Blog - Barbara Teicher - It's HOW You Say It

Merry Christmas!

I believe America needs more “Merry Christmas!” echoing through our streets.  You may believe just the opposite, while others may not care one way or the other…

Gone are the days when you’d walk in to your place of business and loudly greet people during December with a cheery “Merry Christmas!” as George Bailey so enthusiastically did in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Greeting someone with “Merry Christmas” used to be heard ringing through the halls of shops and businesses in the not too distant past. Now, you hear “Happy Holidays.” Everyone is so afraid of offending.

My husband and I recently returned from a trip to London. We had a wonderful time and did all the things Christmas Lights in Londonmost people do on a vacation trip to the city of Big Ben. There were three things that really hit me while I was there: 1) They eat potatoes with absolutely everything. 2) Cloudy is the daily norm. 3) They love and celebrate Christmas!

In a country where over 40% of the population is non-Christian, there were Christmas lights on the streets, Christmas signs in the restaurants and the word itself, Christmas, proudly displayed across town.

There was a certain hustle in the air and it reminded me of days past in our own country when the season was the “Christmas” season and excitement ruled for both grown-ups and children alike.

I saw a greeting card company advertising “holiday cards.” What holiday do people send the most cards? I’d say the majority of people who still send cards, send “Christmas” cards. What is offensive about “Merry Christmas?” It’s a greeting like “Have a great day!” Do you think people say that to offend you? Of course not!

London Book for ChristmasIt’s like people are afraid to say “Merry Christmas” because it has the word Christ in it. Has faith become the new F-word at Christmas?

This is not to say I think we should exclude Hanukkah, Kwanza, or any other holiday. Celebrate them all! Why are we so afraid of other’s religions? Yet in a country where a whopping 71% identify themselves as Christians, according to a 2014 survey by Pew Research, it seems as though we are afraid of offending someone by our celebration of faith. Why was this country founded? In addition, many people don’t celebrate the “reason” for the season, and retailers and offices are still trying to make it invisible.

We’ve already tried to take the focus off the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Christ, and have inserted Santa and reindeer.   It saddens me to think about the number of people, children, that don’t realize it’s not all about Santa.  That’s part of the celebration and we give “birthday” gifts.  That’s great, too.  However, it has moved far away from  that to scenes of just snowflakes and gingerbread.

Now, the holiday that most companies anticipate with glee, that children get so excited they can’t stand it, that families wait all year to be able to see each other again, is being taken out of stores and businesses so that we don’t offend anyone. People who celebrate Christmas aren’t trying to offend anyone! I find it amazing that retailers and businesses are trying to erase the name of the holiday, a tradition that has gone on for centuries, yet still want us to make their cash registers ring like jingle bells. If you ignore it, does it mean it didn’t happen? No!London Christmas worker

How can great cheer with home baked cookies, gifts, love, family gatherings, the celebration of the birth of the Savior of the world, a proclamation of Peace on Earth, and an emphasis on good will and giving be bad?

There is a big box electronics store near us. I walked in the other day and noticed, again, they have not one reminder of the season. There were no packages, no ribbon…nothing. Yet the salesperson there said they had just had their team meeting about “black Friday.” I will not be shopping there this “holiday” season and I encourage others to follow suit with their Christmas, Hannukkah and other holiday dollars. I also walked in to a department store here that had red ribbons and boxes and sparkles and snowflakes everywhere. I had a great savings pass there. It is the only store I can think of that decorates still! It is not a religious decoration, there are no nativity scenes, etc. It isn’t celebrating one faith over another. It is just fun. It makes me want to spend money!

My sister taught in the public school system in our metropolitan area for years. During the holiday season, they could talk about Thanksgiving, they could talk about Kwanza, they could even talk about Hanukkah, the one thing they weren’t allowed to talk about was Christmas! How sad. I’m not talking about going into the birth of Christ, although that’s the reason for the season, I mean they couldn’t talk about anything. Why not have a tree next to a menorah?

Why is this such a big thing to me? What is my point? Let’s celebrate and use the word, Christmas. Stop making Christians feel as if faith this time of year is now an “F-word.”

Please know that because I love Christmas doesn’t mean I am a radical, right-winged nut case! While I am a woman of strong faith, unless you look at my life, or ask me about it, I am not going to run up to your face and start shouting Bible versus. God isn’t like that anyway. He will never come into your life…unless He is invited.

From my heart to yours…Merry Christmas! Happy Hannukkah! and Happy Kwanza!

I invite you to celebrate life, bring on the decorations, make a great meal and spend time with those you love. We have so much to be thankful for.

With love,

Santa Barbara



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