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Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"

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Monday, December 6, 2010

touchy Topic Tuesday- Have Yourself a Politically Correct Little Holiday Season

Oh man!!! My new Meme, "Mommier-Than-Thou Mondays" totally flopped yesterday!!!

Not only did NO ONE link up, I only got ONE comment!!! Awwwww!!!!

Come on mommies! Lets make it work next week- Grab my button from the side bar, and tell us why you're a better mommy than ANYONE else!!!!

Touchy Topic Tuesday:

Have Yourself a Politically Correct Little Holiday Season

So, maybe it's just my pregnancy hormones that have gone haywire...I don't think so, because I can't really stand disrespect anyway...but I have really been rubbed the wrong way by those people who just can't handle the Christmas spirit and insist on being politically correct about everything.

First of all, there are a lot of holidays happening in December. Many of them are religious. Hanukkah for example, as well as Christmas. And don't forget Kwanzaa, which, admittedly, I don't completely understand as i have not thoroughly studied it.

As teachers of a group of girls ages 9 to 12 at our church, Brandon and I decided that, since we studied the Old Testament this year and will next year be studying the New Testament, our class Christmas party would be focused on learning about Hanukkah, the holiday that Christ himself would have celebrated, and the miracle that happened BETWEEN the Old and New Testaments.

On Sunday, we announced to our girls the theme of the party.

Now, in her defense, this girl was a granddaughter to a woman in our ward and is not regularly in our class, so she was not used to us, or the regular dose of culture, tolerance, and what my husband calls "Gee-whiz information" that we try to emphasize with our girls. However, multiple moments with her ten-year-old sass, crass, and disrespect eventually pushed me over the edge.

"But we aren't Jewish. I don't believe in Hanukkah...why in the world would I want to learn about it or celebrate it?"

Of course, we spent more time explaining why a Christian should care about Hanukkah, and from there, the conversation spiraled into another girl mentioning that Christ's birthday isn't even IN December, and why do we celebrate it then?

Okay, well, this is something i hear on a regular basis, not just from my 10 year olds. Yes, it's a holiday that derived from a Pagan holiday called Yule Tide. Yes, there is evidence that his birthday was actually in the spring. I really have to say that if this is really something that ticks you off that much, you need to look for something else to be passionate about because it's really not worth it. Christmas time is one of those times where people open their hearts, their pockets, and their minds to people who need them. Charity is rampant at Christmas time. Families reconcile and reunite to laugh and enjoy each other's company. People are coerced to think about others while they search for a perfect gift. I don't know anything that sets a bond between people the way holiday food does.

Have YOU ever celebrated your birthday on a day that wasn't your birthday? Like, for example, you had your party on a Saturday instead of the real day because it was a Wednesday and you were in school? Honestly, I don't see how this is any different. If Christ is really who Christ is supposed to be and I suspect he is, then doesn't all that joy, harmony, and charity mean a whole lot more in his eyes than celebrating on his actual birthday? I daresay that yes, it is more important.

As I've mentioned before, my Touchy Topic Tuesdays are posts from which I receive multiple private emails from people who don't care to face ridicule from other people, and I face a lot of virtual tongue lashings and snooty answers from people who email me. One email I received from my Touchy Topic Tuesday about Santa Claus was from a woman who insisted that if a person is the type who can promote Santa Claus, they cannot possibly be the kind who actually believe in Christ, therefore, she had taught her children that if someone talks to them about Santa, they are to reply with such things as "Happy Holidays" or "Merry St. Nicholas day" or the like, instead of Christmas, because Christmas implied that they were Christian, and, once again, a person who believed in Christ wouldn't promote Santa.

Radical? I think so.

Another woman, who did not respond in an email or on my blog, but instead replied to a thread I started about my TTT on BlogFrog said something similar to this woman who emailed me, minus the statements about the impossibility of believing in Santa as well as Christ, has taught her children to say the same kind of things in response to those who might mention Santa Claus: "Merry St. Nicholas day" or "Happy Santa day"- and she said that it left people speechless. The statement seemed like she meant it to be smug. Which stirred a bit of hostility in my own heart.

