!”
I don’t think that when people wish someone else a happy *insert holiday here* that they are trying to insult or to convert.
And what good does it do to attack someone for a simple greeting?
Do you still wish people a “Merry Christmas?” Do you get offended if someone wishes you one?
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