Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy Holi. . . . ugh

My "Happy Holidays" experiment at work is crumbling like a Santa Claus sugar cookie in February.

For those who missed it, I decided a couple of months ago to use the phrase "Happy Holidays" in lieu of "Merry Christmas" at work in order to convey my best wishes to all customers regardless of religious persuasion. I figured that saying "Happy Holidays" did not consitute denying Christ while berating people with "Merry Christmas" could cause indifference at best and alienation at worst. Instead, I hoped that they would see Christ in the way I interacted with them. Greetings are always trite when compared to actions anyways.

Now in the front lines of what the media portrays as this cultural trench warfare, I find myself unable to use "H^2." My heart just isn't in it. It feels fake. For whatever reason, telling customers to have a good rest of their afternoon and to enjoy their day seems more genuine than "Happy Holidays." Maybe it's the vagueness of the phrase or the cliche it has become - both of what destroy any meaning the phrase may have.

The big thing though is that this debate has become so part of the season that the phrase has become politicized. "Happy Holidays" no longer means "Enjoy the December month with your family, friends, and time off from work." In the retail world, it more closely means "Hey, I'm being politically correct and don't really care how December goes for you. I just want to flaunt how progressive I am." At least, it feels this way to me. When I say "Happy Holidays," it implies that I don't celebrate Christmas and thus am not a Christian. That more closely resembles denying Christ in this particular environment. By faith I am clothed in Christ. I don't want to don a secular parka.

I still do not wish people "Merry Christmas" when I check them out at the registers because I still do not want to come across as a heavy-handed and alienating. I do not think these are the ways of Christ. In lieu of any holiday greeting, I simply wish them the best for the day or the afternoon or the night. I am satisfied with this because it is genuine. I really do desire that the customers that come in with good attitudes continue to smile and that those who are grumpy will find a reason to laugh.

That being said, Redeeming Prufrock isn't retail. So Merry Christmas to you all. And I do mean that.

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