Merry Christmas…or not.

Just a quick something for the small-minded haters.

When someone says, “Merry Christmas,” they’re not trying to convert your stupid ass or insult you. It’s not an invitation to a debate or a challenge of your morals or beliefs. You need to get that through your head right now.

While the United States is not a Christian nation, a lot of the people in it are, or have been raised with or near Christian traditions. You should try to come to terms with that, too. This also includes having been raised with the idea of celebrating Christmas. It’s this thing Christians do every year—it really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone by now—where they celebrate the birth of some guy called Jesus. (It’s pronounced “G-zus,” not “hey, Zeus.” One is the Christmas guy, the other is Hispanic.)

And no, we’re not going to deflect over to another point about whether the date of Big J’s birth is off or whether the pagans did it first or whatever. That has nothing to do with the topic at hand, so if you wanted to say something along those lines, now would be a good time to swallow it.

Now, those wacky Christians have a habit of greeting each other with the phrase, “Merry Christmas.” Properly-raised people have developed the custom of greeting each other, as well, but Christians have a thing about wishing other people to have an especially happy time around Christmas. They’re odd like that.

Note the wording I used. They greet people. They don’t force something on you or order you to partake of it. Greeting someone is simply a way of acknowledging someone’s presence, usually with a pleasantry like “good morning.” They offer this in a friendly way in the hopes that you have a good morning or a merry Christmas.

They also *wish* you these things. Not “I wish you’d worship like I do,” but “I hope that you are granted this thing that I want you to have.” It’s an expression of a desire that you receive something positive. You see the distinction, hopefully. They wish you to have a pleasant day. They don’t demand or decree that you enjoy your day under penalty of eternal damnation.

That’s what’s going on here. They are offering you a greeting with the hopes that you actually will enjoy your Christmas. That’s all.

So you don’t celebrate Christmas? Whoopty-fucking-doo. Neither do I. I’m agnostic. So what? When someone says “Merry Christmas” to you, you are not invited or entitled to go on some prolonged, pronounced rampage of righteous assholery. You are not being attacked or insulted. Someone is trying to be nice to you and is doing it in the manner they are most familiar with. It’s a “default mode” thing.

Should you be one of those who does not celebrate Christmas and you encounter one of those “Merry Christmas” types, here’s all you need to do. Acknowledge them with a “thank you” and return the favor with a simple, “And to you, too.” See? It’s that easy, and you don’t have to sully your lips with any religious phrases or metaphors. The same goes for someone saying “Happy Hannukah” or “Merry Kwanzaa” or even “good morning.” It’s the same damn intention all around regardless of phrasing.

Long story short: someone is trying to be nice to your ungrateful ass. Swallow your attitude and return the fucking favor. Rather than lament that someone mentioned something God-related in your delicate presence, you should instead be cognizant and appreciative of the fact that someone took the time out of their life to acknowledge your presence, deem you worthy of a common courtesy, then extend you that courtesy and a kind thought. Someone gave a shit about you. What kind of dick do you have to be to turn around and get pissed off about that?

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