The other day I was checking out of the store (baby in carrier to witness my offensive language) when I told the clerk “Happy holidays!” I like to be cheerful this time of year, it makes me feel nice. Same reason I cash a few twenties into singles so I can hit every Salvation Army bucket I see ringing the bell outside of stores.
Imagine my surprise when the clerk replied “You mean, ‘Merry Christmas.'”
I was totally astonished. (I can only assume this store (not naming names) has no official greeting policy.) “You’ve got to be kidding me. No, ma’am, I meant ‘Happy holidays.'”
“You’re removing the real reason for the season.” I swear to you, she said this to me with a straight face. Not only is she obnoxious, but she’s a cliche as well.
“I meant ‘Happy Holidays’ and you know what?” Now I was getting angry. “If you can’t accept a well-intended message of goodwill in a gracious manner, whatever its form, you can kiss the fattest part of my holly jolly ass.”
Stunned silence. The baby cooed. I left.
Can you believe it? What an irritating and obnoxious thing to do. When I say “Happy holidays!” I mean exactly that. I mean it as an actual wish that happiness be granted upon you and yours from Thanksgiving all the way through New Year’s Day. That you enjoy the warmth of family, friends, office party eggnog, inappropriate mistletoe snogging, monkey bread (if you’re my family), the soft flicker of candlelight on the walls, and the making of memories and traditions with your dearest. It has zero to do with whether or not you put up a Christmas tree, menorah, Festivus pole, or whatever.
If someone wants to wish me a Merry Christmas, I find that lovely. I accept your tiding, no matter how perfunctory, and return it to you. If someone wants to “correct” me if I DON’T wish them a Merry Christmas, I’m going to curse his or her manners front of the baby and it will be that person’s fault that my baby heard the word “ass.”
Alas, I see that there’s a growing community of “correctors” afoot: http://standforchristmas.com/pages/home
No, really. REALLY. This is what we’ve come to: labeling stores “Christmas Friendly” or “Christmas Offensive” and “correcting” total strangers who are just trying to send a message of goodwill.
What an insane time in which we live.
ETA: I see that many of the comments indicate displeasure that the stores “only seem interested in making money and not the real spirit of Christmas.” Oh for…look. Based on demographics of Focus on the Family’s (site sponsor) key audience, we can assume several of these people are anti-Obama conservatives. You can believe Obama is a socialist and will ruin our economy or you can get upset over stores making money (AKA capitalism) but you cannot do both because I will call you mean, mean things, “idiot” chief among them.