The holidays are around the corner and there will be events, greetings, shopping, and family gatherings. And sadly, there will be grumbling.
Lines will grow longer at many stores and frustrations will grow. We need to develop some strategies to lighten up. I've pictured standing in a long line with people getting impatient and suddenly breaking into song or some crazy entertainment plan. Create a positive distraction.
If I really want to avoid the lines, I will find a way. I've been known to do my Christmas shopping in the middle of the night. That was before on line shopping made it really easy to avoid stores all together. Another great tactic is to shop at small local stores who will be very happy to see you and are less likely to be overcrowded with irritable people.
Meanwhile, the drumbeat of "War on Christmas" grows louder. We Americans are a stressful lot.
Even holidays can create conflicts that get people riled up.
Last week I noticed our company made cards available to send out. They say "Happy Holidays". Would some say they have violated Christmas? Probably. Why would a company want a Happy Holidays greeting instead of Merry Christmas?
They do it for the same reason I tell my Jewish friends Happy Chanukah. My greeting is for them not for me. My Chinese friends celebrate New Year at a different time. When it's their new year, I tell them happy new year - not for me, but for them. In turn, they often tell me Merry Christmas or happy new year in recognition of my holiday. It's not a war. It's a simple recognition. Being respectful.
As much as you feel about your celebrations, others feel the same level of connection to theirs. If we can simply be respectful of one another, none of us has to suffer.
If you are in a room full of Christians and say Happy Chanukah, it's going to sound pretty strange to most of them. It's not their holiday. Likewise, saying Merry Christmas to a room full of Muslim people will sound pretty strange to them. It's not their holiday. You might say if the majority are xxx, then go with the majority. Ok - do you want to be the one feeling left out?
If we want to spread a message of love and joy, let it be a language that resonates with the intended audience. That's all it is.
We're becoming more of a global society with people from many different cultural backgrounds working together and living in the same community. Recognizing one another and our differences can make our lives richer. It should not hurt us to know and respect that some don't share our beliefs or traditions. If we make an effort to understand and respect theirs, they will be much more likely to try to understand and respect ours.
In any case, however you view the holiday season, it's yours. Let's greet each other with warmth and sincerity. Let's be cheerful and respectful. Let's promote peace on earth - during this and all seasons. Be the one who brings a smile in those long lines.