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Thursday, 15 December 2005
"Happy Holidays" An Editorial
Hello Friends! Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog, Stock Picks Bob's Advice.

I generally spend my time on this blog writing about stocks and investments. And I plan to continue to do so in the future. But from time to time, just as you may see a comment in the Wall Street Journal or the Investors Business Daily, I would like to share a word with you about a perhaps unrelated subject. And you are welcome to respond and add your comments to this discussion.

There has been a movement started in this country to defeat the "War Against Christmas" as Bill O'Reilly, John Gibson, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson and others have been explaining. And what is this "War" been doing? Have there been shots fired? Churches burned? Pogroms against true believers?

No. The war is simply that some people and some businesses are using and encouraging their employees to say "Happy Holidays". Perhaps sometimes in preference to the more Christian "Merry Christmas".

The war includes broadsides against Christianity in the form of inserts in the newspapers advertising sales and toys and maybe even a "holiday tree" instead of a Christmas tree. Of course, the attack on Christmas also includes denial of Christmas in public schools, removal of Creches from the Town Square and making things in general more "politically correct."

Is Christmas in trouble? Do we need to rise to the front to defend this assault?

What most of these pundits try to gloss over to their readers and listeners is the most important fact that America is a multicultural nation. We have a majority of Christians, a large majority in fact, but we have a variety of religious denominations and many who choose not to believe anything in the religion department at all.

When businesses say "Happy Holidays", they are recognizing and indeed respecting the diversity of all of their customers. And that is the American tradition and the freedom that we cherish in America.

To respect diversity is to respect tolerance, inclusivity, and yes indeed to respect our love for our fellow man.

Insofar as the public space is concerned, keeping religion out of this arena protects both the public that may or may not share this particular message, preventing the "Establishment of Religion" prohibited in the First Amendment, but also protects that religion itself.

The development of "Happy Holidays" is indeed a watered-down version of "Merry Christmas" for most people. This is the risk of mixing government and religion as well. We get a secularized version of a religious message. A new religious message that may not make anyone happy. And then we will have each religious denomination lobbying to have its version included or made the exclusive view. So let us continue to work on separating church and state to protect both institutions.

So let us encourage the good will and love of this holiday season. Let us respect diversity and not create conflicts that are imaginary to fire up our political base.

Wishing all of my friends a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays and Season's Greetings!

May you all have a wonderful 2006 and may it find us more at peace with each other, with other nations, spending money to find cures for disease, hunger, ignorance, and improving the quality of life for all of the inhabitants on this planet. And may we all seek ways to understand and respect each other, and not feel threatened when some may choose to be inclusive in their holiday greetings!

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 8:10 AM CST | Post Comment | View Comments (6) | Permalink

Thursday, 15 December 2005 - 9:45 AM CST

Name: nodoodahs
Home Page: http://www.nodoodahs.blogspot.com

Here's wishing you and yours a pleasent Winter Solstice!

Thursday, 15 December 2005 - 1:43 PM CST

Name: Dan
Home Page: http://none

Saying "Happy Holidays" as opposed to "Merry Christmas" should do no harm to the Christian. Merry Christmas just like Happy Holidays is a way of expressing the same thing. Frankly they both could be changed. It is odd however that a day set aside to commemorate the birth of Jesus, a very Christian figure, could or should be changed so as to distort it's history. The real question that should be asked if anyone cares anymore is- Who is Jesus and why do we take so much time to commemorate his birth? Is it not something to ponder the amount of energy and resources that goes into celebrating the birth of a child?

Thursday, 15 December 2005 - 3:58 PM CST

Name: nodoodahs
Home Page: http://www.nodoodahs.blogspot.com

The entire debate seems to me to be all about intolerance. For example, some folks are apparently offended by "merry Christmas" but seem unwilling to report to work on Dec 25th. To be tolerant of their intolerance, others suggest "happy holidays" or using multiple greetings (and apparently hoping that none are left out).

