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Debate of Salutations from a Nonreligious Girl

christmas tree

“Merry Christmas!”

“Happy holidays!”

“Seasons Greetings”

“Have a blessed holiday!”

I’m sure we’ve all been stuck in scenarios where we’ve heard most if not all of the above. Working in retail for what feels like an eternity but is actually only eight years, I’ve become accustomed to putting on a fake smile and replying with my go-to “Happy Holidays.”

Except for some people, that’s not good enough.

You see, I didn’t grow up attending a Christmas mass, thanking Jesus for my gifts or rejoicing at the imagery of the Nativity scenes which seem to be everywhere. The concept of Christmas was, for me, meant to keep me in line all year and maybe on Dec. 25th I’ll open a box and find a FurReal Friend. Also, it meant no school for two weeks so it was basically my dream.

presents under tree

Then I got older which brought an understanding of what church was and religion as a whole. I genuinely didn’t care there were some people out there who put value into it and continued on my merry way to present-ville each Dec. 25th morning.

Well, then I went to college and the you-know-what hit the fan.

Maybe it was college that made me more “woke” about the debate around society drifting from saying “Merry Christmas” in favor of “Happy Holidays” because, let’s face it, Christmas is not the only holiday that falls in this time period and some people do not follow a religion. I had listened to both sides of the argument and decided I would try to stick with “Happy Holidays’ in an effort to be inclusive because one of my goals in life is to be more open and conscious of others.

When you work retail though…

Let’s just say it’s difficult to not get into a strange philosophical debate with someone you’ve never met because they wanted to buy a gift card and you’re the unfortunate soul who mistakenly picked the snowy candle card rather than the angel card.

No Brenda, I did not do that on purpose and I do not want to talk about your savior due to the line of angry customers behind you. Please, release me from this encounter.

To be clear, I have nothing against those who view this as a very holy and meaningful season. If anything, I think it’s great because you’re putting out energy that betters your life and I’m genuinely happy for you. I just want some antique books and a few bottles of wine from my friends.

To be honest, I don’t feel like I have the answers to the holiday salutation debate. I think it’s blatantly dumb to cause an uproar over a coffee cup but also shameful to take advantage of those who are willing to help you in a time of need.

Also, stop stealing baby Jesus from Nativity scenes. It’s not yours.

Emily Ridener

A few words about me

There are quite a few mottos I like to sling around including but not limited to, “Life is short, eat the cupcake,” “What would Wednesday do?” and perhaps most importantly, “What’s so great about normal?” I don’t approve of people who put others down because society has taught us they are “less” and I choose to use my words to share truth, do no harm, and combat ignorance.