Merry Christmas – There, I Said It! – Opinion is not responsible for guest opinions.

We’re approaching the holidays – a word used to encompass the season from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s (and everything in between.) But when it comes to greetings, we’ve all been whipped into saying Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings – so as not to offend someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas. I celebrate Christmas – all of it. I enjoy the giving of gifts, decorating and family time. I know the meaning of Christmas – the real meaning.

It is safe to say that Americans are most likely to celebrate Christmas regardless of whether or not they follow the Christian customs. We grew up with “Christmas break” in schools (it’s now winter break); we sang “Christmas carols” (now referred to as holiday songs); we buy and decorate a Christmas tree (not sure what they’d call that!We send Christmas cards. Those things, those names, don’t change just because you don’t believe in the true meaning of Christmas. Even if it is called a duck, a pig remains a pig.

December 25ThThis is the time when we commemorate Christ’s birth. This is done by sharing gifts, singing carols and going to church. We also try to be more generous to others. But to Christians, it’s a very meaningful day.

I get it – we have many different cultures in this melting pot we call America.  ome celebrate Hannukah. Many celebrate Kwanzaa. Some just howl at the moon (don’t laugh – I had a friend who did that!). Everyone is free to choose what and when they want. That’s the heart of America – freedom of religion, freedom of expression.

What’s the harm in wishing someone a happy holiday? It is not meant to offend – it is meant to spread joy. If you want to wish me a Happy Kwanzaa, I’ll say “thank you!” If you say “Happy Hannukah,” I’ll say “Thanks, to you too!” I’ve even had people shout at me “Happy Cinco de Mayo!” I don’t look Hispanic, I don’t speak the language well, but instead of getting upset, I grab a margarita and say, “You too!” I’m not offended – how can I be? It’s not an insult or an assumption; it’s simply an expression of well wishes and love.

Recently, my town decided to forego a lighting of the “Christmas tree” because some people don’t celebrate Christmas and we wouldn’t want them to feel left out. Instead, we orchestrated a “Light up the Lake,” where attendees floated luminaries onto the pond in front of City Hall. It was cool but not exactly “Christmas-y.”

Ornaments were not allowed at this event. I kid you not. Mini flashlights were instead distributed. Hot chocolate and cookies were also not permitted (heaven forbid anyone has a peanut allergy, spills hot beverages or burns their skin).

Yet Americans don’t hesitate to take off Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, do they? If you don’t believe in Christmas and don’t celebrate it, you should not get those days off. Rosh Hanah is something that I should be able to do as a Christian.

It is time to bring back Christmas. If you don’t want to celebrate it, you don’t have to. Let those who celebrate it, however, have fun! I don’t celebrate Black History Month or Gay Pride Month or Mother’s Day, for that matter (I’m not black, gay or a mother). But I have absolutely no problem with others wanting to – and being able to – celebrate. What is Christmas to offend?

Albert Einstein said, “If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.” By not speaking up, by not standing up for what we believe, we are letting others decide how we will live. We are complicit in the demise of “Christmas.” Complaining to each other doesn’t help. Taking action does. Here’s a challenge for you all: Wish people a merry Christmas this year, with all the joy you can muster.

I’m going out on a limb here. And if you’re offended, that’s on you, not me. I wish you a Merry Christmas. You should feel the Spirit of this season all around you. May you be able to see how abundantly God has blessed each of us.

Patty Deutsche, a communication executive, loves Christmas.  Hallmark movies, Christmas shopping for all ages, making homemade eggnog to remind herself how much she is better than the Baby who was born 2000+ years ago.  She’d celebrate Christmas year-round if the neighbors would let her!  Patty is available Here.

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