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Merry Christmas, Macy’s

December 18, 2004

By now you’ve heard that Macy’s has removed the phrase, “Merry Christmas” from its official store decor and replaced it with “Season’s Greetings.”  The official reason for this is to avoid offending people of other faiths and nationalities.  Predictably, a hue and cry has gone up saying that Macy’s is contributing to the “secularization of America.” 

One protest in particular caught my eye: Raleigh,  North Carolina church has spent $7,600 bucks for a newspaper ad calling on people to boycott Macy’s and Federated Department Stores: …

“There is a revival taking place in our nation that is causing Christian and right-minded people to say, ‘Wait a minute. We’ve gone too far,’ ” the Rev. Patrick Wooden Sr., pastor of the Raleigh church, told AP. “We’re not going to allow the country to continue this downward spiral to the left.”

I have to admit that one’s got me, well, puzzled.  $7,600 bucks is quite a stack of new books for kids in some inner-city school.  It’s who-knows-how-many flu shots for poor senior citizens.  It’s financial aid to help a single mother finish her education.  There must be something more constructive they could do with a stack of 76 one-hundred-dollar bills.  That’s some serious simolians. 

Now having said that, I wonder if Macy’s has gotten feedback from any Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, etc. who are offended by being wished a merry Christmas?  I’m guessing not, but if there have been, could it possibly exceed the number of Christians offended by not saying it?  It makes me glad I’m not the public relations director for a large company.

Being offended by a blessing makes NO SENSE.  If my graduate assistant, who is Hindu, wished me a happy day on one of her holy days, well that would be fine.  The fact that I am not Hindu makes no difference: she’s just saying I should be happy on that day.  It isn’t an attempt to proselytize me – she’s just being nice.  How could I possibly have a problem with that?

“Merry Christmas” is the same thing.  Christmas is a Christian holiday, and most Americans think of it that way.  It happens to coincide with the general season of many other religious holidays, so “Season’s Greetings” is certainly not a bad thing, but it conveys no good wishes as “Merry Christmas” does.

I’m not a Christian, but if you wish me “Merry Christmas, ” I’ll say “Thanks, you too!”  I certainly do plan on being merry on that day.  Any other day, though… look out!  :-)

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. December 19, 2004 at 12:15 | #1

    I’m with you.  I’m Christian, and while in Korea I helped an old Korean man move some stuff he was struggling with.  He smiled and said words to me I didn’t understand, but my Korean loader told me that he blessed me in the name of his ancestors.  I didn’t argue with him about his worship of ancestors and “false gods.”  I accepted his blessing as the very best thanks he could give. 

    That’s not tolerance.  That’s respect.

  2. December 21, 2004 at 12:36 | #2

    I agree with you both.  If folks (a) took it in the spirit that it’s usually given, and (b) didn’t try to turn it into an us-vs-them argument, there wouldn’t be a problem here.

  3. abhilasha
    December 27, 2004 at 13:25 | #3

    Wow….I thought festivals were for everyone…the more the merrier….‘coz festivals are a time to rejoice and take some time off to celebrate. And, if people are offended by celebrations , then may god help them….

    I am a hindu. Does that mean I should go and work on christmas as I don’t exactly celebrate it ? Nope, all the people who claim to be offended by a festival don’t seem to mind the vacation.

    If the stores keep on spending money to obligde some nerrow minded people, they are in trouble ‘coz now I can say ” wishing me happy new year on 1st Jan offends me as my new year starts in November!!!!!” AND YES….PLEASE NO FIREWORKS AROUND MY HOUSE ON 4th JAN …ITS NOT MY INDEPENCE DAY ……!!!!!

    “Merry Christmas” I guess just means “Be merry ‘coz its a day of celebration” and wishing someone merriness should not be a crime ….

  4. December 27, 2004 at 15:52 | #4

    You are right – festivals ARE for everyone.
    It’s just a few grumpy people who try to spoil it so they can feel important.
    And let me wish you a wonderful new year!  Whenever that starts.  :coolsmile:

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