Honestly, I’m tired of the argument.
I live and work in Florida where you would think it was some sort of national disgrace to wish someone “Happy Holidays”. As if somehow the failure to wish a “Merry Christmas” has been co-opted by political correctness as a personal insult to them.
In my (not so) humble opinion, it has gotten worse in the last couple of years. I chalk that up to the facts that (1) I didn’t live in Florida until about two years ago (and therefore heard far less vitriol than seems to be standard fare here) and (2) that we now live in a society where too many of our political leaders are focused solely on improving their own lives, incomes, and status, and not those of their constituents, as in, “It’s all about me!”
I’m just sick of it! Here’s why:
In the world *I* live in – focus is and should be all about the other person. In a world of advocacy, and in the world of business, I am focused on the needs and wishes of the people I serve, and not myself. Not that I don’t take care of me; I most certainly do! But one way I do that is by focusing on my audiences, and to do that best I first consider their needs and wishes.
As a health or patient advocate, that is true for you, too.
So – returning to where we started with the greeting of “Happy Holidays” – vs – “Merry Christmas” – vs – whatever anyone else might wish…
This is definitely the time of year for sharing holiday greetings. In our INDEPENDENT ADVOCACY world, where we focus our work on the needs of the other person, the greeting should be appropriate to THAT person – not a reflection of your personal holiday (unless it’s the same one, of course):
- you wish your Christian friends and clients a Merry Christmas.
- you wish your Jewish friends and clients a Happy Hanukkah.
- you wish your African American friends and clients a Happy Kwanzah.
- you wish your Hindu friends and clients a Happy Pancha Ganapati.
- you wish your Zoroastrian friends the blessings of Winter Solstice (This may be a new one to you – but estimates tell us that approximately 6,000 Canadians, and 11,000 Americans are Zoroastrian! This includes my nextdoor neighbor.)
- you wish everyone a Happy New Year! Even if their religion or culture celebrates the new year at a different time, it’s still appropriate this time of year in the US and Canada.
And if you aren’t sure what holiday someone will celebrate, then consider asking them! Or, simply say “Enjoy your holidays!” to avoid that entire argument of “Happy Holidays” – vs – “Merry Christmas.”
(By the way, for those individuals you know who celebrate something different from your holiday – why not ask them to tell you more about it? It’s fascinating to learn about other religious beliefs or cultural differences! No one is asking you to embrace their choices, nor to convert. Learning something new about clients, friends, and neighbors can open minds and make the world a better place. This is THE time of year to embrace that approach!)
Especially during this holiday time of year, and considering our professional and personal interests of doing good for others, we must remember: it’s about them, and not about us.