DECEMBER 17, 2008

Holiday paranoia
       Iím scared to say Merry Christmas.
       Itís the time of year weíre supposed to be joyous and loving and caring (and all the other synonyms for happy), but the end of December always makes me feel uneasy. Iím worried about offending people.
       And youíd think three years of offending people week after week with this column that it wouldnít bother me by now. But this is the worst kind of offending: intentionally being nice and unintentionally offending someone.
       All this comes from one simple greeting. Thatís right, those two words that relate to Santa Claus, Frosty, Christ, eggnog, presents and togetherness, are so harsh and cruel that I look like a bad guy for saying, Merry Christmas to someone if they donít recognize the holiday.
       On my way to the office today I passed a sign that read, Keep Christ in Christmas. Iím surprised the seniorsí residence displaying the message hasnít been protested against and there was no picket outside.
       I mean, letís chill out people. Youíve made me paranoid to wish people the best for Christmas. Now, I have to second-guess myself wondering if somebody will be offended.
       Letís look at it this way: I donít celebrate Kwanzaa, but if you wish me Happy Kwanzaa Iím not going to throw a tantrum and say, ďItís Christmas, not Kwanzaa.Ē Iím going to say thanks and take it as a merry holiday greeting because thatís how it was meant. I just convert it into whichever relates to my life. In this instance, itís Christmas.
       Itís too bad my joyous and loving and caring time has me preoccupied with the sensitive feelings of others that I canít enjoy Christmas for what itís worth.
       So Iím going to say Merry Christmas, one and all. Take it how you want. If youíre going to be a Scrooge and take offence to it, so be it. If you can accept it as a heartfelt greeting wishing you all the best, thatís even better.
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