Throughout the year everyone celebrates holidays – some are religious while others are not. It’s rather a personal choice as to which holiday you choose to celebrate with your family and why… However I’m rather curious if not amazed and a bit confused as to why some people choose to celebrate a religious holiday that has nothing to do with their own religion. Of course when it comes to the work environment, I have gone to the traditional holiday festival which tends to be called a non-religious holiday but certainly I find myself amongst people who gather around the typical holiday tree lined with gifts around the bottom or stand under the Mistletoe to await that special “kiss”. Regardless of the traditional greeting received upon arriving or leaving the event… Being polite to others is something I feel strongly about, so I’ll always return the greeting in a pleasant tone.

But lately I’ve found myself returning the greeting with a differently twist as I go about my day, especially while I’m running errands such as food shopping or picking up yet another household item during this time of the year. When the cashier blurts out “Merry Christmas”… I may return the greeting quite differently by saying, “Thank you, I’ve enjoyed my Chanukah holiday and I hope you enjoy your holiday too!”  While I don’t see this as offensive and I hope it’s not taken as such, this appears to be well received when shopping during the holiday season. Let’s face it, cashiers seem to work by rote and automatically wish everyone a Merry Christmas without considering there are other types of religions.  While their true meaning is to be pleasant to everyone, this may not be the best “politically correct” approach. Although I don’t celebrate Kwanza, Ramadan, or Christmas in any manor at all, I certainly understand that there are people of other faiths that don’t celebrate Chanukah!

Perhaps just a simple change in how we greet each other during the holiday season in common public business establishments would go a long way to help ease tensions between different religious groups throughout the year. By changing the greeting to a simple “Happy Holidays” instead of the more specific religious greeting might make a world of difference. While you typically won’t find generic greetings in specific stores or institutes that cater to one religion or another, perhaps by changing the greeting in public areas may remove the burden of religious differences and ease the minds of everyone.   May you all enjoy wonderful memories and moments of peace and happiness with your family however you celebrate this time of the year!

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