I mean, first off, I have NO idea why a kid saying something like "Happy Santa day" or "Happy Holidays" or "Happy St. Nick" day would leave anyone speechless or shock them. If a kid said that to me, I'd likely just respond with the same, or another holiday greeting- likely "Merry Christmas" because that's what I celebrate (and yes, I believe in Santa AND Christ) and think nothing of it. Never would it leave me speechless OR shocked. I mean, I suppose if I knew it was SUPPOSED to shock me, then I probably would be shocked, but not because this woman has any kind of a valid point- in my opinion, she doesn't have a broken leg to stand on- but because I just can't wrap my brain around this "sock-it-to-'em" mentality that some people relentlessly employ. Who the heck cares if someone celebrates something different than you do? Who cares if they're a different religion than you are? Who cares if they believe something else? Why is it so difficult to just smile and say something -heaven forbid- NICE back?

I haven't ever actually, in real life, been on the receiving end of any blown out of proportion conversation or lashing by saying "Merry Christmas" to someone, but I have seen many many discussions and debates on the internet about it. You'd be surprised by how many people are either 1. Irritated by religious greetings such as "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah", and prefer generic greetings like "Happy Holidays" or "Happy New Year" or "Seasons Greetings" because they feel that someone who spouts a religious greeting is forcing their belief on them (yeah- I think it's a stupid assumption too.) or 2. they always say the generic greetings when out and about because they fear that they will offend someone or they fear that they will receive backlash.

THIS IS WHAT OFFENDS ME THE MOST: When people get offended because I say Merry Christmas.

I'm sorry, but I'm Christian, and I celebrate Christmas. And newsflash: Even if you aren't Christian, even if you don't celebrate the holiday, it's still actually CALLED Christmas. And I still just don't see why it's such a horrible thing for someone to wish you a Merry Christmas in passing. Why must people adopt an offended attitude because they don't celebrate? Really? Is it so hard to just smile and nod and move on? Is it really so difficult to just wish THEM a Merry Christmas? I mean, obviously someone who wishes you a Happy Hanukkah is someone who DOES celebrate that particular holiday. Would it kill you to wish them a happy day in something they find very satisfying and joyous? I guarantee that no one who gives a religious greeting is doing so specifically to offend that person. On the contrary, a person who extends such a greeting is probably doing it because they are in high spirits and feel good at the moment.

Furthermore, I am NOT Jewish, and I don't celebrate Hanukkah, though I am a person who respects other people and other cultures and other religions very much. If someone wished me a Happy Hanukkah, I would very readily wish them the same, despite my religious preference, and go on without even thinking about it. Never in a gazillion years would I contemplate stopping the person to explain that they're being rude because I am not, in fact, of their same belief. Never in a millennia would I consider responding, instead, with a "Merry Christmas" with the sole intention of giving them a hint that THEY are wrong.

In short, I don't care what you say. I don't care what your religion is or what you celebrate. I think that the holidays, whatever that happens to mean to you, should be a joyous, happy time, and one cannot be joyous or happy when trying so desperately to be offended.

I won't ever be offended when someone wishes me any kind of Holiday greeting, be it religious or generic- but honestly, you probably had better chill out when i wish a Merry Christmas...and a happy whatever you believe in to you.

Join in the debate, friends!!! Keep it decent, blatantly rude comments or personal attacks will be deleted immediately without discussion.


Rachel said...

I understand you taking offense when people get mad about you saying Merry Christmas. What I do not understand is people taking offense when a cashier or someone else working a job says "Happy Holidays." That poor cashier might not be Christian and might be afraid of offending someone by saying Merry Christmas-Happy Hannukah or whatever else. I once saw a man screaming Merry Christmas at a poor cashier and I felt so terrible for her.

I'm NOT a VOLCANO! said...

Just for the record and to make it clear, I did state in my closing paragraph that I am NOT BY ANY MEANS offended by the generic greetings like "happy holidays"- I just don't like it when people are offended by my Merry Christmas. And I agree, Rachel- It's just a big a jerk who'll actually go off on someone for saying Happy Holidays as it is a person who gets all uppity about people who give religious greetings.

