NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Happy Holidays

Every year at this time, social media starts to blow up with posts from people who are angry because they would rather say “Merry Christmas” than “Happy Holidays.” New this year, I’ve seen memes that called red Starbucks cups an attack on Christmas and “Holiday Trees” an attack on the American way. This strikes me as a strange thing to say here in the U.S., where capitalism is the rule of the land.

Starbucks may save a penny by omitting fancy text and graphics on their cups. They may save a minute of production time or a bit of ink. Maybe the person placing the order just didn’t want to bother. Saving time and cutting corners are the main priority in every other aspect of business, so why should this be any different?

Perhaps, you could argue, having the largest possible target audience to market your product to is the most important thing in a retail business. Which brings us around to “Holiday Trees.”  A few more people may buy a Spruce for the living room if the sellers can convince them that it’s not just for Christmas anymore. What does a tree have to do with the birth of Jesus anyway?

Instead, they can say, it’s more of an all-purpose tree that can be used to celebrate a variety of holidays. Nobody really knows what those other holidays are, yet, but over time, a decorative tree may be adopted by other cultures or religions in order to make this true. Maybe the Pastafarians will have trees hung with ornaments shaped like Flying Spaghetti Monsters and colanders.  Good news for tree growers everywhere.

For myself, I choose to say “Happy Holidays” because I was raised in Needham, which has a large Jewish population. My grandmother explained to me at a young age that saying “Merry Christmas” to a person who does not celebrate Christmas is just silly. Not because they may be offended, but because it’s simply a waste of breath to say something that, by definition, excludes the person you are saying it to.

I’m not worried about offending anyone. I just choose to include every person from every walk of life in my wishes for a wonderful holiday season.