This morning I heard a newscaster say “Merry Christmas” to Laura Bush, who was showing off the White House decorations. “Merry Christmas,” Mrs. Bush said back. Neither woman was smiling, and neither seemed sincere. It was so trite, I decided to sit down and write this post about the phrase.
I have always wondered about this phrase: “Merry Christmas.” I used to think that people really meant that they were bestowing the hope for a great day on the recipient, but, in fact, the term “Merry Christmas” is most often used with no feeling behind it at all. The term “Merry Christmas” is used as a trite phrase like “how are you?” where you’re not really supposed to think about the sentiment, at all.
A woman finds out that she has cancer. It’s the holidays. “Merry Christmas” says the nurse, even though it’s clear that this lady isn’t likely to have a happy holiday at all. A man finds out that he’s lost his job. “Merry Christmas” says his co-worker as he’s packing up to leave. It isn’t going to be that merry without a paycheck coming in anymore. The checkout girl at the local market says “Merry Christmas” but she never even looks up.
As a non-Christian, I never felt comfortable saying “Merry Christmas” and always used “Happy Holidays,” but that’s not much better, actually. As far as I can tell, the only part of the population that really thinks that the holidays are happy, are children.
This year, I’m wishing everyone love, success and happiness. Hopefully, all three will stick.
love, success and happiness to you this holiday season