Category: Archive

War of words

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Christmas has been under siege for years, and not just in terms of how it is dealt with verbally. In a society such as ours, it is inevitable that linguistic gymnastics sometimes gets in the way of the simple and familiar. Not everyone celebrates Christmas so we have endured the increasingly ubiquitous “Happy Holidays,” a phrase that once came off the bench when there was a question mark over use of the first-team “Merry Christmas.”
The problem is, according to the Marleys, the former never seems to return to the bench anymore, and it is Christmas that is hobbling off to take the early shower.
Clearly, some balance needs to be restored. That means people should use the greeting that first comes to mind. For most that would be Merry Christmas, for many it would still be Happy Holidays, for not a few it would be Happy Hanukah, while for some, but not necessarily a majority of African Americans, Happy Kwanzaa. The problem that many have with Happy Holidays is its secular tone, this despite the fact that the second word is derived from “holy days.” But few people today consider the word holiday in that sense.
Of course, the war on Christmas is being waged on more than just one front. It has become something of a weapons race, with some stores now open for “Christmas” shopping on Thanksgiving. The race for Christmas trees has become increasingly manic, flashing Christmas lights make some homes look like bordellos, while others use up a wattage typical of developing nations.
As the song goes, “I’ll be home for Christmas.” But at the rate things are going it will be a home for the bewildered. Anyway, in words we can all agree upon: Peace on Earth to all of goodwill. Suitably gender-neutral and politically correct, you would agree — yes, no?

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