By Jill Girgulis, November 29 2016 —
When you think of December, what comes to mind? Ask any university student and they’ll say exams. But beyond that, I’m willing to bet most people will think of the holidays — more specifically, Christmas. Christmas is so ingrained in our consciousness that we don’t bat an eye when store shelves are stocked with Christmas decorations at the end of October. There’s not a single other holiday that is acknowledged so far in advance as Christmas. The second the clock strikes midnight on Halloween night, Christmas carols fill our ears and peppermint mochas fill our travel mugs. There is no denying it — Christmas is a pretty big deal.
But not everyone shares this sentiment. In the past few years, I’ve noticed that the actual word Christmas is not used as much. It seems like everywhere I look, there’s a big sign wishing everyone “Happy Holidays” or a flyer advertising the local elementary school’s “winter production.” What happened to “Merry Christmas” and schools putting on Christmas concerts?
This trend is evidence of people becoming too accommodating. I know there are lots of different holidays from different religions happening at this time of year, as well as people who opt to not celebrate anything in particular in December.
There’s no problem with diversity. But when people are so concerned with not stepping on anyone’s toes by accidentally offending them, it becomes almost impossible to know what’s acceptable anymore.
We get so hung up on not making anyone feel excluded that we muddy the holiday season with our political correctness. So what if three kids in your grade three class are Jewish and don’t celebrate Christmas? They’d probably still love to get a present in the Secret Santa gift exchange and eat frosted cookies at the class Christmas party. And just because not everyone unfortunate enough to have to spend December in hospital doesn’t mean they wouldn’t enjoy the sight of twinkling Christmas lights up and down the hallways.
Most people’s favourite parts of Christmas have nothing to do with the story of Jesus. I love taking the time to scour Chapters for just the right book for a friend or watching cheesy Hallmark Christmas specials every night in December. Decorating gingerbread houses, putting up Christmas ornaments and driving around to look at Christmas lights aren’t activities that have much to do with Catholicism — they’re just fun and encourage a sense of community and bring people together. And what’s wrong with that?
The principles of the holiday season are all the same — family and friends come together during the holidays for a few moments of peace and fun and cheerfulness. Instead of worrying about offending each other at this time of year, we should all just focus on the festive, happy elements of the season that make this month great. The more the merrier, I say.