23 Dec 2020
I learnt something about my mother the other day. No scratch that – I learn something about her most days. I learnt about something that I hadn’t known annoyed her. Which, when you think about it, after knowing this woman for over 57 years, you’d have thought she would have let me know before now on those rare occasions when I might possibly annoy her. Maybe it’s only as she is now getting a little forgetful, she’s forgotten that she doesn’t tell me some stuff.
She doesn’t like the phrase ‘Merry’ Christmas.
Coming from a staunch tee-totalling background (there is a big question about how two teetotallers could produce four proficient wine drinking children, but that’s a topic for another day), she associates being Merry, with being…. well….. alcohol infused.
I honestly had never heard this from her. I tried to recall cards or letters from over the years to get some sort of evidence that this was not something new she had come up with (you know – maybe the fairies that she insists that she hangs around with have given her this idea?) but don’t recall noticing anything. But maybe I’ve just been very blasé and have never noticed her grimacing each time I’ve given her a card or letter saying “Merry Christmas”?
So today’s question, for those of you who haven’t already sent out bucketloads of cards or letters to family and friends… How do you wish someone greetings at this time of year without accidentally offending someone (and their fairies)???
There was a big stink for a long time about wishing someone “Happy Holidays”. It offended a lot of people who figured that the Christian Christmas season is the only religious festival celebrated around this time of the year. Just because we have nativity scenes in the house and sing songs about a Christian celebration, doesn’t mean that’s the only thing people are celebrating at this time of the year. It’s significant to a lot of us, but not to everyone.
But when it comes to sending Christmas cards and letters, do we just rely on the theory that people will accept that our wishes and greetings are sent with the very best intentions, and not worry about it?
I did, of course, do a bit of internet research about acceptable alternate greetings. Some of them are a bit, um, strange. I could wish you: Convivial Yule, Gregarious Times, Contented Events, Blithe Occurrences, Jocular Interval, A bounty of gaiety and joy, Glad tidings of glee and prosperity, A joyous solstice, Let the festive air enter your home and bring you exultation, Let the spirit of love benevolently fill your heart and soul,
Enjoy the precious day that reminds us all that we are loved, Let love fill the world with peace on this special day, May all your heart’s desires and yearnings come true – or my Mum’s preference which would be “Have a blessed Christmas”.
Or my preference – Whatever you’re doing, and whoever you’re with… Have a good one.