Anna L. Walls said...

Separatism is at its most visible during the holidays, these holidays especially. I have always believed in the old war saying "United we stand - divided we fall" and if we remain divided in religion we will eventually fall apart. Now, don't get me wrong, in no way am I advocating some sort of united religion, but I do believe we should all at least be familiar with the various religions and their customs and beliefs. "We fear what we do not understand" is another saying that fits here. Kudos for teaching your girls about the different branches of religion - they can only benefit from the knowledge.

Holly said...

I whole heartedly AGREE!! I am one that believes in allowing others their own beliefs without taking offense or trying to shove my beliefs down their throats. I've NEVER been offended by a Happy Hanukkah/Holidays... or the sort... I even have a Pagan friend and find some of the things she shares fascinating. I don't agree, but I'm not going to TELL her SHE's WRONG and I'm RIGHT and that sort of CRAP! GET REAL PEOPLE... Can't we all just get along? Thumper's Theory, "If you can't say somethin' nice... Don't say anythin' at all." AMEN... *sigh*

As for your lunatic that went off about Christ/Santa... You will like my post from Sunday:

Natasha and Ethan said...

I agree with you. When I was waiting tables, I could never say Merry Christmas because that could mean a smaller tip. I have never been in a place where so many different religions thrive. You have to be really careful because people get so offended. I hate it. I don't get offended at any of it. I am always talking to people and am understanding. It is frustrating for sure. I hate being politically correct.

Glenda said...

I totally hate it as well. I am a Mom of a 3 year old and I am trying to teach him the true meaning of Christmas and also include Santa and he say Merry Christmas to everyone and I do as well and where get such weird looks and comments which are hard to explain to a child. I will be teaching him all about the different religions so Please just smile and go on if you do not like Merry Christmas but do not give my son a weird look or bad comment or it will be on.

Alison Golden said...

I get totally frustrated with the whole 'Happy Holidays' thing. I come from the UK and we say Happy Christmas without concern. All the cards say it, people say it, it just 'is.' I have lived in the US now for 15 years and it is now so ingrained into me to say Happy Holidays that when I went to a Dickens Fair and someone shouted out Happy Christmas, I stood quite still, I was so shocked.

Happy Hanukkah!

Hockey Wife said...

I completely understand where you are coming from ...

Regardless of my personal beliefs, it would never offend me if someone wished me a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or anything of the sort. When I pass by a Salvation Army volunteer outside the grocery store who wishes me any variation of those, I usually just think, "that's so sweet."

No one is telling you to believe in God. No one is telling you not to. No one is trying to tell you that whatever you believe is wrong. It's just a simple wish that you be merry and enjoy this time of year. I think that at the root of it, they are just sending positivity your way and if you think about it that way, how can you be upset?

I think it's great that you are teaching your children about other religions and I think that if more parents made an effort to do so, the world might be just a little bit more understanding and accepting of different beliefs.


Lori said...

Great post Brae! I agree with what you say and just as I wished all of my Jewish friends a Happy Chanukah on my blog

I'll send Happy Christmas wishes out too!

We are all different and it's important to understand that and to help our children understand too.

Deb Chitwood said...

I love to see people accept each other and get along. I celebrate Christmas but am not offended by any holiday greeting. I truly think it's the spirit of the greeting that counts. I'm your newest follower from Blog Frog!

Karren said...

I love to hear people have a positive attitude all year long, so Wishing others Happy Holidays is a thing I love to do. I know for the last couple of year people are having a hard time but I like to remain up. So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I am a new at blog hops and were doing one this week would love to have you take a look at lots of fun gifts we are giving away.PS I have posted your banner on my site and am following on GF.....

Thanks Karren

Hansen said...

(Rude Comment)

Hansen said...

Happy 7th of December! - Oops, did I offend someone?

