Every time you wish someone a “Merry Christmas,” or try to skirt the issue by wishing them “Happy Holidays,” you really don’t know what you are saying.
My daily life is a little too busy, but basically things function the way they are supposed to. I work, I get acupuncture, go on hikes, and have successful visits to the supermarket — mission accomplished. But, let’s take a closer look at Christmas this year compared to childhood years.
As a child, holidays were fun. I got lots of Christmas presents, we had lots of interesting guests come for holiday parties, and the conversations were never boring for a minute. We had groups of eight to thirty either at our house or neighboring houses. I learned a lot and met fascinating people. Not to mention the food which was good — but, I was a kid and didn’t realize how good I had it.
This year, and all other years since I was twenty-seven: I have no family — at least nobody close enough to visit who I will have a pleasant experience with. Christmas is a family holiday. If you have no family, then it is miserable. For all of you folks who have large families who get together, wishing a lonely person, “Merry Christmas,” well, you might as well be saying, “Let me and hundreds of other people torment you for an entire three week period by reminding you of how lonely and miserable you are during the holidays.” Then, they disguise their torment by wishing you, “Happy Holidays!” This deceptively simple semantic trick makes it all better. Now you won’t feel tormented anymore because we used a different word to remind you of your loneliness — right? Plus, that makes us politically correct and sensitive to those who observe their holidays on different days.
Personally, the holidays I take seriously are ones you never heard of. My guru, his guru, and my guru’s guru’s guru’s birthdays (that’s a lot of gurus) are the holidays I celebrate. I meditate a few hours a day for three days including the day, the day before the day, and the day after the day (that’s a lot of days). If you add up all of the gurus and the days, that is three gurus, nine days, and probably twenty-seven hours of meditation if not more. People always wish me “Happy Holidays” when THEY are having their holidays, but never wish me happy holidays when I am having mine… How deceptively self-centered and insensitive!
And, by the way, for those who practice Judaism (or pretend to,) Chanukah was during Thanksgiving this year, so if you want to be politically correct and wish ambiguously Jewish people happy holidays right before Christmas, the only holidays would be Christian holidays — so you goofed!
I had to drive to see my new programmer. He is only 20 minutes away. But, it took three lights to get through a particular intersection near my house. I have to pay the price of living near a popular mall. That mall didn’t exist when I moved in. I’m not sure if I’m lucky or not. But, during Christmas I’m very unlucky. For more than a week, there is a wall of impenetrable traffic preventing me from going even two blocks away. Then, I wanted to go to Whole Foods. It is only three blocks away. It took 20 minutes to get there, five minutes to go through the parking lot which resembled an ant colony with cars inching around looking for non-existent parking places. Then, another 20 minutes to go back home so I could walk there. At least I have the luxury of being able to walk to the world’s best supermarket. What a waste of close to an hour. I was so upset, that I walked to a wine shop to get some Christmas Port. The absence of family means that there will not be any huge gatherings for Christmas. Few if any fascinating conversations. Just loneliness and a shortage of parking spaces wherever I go — including my complex where I have to park four blocks away from my building. But, we did manage to get three people together for a trip to Chinatown and had a Christmas duck, and clay pot with pork and oysters. The irony is that the tofu and vegetables in the clay pot tasted better than the roast pork or the oysters which were yucky!
But, on a brighter note, nobody engaged in “guilt giving” and nobody gave me gifts that would make me gain 10 pounds like three years ago — the huge bags of candy, the baskets of chocolate. I’m overweight — what are people thinking?
So, if you wish me Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays you are really saying,
“I want to personally remind you that you are going to have the most miserable week of the entire year, have the worst time finding parking places, endless traffic, loneliness, and Chinese duck that is all skin and bones — enjoy it!” (quack quack)
BTW — I’ll let you know how the port goes. If it was a good bottle, that will change my perspective completely! I’m popping the bottle open tonight!
Instead of saying Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or Happy New Year (which is a raucous nuisance of a holiday), unless you are sure that a person celebrates a particular holiday and actually likes it to the point of being merry — maybe it is better to avoid the issue completely!