In praise of ‘happy holidays’

It's amazing how prickly a "happy holidays" can still make some people.

For a phrase that’s gained so much traction in our society — on everything from greeting cards to chocolate bars, used in window displays and Facebook status updates alike — it’s amazing how prickly a “happy holidays” can still make some people.

This far into December, the complaints are out there locally, nationally and internationally. Thankfully debate about the “War on Christmas” is still mostly a U.S. issue, but the idea that it’s somehow frowned upon to wish people a Merry Christmas definitely exists on both sides of the border.

But let’s be real here. If you’ve wandered around the Columbia Valley any time in the last two weeks, can you really argue Christmas is on its way out? That when people say “happy holidays” they’re not including December 25 in the phrase?

It’s not as though there’s anything inaccurate about the phrase either. There are plenty of holidays in December — Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Festivus, to name a few.

True, they’re not all equally popular in this part of the country (though if anyone is planning to light up their annual Festivus pole we’d love to hear about it), but they are all being celebrated (except maybe Festivus, on further thought).

What’s puzzling is that inclusivity here is usually seen as some kind of attack on Christmas. As though acknowledging other activities somehow robs December 25 of its meaning. Which, if you can’t stand the thought of anyone in the country not celebrating along with you, it might. But in that case, the holidays have probably been a sore spot for several decades now.

But if what matters to you is celebrating the holiday you want to with the people you care about, what the rest of us do shouldn’t matter much. At best, an awareness of the other things other people can get up to may spark a few ideas for a new tradition around the Christmas table. Airing of grievances, anyone?

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