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A question of holiday greetings

Inspired by crankyasanoldma's post here, I give you my letter to Miss Manners:

Dear Miss Manners,

At this time of year I try to be respectful of the diversity of the people I may meet by wishing them, "Happy holidays." I like to think this neither assumes what they may celebrate nor imposes upon them what I may celebrate, but still manages to convey my good wishes towards them.

However, I have recently begun to think this may not be entirely appropriate - after all, some people may not celebrate anything at all this time of year, and I would not want to inadvertently offend them. I also think it might be even more respectful to show some interest in offering more than just a generic farewell. Do you think it would be appropriate to first ask, "Do you celebrate a particular holiday this time of year?" I could then tailor my farewell to their response, from "Merry Christmas," to "Happy Hannukah," to simply, "Have a lovely day." I want to find a balance between being festive and friendly without appearing unduly personal or rude.

Thank you so much.

Yours sincerely,


Your thoughts?


Dec. 4th, 2008 02:50 pm (UTC)
I respect the rights of others to celebrate with whatever deity they choose. If someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, I'll responde with Happy Solstice back. That's my holiday and I feel no shame or guilt in proclaming so.

In fact, the other day while shopping, one of the Salvation Army bell ringers stated to me - Merry Christmas and God Bless to which I responded, Happy Yule and blessed be! Well, you think I threw hot oil on him with the face. I mean, its ok for the 'presumed majority' of Christians to say Merry Christmas but when you respond with something other than that you have two heads?

You say what you want. The sincerity comes not from the actual words but the tone and warmth of the greeting itself. I am not offended by those who wish me a Merry Christmas because that's what they believe, but similarly they should be tolerant of those who celebrate Yule, Hanuakah (sp), etc.

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