What to Say? Happy Holiday!
Merry Christmas? Happy Hanukkah? Merry Kwanza? Happy Festivus? It has been an interesting topic of discussion at every institution or company of which I have been employed. To “Merry Christmas” or not to “Merry Christmas,” that is the question.
A majority of people I have encountered at my various institutions celebrate Christmas, but not all. Many people do not observe this particular holiday for one reason or another; religion, choice, or a number of other possibilities. Their beliefs should not be disregarded based off the majority. When the discussion comes up with my staff of saying “Merry Christmas” I have long been on the side of openness and caution. Whether or not a majority of people around you celebrate the holiday, it is important to be cognizant of others during this time of year. However, your own beliefs should not be forcibly hindered either.
I still believe in this consideration of others’ holiday preferences but I have also tweaked my tactics recently. Now I ask; what do you celebrate this holiday season? When a response is given, I have the ability to say “Merry _____” with full knowledge that I would not offend the person I am talking to. It seems simple and it is, but it goes a long way in making sure the person feels accepted and appreciated for his or her beliefs.
It is a great opportunity to gain knowledge from those different than ourselves; our field offers a unique ability to do so without going out of our way. The students we serve are from every walk of life, every corner of the nation, and for many of us, every corner or the globe. Utilize the resources you have, gain perspective, and learn something new. Asking questions has the potential to grow our own understanding of the world around us.
However, if in depth discussion of a person’s beliefs is not what you desire; “happy holidays!” sounds good to me.
How do you handle holiday greetings? We would love to know and share with others!