Here's a dispatch from the War on Christmas.
There is no war on Christmas.
At least not much of one: A few cranks complaining about public Nativity scenes; a few sanctimonious sourpusses who are mortally offended when a store clerk says “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
It's more like a minor skirmish on Christmas — the Grinches vs. the Grouches.
Lighten up, people. This is supposed to be a time of cheer and goodwill (and commerce, of course — can't forget the economic reason for the season).
The skirmishing has already commenced in the letters to the editor. A recent letter by a York County man decried “political correctness” in the use of “Happy Holidays.”
He wrote: “Just what is the spirit of wishing someone a happy 'holiday' when you cannot name the actual holiday? To me it means nothing. I have no problem in wishing a person of Jewish faith a Happy Hanukkah season, but if you see me in your travels, all I ask is to hear the phrase 'Merry Christmas.' Is that so hard?”
Well, it actually is kind of hard.
Many of the people you encounter in your travels don't know you. How are they supposed to know you celebrate Christmas and not Hanukkah or Kwanzaa — or perhaps are opposed to all religious faith?
It's a pretty safe bet that most people you encounter would be happy to wish you a “Merry Christmas” if they knew for sure that's what you'd like to hear.
The problem is, they don't.
So rather than guess wrong, they take the safe route and say “Happy Holidays” — sort of an all-inclusive well-wishing.
On this front, many people are basically Switzerland — they're neutral. They don't want to offend anyone or get into anything as ridiculous as a “war” over Christmas.
Rather than “political correctness,” this is really a case of “apolitical consideratness.”
If there is a war here, it's a guerrilla war — one where the combatants don't wear uniforms and it's hard to tell who is on which side.
So here's one possible peaceful (and somewhat ironic) way to end the war: Wear a “uniform” — or just a visible signal of how you would like to be greeted.
If you want people to wish you a merry Christmas, get a T-shirt, or a hat, or maybe just a name tag that says so: “Wish me a merry Christmas, not happy holidays.” Or: “Wish me a Happy Hanukkah.” Or simply: “Happy Kwanzaa!”
Most people will oblige you (or maybe avoid you because the “wish me a Merry Christmas” tag on your chest really amounts to a chip on your shoulder).
Either way, you win. You won't have enemy combatants offering you the wrong kind of wishes.
Seriously, though, the best approach in this Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Holiday season is to simply accept all well-intended “Happy Holidays” greetings and think to yourself: He or she really meant _____ (fill in the holiday of your choice).