Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A post to go with my coffee

I have a hot cup of coffee, and 30 minutes on a parking meter: time for a quick blog post.

MOVING ON: If you live anywhere near the Midwest, you may have noticed that it snows here...It snows a lot...An unhealthy amount of snow falls from the sky. 

The first snowfall of the season has come (yikes!), and it brought "Holiday-Mania" with it. Everybody has started their holiday planning before Thanksgiving AGAIN this year. 

Now, you may have noticed that I have been using the term "holiday" instead of simply saying "Christmas". This is my topic of interest for my post today. In recent years, we have seen a sharper attention being paid to the differences of people. We all come from different paths. We all have different beliefs, morals, and experiences. That is what makes us unique. I believe in celebrating and learning from those who are different from me.

That is why I have converted to the "Happy Holidays" approach. Not everyone celebrates Christmas. Some celebrate Kwanza, Hanukkah,or other seasonal holidays. By saying "Happy Holidays", I show (in a small way) that I am aware that not everybody celebrates the same things I do. I am being all-inclusive and covering all the bases.

That is the first step. Here is the second step: do not be offended if someone extends a seasonal greeting for a holiday that you do not personally celebrate. For example, let's imagine that you are sitting at a table in a crowded cafe to warm up before forging back out into the winter weather. Someone comes up and asks if they can sit with you at your table, so you politely move your bag onto the floor and let them join you. You strike up a nice conversation about the weather, the ambiance of the cafe, and where you are both from. When you get up to head to work, they thank you for letting them sit at your table and keeping them company. Before you walk away, they say "Happy Hanukkah". You, yourself, celebrate Christmas. Do you correct them by saying, "I actually celebrate Christmas"?

I would not take that defensive approach. My response would be "Happy Hanukkah". Why? Although I personally celebrate Christmas, I am happy to celebrate a small part of this person's culture with them. I also understand  the intention of the greeting: a wish of good thought and celebration. Therefore, I am in no way offended to receive a well-wish for a holiday that I do not personally identify with.

BOTTOM LINE: If we take steps to show our inclusiveness, we can all learn to respect each other. Don't be offended if someone says "Happy Holidays", because they are trying to be inclusive of all people. At the same time, don't be offended if you are wished a "Happy/Merry (holiday you don't personally celebrate)". Thank them for their sentiment, and don't make a situation uncomfortable and confrontational for no good reason.

What are your thoughts on this idea?

Coffee gone, parking meter almost out. Goodbye for now.

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