Brynn said...

this made me smile. i work in an elementary school. we have to make everything generic. we can't put up a little tree in our rooms, or put up lights. we can put wintery decorations up, but when it comes to celebrating one holiday over another, well, you better not.

it makes me sad. i celebrate Christmas. I am a Christian. I celebrate Jesus. and I also love the magic of Santa. and i have many amazing Jewish friends...don't know where i'm going with this, Brae, except to say that i wholeheartedly agree with everything you've just written.

Aunt Crazy said...

I really don't get all the hoopla over it to begin with. I am 36 years old and all of my life I have heard things like Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Enjoy the Season, so those sayings are not new to me. What is new to me is the controversy over saying any of them. I am now leery of saying Happy Holidays, which I've said my whole life in addition to Merry Christmas because I wouldn't want others to think I've caved to the political correctness of the times. Happy Holidays to me includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and all the others too. This is a time of year for giving to others, enjoying the company of loved ones, and a general feeling of happiness, why must people bring controversy to something so special?

Sara said...

I know it's Wednesday, but I saw something today that made me think of you and I remembered I did not read your TTT.

It was a billboard that was red and it read "I miss you saying Merry Christmas - Jesus"

Ahh Happy Holidays, inside it makes me cringe. When I said last week when people say "Happy Holidays to me I reply Merry Christmas." I don't do this all snotty. I reply with Merry Christmas so people know it's okay to wish people Merry Christmas.

I have shocked several people over the last week or two just by saying "Merry Christmas!"
The first was when I was shopping. I wished an older cashier Merry Christmas at Wal-mart. She was visibly shocked. Then smiled really big and said, "You, too."

I am a business owner. I was out delivering Christmas gifts to my clients today. I have to be buzzed in at many places because I work with day cares and pre-schools. So when I announced who I was I told them I was delivering a Christmas gift. I wished my clients Merry Christmas and they were so thankful to receive the cookies and well wishes; however, I think they were shocked that the owner of the company was saying "Merry Christmas." One even said to me when I was leaving. I am a Christian business owner and I make no apologies for it. If someone gets offended by Merry Christmas and doesn't want my services then it's okay because God is just going to replace that client with three. Oh and I do have clients who are Jewish and I will not be wishing them a Merry Christmas. :)

PS - I love that you are celebrating the holiday that Jesus would have celebrated. Creating well rounded girls.

Merry Christmas!

Melissa said...

I am a true believer of diversity. I was raised a baptist, my husband catholic. My children attend a non denominational church. I also homeschool my children, and I do not teach from a religious perspective. I do, however, teach about religious customs and traditions especially the ones at Christmas, because one I find them interesting, and two it broadens their horizons to how other people live. If someone says Happy Holidays, or writes Xmas I am in no way offended. I love Santa Claus too! I have a good friend who happens to be a minister's wife. Her children do not believe in Santa, and tell my children as such. My six year actually told one of them last year she felt sorry for them. Santa is magical, the birth of Christ born in a manger to save all our souls is magical. Put them together, and I have a beautiful, magical Christmas.

Beauty and the Green said...

I totally agree with you. I am a Christian Graphic designer and I just finished changing the "Merry Christmas" I had put on a card I had done for a client to "Season's greetings" because of the same reason. I shudder to think what we will come to in 15-20 years if we continue this way. What ever happened to fee speech and respecting our diversity? I guess that is not politically anymore.

Melody said...

I agree. I just can't imagine being offended by something like this. Just because I don't celebrate Kwanzaa and I don't know when it is exactly doesn't mean I don't want to have a happy one! It still is Kwanzaa regardless of weather I celebrate it or not so why not have a happy Kwanzaa? What's the alternative exactly, having a crappy sad Kwanzaa? That sounds awesome!
I said Merry Christmas to a cashier at Hobby Lobby (an openly Christian store mind you) and she replied that she did not celebrate Christmas in a tone that made it seem like I should have just known that. I said something back to her about that not mattering and to have a merry Dec. 25th anyway. She gave me a sort of weird look. lol Oh well. I said it nicely because seriously, just have a nice day that day. When someone tells you to have a good evening you would never say "I'm sorry, I don't celebrate Tuesdays!"

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