Christmas Lessons in China

Christmas has come, and gone. I had a very quiet, but good Christmas here in China. Even though Christmas isn’t really a thing in my town (aside from a smattering of Santa Claus), but there were quiet a few people who realized Christmas was an actual holiday to me, and took the time to figure out how to say Merry Christmas in English just so they could say it to me, and they were very pleased to do it for me, and I appreciated it very much.

I didn’t expect more than 1 or 2 local Christmas wishes, but I received a bundle of them. The point of this is not to say, “Look, they learned about the Christmas holiday.” It is to say, “Wow, they took the time to reach out to me, and give me a heartfelt greeting.” It got me thinking about the insanity about saying/not saying Merry Christmas in North America. When Christmas rolls around, otherwise nice, kind, and ordinary people turn into militants for one side, or the other of the debate. Calls for boycotts of stores X, Y, and Z because they had the audacity to recognize the collection of holidays instead of only Christmas fill some people’s time. One of my favourites was some years back when there was a lesbian actor wishing Merry Christmas for a store’s advert. This brought outrage from a few people because of the way Merry Christmas was wished. Ugh is all I can say, ugh, ugh, ugh.

There is nothing more in the Spirit of Christmas than leaving the house everyday thinking how you are going to verbally drop kick anyone who wishes you Happy Holidays

The opposite side of the argument acts equally as stupid at times. This year’s winner was the airplane passenger’s outrage over being wished Merry Christmas, on Christmas Day of all days. Boo, hoo, hoo.

If someone wishes me a Happy Hanukkah, Great Solstice, Kwanza, or any other holiday I don’t happen to celebrate, I will happily respond, “The same to you.” These are season’s greetings, they (often) are coming from the heart of the speaker, and should be accepted as warm rather than attacking. If you don’t happen to celebrate Christmas, don’t act like a jerk when someone says Merry Christmas, return the sentiment. You aren’t celebrating the other holiday by returning the greeting, you are wishing the other person well. If you don’t like wishing other people well, stay inside during December, or wear a sign that says, “I act irrationally if wished well during this time of year in any way but one,” because nobody wants to talk to a Scrooge.

Bottom line, every year you are welcome to whichever season’s greetings you would like from me, but if I don’t know which applies you will get a heartfelt Merry Christmas from me, which translated means, “Have a great December, I hope you are happy, and healthy.”


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