Being in the States for Christmas once again is nice. Thailand had all the decor, the music, and the lights of Christmas in the big city, but it was missing one BIG thing. Cold.
Another thing I missed was something I remember loving as a kid. It seemed I was the one picked to shop with dad many late nights while I was younger, or was it that I just loved to be with my dad so I volunteered? Same reason I was always the one that took him up on tickets to a ball game. Love my dad. Anyway... that's beside the point. I loved how when we would run into old acquaintances (my dad knows people everywhere) or we would purchase something, or even wander out of a store empty-handed, people would always wish us a "Merry Christmas".
While in Thailand, I didn't find that people said "Merry Christmas" very often. It's much more common to wish one another a "Happy New Year", a Thai phrase we learned quickly and used regularly to spark extra smiles from our taxi drivers. We wondered if saying "Merry Christmas" to strangers was mildly offensive in an almost completely Buddhist country, so generally we stuck with "Happy New Year".
Since this is our first Holiday season back in the states (we missed all but a few days last year), we've been enjoying the festivities, the decor, and the weather. I also love the holiday shopping. I love shopping. I love being out and about, checking off my list, looking for deals, and getting excited about finding just the right gift. I've just recently noticed that no one says "Merry Christmas" anymore. Is this just me?
I decided to try it out on people I'd run into and people I deal with in the holiday rush, just to test the waters. People I knew returned the sentiment without much hesitation. Most employees at stores seemed surprised, occasionally wishing me the same, but about the same amount would ignore me all together looking to help the next customer.
Isn't this the reason for the holiday? Christ? How can we not include him in our happy wishes to those around us?
Here's my question: Is it offensive to wish someone a "Merry Christmas" regardless of religious beliefs? Is it not politically correct enough to be acceptable? Are we supposed to stick to the more generic "happy holidays" or "happy new year"?
Here's another question: Do YOU wish people a "Merry Christmas" or just get on with your business?
I'd love to hear your take on this... leave a comment or just vote on the poll (clear down at the bottom). What do you think?