Happy Christmas. Merry Holiday.
Oh, the dilemma. And the fear of saying the wrong thing is scarier than getting a gift for your pickiest relative.
Only it doesn’t have to be.
Unfortunately, wishing some people a Happy Holidays will put you on their naughty list.
And quite frankly, I don’t get it.
If someone takes a moment in the crazy, busy hectic season to wish you well, then simply wish it back.
Here’s what I do to solve the debate on what to say.
Before I share my solution, let me share a story. Many years ago, I wrote an article and referred to a man as the spokesperson for the company. The person editing my article, looked at me and asked if I knew the difference between a man and a woman. I said, why yes of course. The editor told me never to write spokesperson again and to always write what the person is –spokesman or spokeswoman.
That lesson holds true with what to wish someone during December. Simply learn what holiday the person celebrates and wish them accordingly. You wouldn’t wish a Jewish friend, Merry Christmas, just as you wouldn’t wish a Christian friend, Happy Hanukkah. You would greet each friend with the correct holiday.
What’s truly magical about December is there are several holidays celebrated during December including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice and the newly minted secular Human Light. There’s also Boxing Day, St. Nicholas Day and several more.
So how do you discover what to say?
It’s quite simple. You ask.
When it’s your friend’s or relative’s birthday, you don’t wish someone who has a November birthday ‘Happy Birthday’ in June. You wish them a Happy Birthday on the day it is actually there birthday. And if you don’t know when a friend’s birthday is, you simply ask.
And that’s my advice for what to say. Simply find a polite way to ask what holiday the person is celebrating. Take the time to learn about the holiday’s traditions or celebrations. When you begin to explore the different holidays celebrated in December, you will find there is some commonality.
Let’s say you work at a candy shop and a customer comes in to purchase gifts. Ask who the presents are for. If they say, it’s a Hanukkah gift, wish them a Happy Hanukkah.
Here’s the best part about December, with so many holidays being celebrated, you might get invited to a Hanukkah or Kwanza celebration. What a wonderful opportunity to learn more about another person by celebrating with them.
Let’s make December a peaceful month by each and every one of us taking the time to give the gift of acceptance. Let’s make it an educational month by learning about the holiday a person celebrates. Let’s ask questions about a friend’s favorite foods, traditions or holiday memories.
Here’s wishing each and every one of you a blessed, happy and peaceful whatever holiday season you celebrate.
And when I see you in person, I will wish you the appropriate holiday.