Wish me a Merry Christmas-you know you want to

“So have a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, a kwazy Kwanza, a tip-top Tet, and a solemn, dignified Ramadan.” – Krusty the Klown

That most wonderful time of the year is upon us once more. It’s a time of snow and cookies and lots of mostly enjoyable, sometimes excruciating, family reunions.

Some people spend the entire calendar year looking forward to the next few weeks.

Unfortunately, we’re all very busy pretending that this “most wonderful time of the year” has nothing to do with religion or tradition whatsoever.

As Dave Barry wrote in Christmas Shopping: A Survivor’s Guide, “In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!'”

Now, we don’t celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or anything important anymore. Instead, we celebrate the “Holiday Season.”

You see, no one wants to offend anyone, and no one wants to be grouped in with the close-minded, judgmental hillbilly people of the world.

However, our anxiety over being as accepting as humanly possible has led to the “nondenominationalization” of holidays and beliefs that people still hold very dear.

In the quest to become as politically correct as possible, we’re becoming boring, uncultured and incredibly lame.

Not that this new trend came from nowhere. We have good reason to be afraid of being labeled insensitive or bigoted-it happens almost every day to people who are neither insensitive nor bigoted.

People in our society are too easily offended by things that are offered without any offense intended. There is no reason to get offended by someone else’s religion, tradition, beliefs or whatever.

It really is as simple as walking up to someone and saying, “Merry Christmas” and them saying “Happy Hanukkah” right back.

You aren’t arguing. You aren’t trying to get someone to agree that one is better than the other. You’re simply wishing each other well.

Sometimes people are so afraid to offend others that they don’t say anything at all. I would rather have a stranger wish me a Happy Hanukkah than walk right by me in silence.

And if you celebrate more than one holiday, go right ahead and be proud of that, too. This is America, where we believe in being whoever the hell you feel like being.

If you want to put up a giant nativity scene in your front yard and a 10-foot menorah on your roof in celebration of Chrismakkuh, go right ahead. Make it all neon and sequined while you’re at it-gotta love stuff that glows and sparkles.

I would rather go overboard and recognize every conceivable winter holiday than buy into the bland, indistinct (yet highly marketable) Hallmarkization of the entire span between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

At least that way we’d recognize this is something special, and not just an excuse to get out of work or school. Happy holidays? What does that even mean?

The Fourth of July is a happy holiday. President’s Day is a happy holiday. Valentine’s Day is even happy (for most people).

Don’t go too far, though. If you walked up to a trick-or-treater on Halloween and said, “Happy Holidays,” you’d look like a complete moron.

Let’s be honest, when we say “Happy Holidays,” we mean “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” or something else that our good friend Krusty the Klown listed at the beginning of this column.

Why have we turned December into something that’s all about Frosty the Snowman? He has nothing to do with any real holiday-and is actually quite creepy when you get right down to it.

What’s next? “Please enjoy your winter” for people who don’t celebrate anything at all? Uh-oh, that leaves out everyone in the southern hemisphere. OK, let’s go with “Please enjoy … stuff!”

Such vague sentiments don’t do anyone good. This year, take pride in whatever holiday to which you subscribe. Make Hallmark stick with Mother’s Day-it’s what they do best, after all.

Merry Christmas.

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