Yo, can I just leave my Christmas tree up? I live in a basement; it’s not like I can offend anyone, right? I like the ambiance the lights add to my troll hovel. Oh wait, someone is offended? But….who?? Oh. That’s right. Miss Sinon. She did SO WELL until the week after Christmas, at which point I caught her vigorously trying to use the tree as a scratching/rubbing post. I sat there watching the 6-foot, skinny, unsteady fake tree try to vibrate through time, while trying desperately to find a safe spot where I wouldn’t be killed in my MMORPG. I told Sinon no, which is usually more effective than you would imagine with a feline, however that only prompted her to JUMP INTO THE TREE.
So I did what any person would do: I jumped off a cliff in my game so some slimy enemy wouldn’t get the pleasure of taking my life, put on some 90’s music (think Third-Eye Blind, Eve 6, Everclear, Everlast, etc), took down the tree before it could be destroyed, and hung the lights back up on the wall in that corner. It’s enough like Stranger Things to make me remember I love the show, not quite enough that I expect a demogorgon to show up.
I thought it was blasphemous to leave your tree up longer than the socially-accepted norm, and figured that was the worst of my problems since I had just wanted to keep mine up forever. I had not yet been afflicted by the crazies out there that get bent about “Merry Christmas” vs “Happy Holidays.” And then, I found one.
I was preparing to close our office for the 3-day New Year’s weekend, and I was apparently too flippant with my sign-off in an email: I hope you have a great holiday weekend! This was a message in a professional setting, to someone that I converse with regularly regarding business matters. I figured, that’s what I would say to any colleague before signing off for the weekend. Alas, I was mistaken. I came in this week to the following response:
Please accept without obligation, express or implied, these best wishes for an environmentally safe, socially responsible, low stress, non addictive, and gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday as practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice (but with respect for the religious or secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or for their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all) and further for a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated onset of the generally accepted calendar year (including, but not limited to, the Christian calendar, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures). The preceding wishes are extended without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee(s).
Well, I think all the bases were covered. I have never, in my entire life, seen a more neutral and drawn-out statement regarding the holiday season. I’m sure he wasn’t saying it to make a point that I was being out of line, but rather he’s the kind of person to make that response a shortcut on his phone so that he can use it for everyone that happens to text or email him good wishes for the new year.
I can’t remember when people started losing their shit over how we greet each other during the holidays, but holy fuck why can’t you just be happy that person is saying “Happy Holidays” rather than pooping in their hand and throwing at your stupid face for being an ignorant fuck?
I’ve always said Happy Holidays because no matter what religion you are, you likely are celebrating something in December and then also New Year’s. That’s a fucking holiday. Maybe I’m the ignorant one and I don’t have exposure to some culture that doesn’t celebrate the new year, but dammit I just want people to be happy and go along their merry fucking way…so I go with happy holidays. Until recently, that phrase felt safe. Now…..I can’t help but think of that epic saga of a response I received. That may be the only truly safe way to wish people happy tidings during the season these days. I might need note cards.
That being said, I hope everyone had a great holiday season, regardless of the gender-neutral way you celebrated the winter solstice holiday or how you rang in the onset of the generally-accepted calendar year.