One of my favorite quips, when someone speaks of Mount Vernon, Iowa, is to say, “Mount Vernon? I hardly even know Vernon!” It’s a rip-off of the punch-line-with-no-joke-necessary, “Rectum? Hell, it nearly killed ‘em!” This all came to mind because I suddenly have a desire every time someone wishes me a Merry Christmas to say, “Merry Christmas? I don’t know Christmas well enough to marry her!” Those of you with whom I will be spending Christmas will be pleased to know that I will resist the temptation to follow through on this.
I’d like to wish all of you who read this blog a very happy holiday season. Now, this may seem like the wimps way out, since I could wish you specifically a Merry Christmas, since that is the holiday that I will be celebrating. However, not only do I recognize that you might be celebrating Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or some other holiday right around this time, but I also would like to acknowledge that you might be celebrating no holiday at all, or for that matter multiple holidays if you’re in a religiously blended family or just like to rack up the gifts. “Happy Holidays” seems to cover all of that, and if you are indeed celebrating nothing, then I hope you’ll take it to mean “Have a nice day.”
Some take offense at the “happy holidays” thing. When I hear that phrase disparaged, it is mostly under the heading “an assault on Christmas.” I’m not sure why it is taken thusly, and I don’t want this loving holiday message that I am clacking away at my keyboard to create to get bogged down trying to figure it out.
No, I will instead simply pass on a sincere wish to you that you get to spend some time with those you love, sharing in your traditions whatever they may be. At my family’s Christmas, for example, it will be taking board game playing perhaps slightly more seriously than we should, and sneaking black olives before they’ve actually been served to the group. I will be bringing several backup cans of olives just in case we run short.
If you are traveling, I hope you do so safely. If you are hosting, I hope your burden in that regard is light. If you are working on your holiday, you have my respect and thanks for doing so, so that others may have time off. Most of all, I wish you peace of mind and joy in your heart.