To be truly tolerant of each other while still respecting our own holiday(s), we should cheerfully greet with whatever we believe, regardless of whether we are the first or second to greet. Example: A Kwanzaa celebrater approaches and wishes me "happy Kwanzaa." Instead of being offended, I cheerfully say "thank you! And merry Christmas to you!" while smiling all the while. No harm, no foul. And vice versa, whatever the combination and whomever goes first, just cheerfully reply with your choice of celebration, smile and go your own way.

The truly interesting thing to me is that, in a country which ostensibly is majority Christian, why is Christmas a bigger holiday than Easter? Doesn't the day of resurrection have more significance to Christ's message than his birthday does?

Thursday, 15 December 2005 - 5:37 PM CST

Name: bobsadviceforstocks
Home Page: http://bobsadviceforstocks.tripod.com/bobsadviceforstoc

In response to what is "truly tolerant", I do not believe that we should be addressing others with greetings of our own holiday. Let me explain, if it is your birthday, would you greet everyone else with the greeting "Happy Birthday". Of course not. Thus, if you know someone is celebrating Christmas, respect their holiday and greet them with a "Merry Christmas!" If your friend is African-American and you know that he/she is celebrating Kwanzaa, go ahead and offer them a "Happy Kwanzaa!". And the same for those who celebrate Hanukkah.

Thus, the retail outfit that CANNOT know what a customer might be celebrating is properly advised to wish their customers "Happy Holidays" thereby including everyone.

Bob

Friday, 16 December 2005 - 8:44 AM CST

Name: nodoodahs
Home Page: http://www.nodoodahs.blogspot.com

With all due respect, I think your birthday comparison is a non-sequiter.

Most folk are familiar with Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukah, etc., and know that they are celebrated this time of year. Also, most folk are aware of the diversity of celebration and therefore not surprised when someone greets them with something they don't themselves celebrate. Frankly they all have their roots, or at least their timing, in the pagan astrological celebration of the winter solstice (it was not uncommon for the new official religion to co-opt the holy days and holy sites of the old official religion, e.g. the locations of churches in Scotland). Also most folk are familiar with "happy holidays" which is a shortening of "happy holy days" as the secular greeting en vogue nowadays. So whereas passers-by might be confused by my saying "happy birthday" to them in mid-July, they would not have the same confusion where I to greet them with one of the above.

I suggest we show tolerance by being cheerful and saying "thank you!" to anyone that gives any holiday (holy day) greeting to us, regardless of what we celebrate, and suggest that we can honor our own celebration by cheerfully and gladly responding with giving them, in turn, a greeting for our own holiday (holy day).

The key is to BE CHEERFUL when you do it, and BE GENUINELY THANKFUL when saying "thanks" to their greeting. After all, they are wishing you (what they think is) the best.

:-)

You might be surprised if you try this at your office. After one year of responding with yours to theirs, I bet you find that next year, your coworkers greet you with your holiday and not with theirs - all in the spirit of loving kindness.

:-)

Friday, 16 December 2005 - 6:40 PM CST

Name: Dan

Hey you raise an interesting thought about easter vs christmas . The only good answer I can think of as to why easter is not celebrated as much is that the retailers and marketers in this great "christian Nation" of ours have yet to connect with the people as such. Of course you are assuming that we celebrate Christmas as a nation because we are a "Christian nation". We do it because retailers and there marketers are effective. Actually Easter is a much bigger holiday to the Christian than christmas we just celebrate it differently even though it is a much more fantastic thing than just a mere birth. I don't know how you would celebrate an resurection as a national celebration I guess the markerters are stumped on that one too. If you think about it though, it is a -chicken vs egg- thing. We could not righty have easter if we do not have christmas. As well if we did not have easter where would Christmas be? Either way I accept both events as historical and whether anyone says to me kwanza or hannukuh or jolly-holi-day I will not look down or frown on there statements I will however think about that Little child who was born and then rose.

Merry Christmas

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