“Merry Christmas” and the Spirit of Giving

Recently a Facebook friend wrote that he wasn’t going to stop saying “Merry Christmas,” no matter who it might offend. Comments to his posting were equally supportive, some going so far as to say it’s a bunch of “bullshit.”

It continues to amaze me that at this (supposedly) time of peace on earth and good will towards all, people continue to exhibit such animosity, hostility, and rancor towards those who don’t believe as they do.

I personally do not honor December 25th in any religious way. For one thing, although popularized as the date Jesus was born, evidence from all fronts indicates this is in error. But beyond that, I simply am no longer a “believer.”

It’s a long-standing tradition to give gifts at this time of year. In fact, kids have learned to expect toys and other goodies – to the point that people are urged to donate to “Toys for Tots” and other organizations just so the floor under the tree isn’t bare. And adults aren’t much better. They will spend money they don’t have simply to fulfill the obligation of the season.

giving

If people truly want to demonstrate the “Christmas” spirit, why limit it to words? Why not help others to have that Merry Christmas they speak of by giving to those less fortunate – expressed through donations of food, money to help pay the bills, blankets and clothes to keep warm. (And dropping loose change into the Salvation Army bucket doesn’t count.)

Pay attention to requests from your local paper about families in need. Buy a little extra when you go to the grocery store and drop it off at the Food Bank. Go through your stash of old blankets and take them to a local charity. In other words, take heed to that old saying: “Actions speak louder than words.”

32 thoughts on ““Merry Christmas” and the Spirit of Giving

    • I tend to agree, but my posting was not so much about how Christians celebrate the holiday as it was the use of the traditional greeting.

      I have no objections to people wishing each other “Merry Christmas.” They’re just words.

      What bothered me was the display of bigotry that I saw in the Facebook posting. If people are going to use the greeting this way, then I feel they should put their money where their mouth is and demonstrate the “true meaning” of the season, as stated in The American magazine, vol. 28 (1889): “to give up one’s very self — to think only of others — how to bring the greatest happiness to others — that is the true meaning of Christmas” (Wikipedia).

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  1. Reblogged this on Nan's Notebook and commented:

    I wrote this in 2013 … long before many of you started reading my blog. In fact, of the four “Likes” I got, only one is still a regular visitor. (Do you know who you are?)

    In any case, I think the message is just as important today as it was 6 years ago so I decided to repost it. See if you agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never heard directly from anyone who expressed offence at being wished a Merry Christmas. Not a single person and I live and have always lived in quite diverse communities.

    This is yet another faux conflict, designed to create outrage fatigue and distract us from the fact that real issues are not being addressed. We have gone so far as to elect an uber-distractor to the highest office in the US of A. This is serving somebody’s interests, but certainly not ours, so if we “follow the money” maybe we can find the people who are benefiting from the current log jam. Now let’s see, who is currently benefiting from the status quo … hmmm?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m SO deeply offended by people saying, “Merry Christmas” that I often scream and yell at those who do it and often beat them up for offending my atheistic sensibilities. WAIT!!! maybe I don’t do that because I don’t really give a damn if people say it and I say it all the time myself! One of these statements is correct. I forget which. Oh, well, have a Merry Christmas if I don’t hear from you before then. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • I have no particular problems if someone says “Merry Christmas” to me. In fact, it’s such a common phrase at this time of year it reminds me of the “Have a nice day” wish.

      However, for me personally, I prefer to say “Happy Holidays” since it encompasses BOTH celebratory days of the season. (And, well, yes, I admit I do prefer to avoid the religious connotation.)

      Of course the point of the post is to share the Yuletide Spirit with those who need it. 💖🌲

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Agreed. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays mean the same to me as “Have a nice day.” They are phrases from our times that mean that and only that to me. It’s a way of being polite. Now, I’m off to mock some Christians in their church as part of my ongoing annual War on Christmas. Oh, and Happy Holidays to you, if I didn’t say so before.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I try to say Happy Holidays, but old habits…

    On Christmas Day, I try to say Merry Christmas to Christians but something else to Jews and Muslims (Like Happy Hanukkah). I don’t know how Hindus feel about the whole thing. I just try to figure it all out.
    When I’m in doubt, it’s a Merry Christmas you’ll be gettin’ from me.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I try to say Best of the Season to everyone, though if they greet me with a Merry Xmas first I often just repeat what they have said. But to say Merry Xmas to someone whom I know is not Xtian is an insult, IMO. If I cannot take the time to honour their beliefs, why am I saying anything at all? Better to just say nothing at all. I do not celebrate any religious holiday as it is, so I don’t care what people say to me. But I care what comes out of my mouth, because that is who I am.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’ve always said Happy or merry Christmas.
    The only thing that remains somewhat odd about it is the fact that after so many years in South Africa I still can’t get used to temps around 30c and no snow!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Very well said, Nan! As you said, actions speak louder than words. To quibble over whether it’s “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays”, “Happy Hanukkah” or “Joyous Kwanzaa” is ridiculous. Meanwhile, some children will go to bed that night, not only without presents, but without food in their bellies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jill! Both for actually getting the point behind the post (not so much the season’s greeting, but helping others) as well as the reblog.

      I guess because the beginning of the post talked about the “greeting,” people tended to overlook the rest of it and missed the point I was really trying to make. *sigh*

      Liked by 1 person

      • My pleasure on both counts, my friend! The point was obvious, but then it’s something I’ve had on my mind a lot lately, so perhaps it was easier for me to pick up on. The materialism and consumerism in this nation astound me. When somebody spends $25,000 on a single bottle of wine, I always wonder how many children could have eaten for a week on that $25k. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. —If people truly want to demonstrate the “Christmas” spirit, why limit it to words? Why not help others to have that Merry Christmas they speak of by giving to those less fortunate – expressed through donations of food, money to help pay the bills, blankets and clothes to keep warm. (And dropping loose change into the Salvation Army bucket doesn’t count.)—

    My daughter and a bunch of friends are active in a Catholic (Cáritas-driven) program in parishes. In their neighborhoods they know families who can afford celebrations in 3-Michelin Star restaurants on the one hand, and families who can only dream about a simple festive Christmas dinner on the other, and they “connect” them. Each of the well-to-do families (A, B, and C) receives a list with the ages and preferences of each member of a less fortunate family group (X,Y, and Z), and prepares a box with most of the same articles and presents that they provide for their own celebrations.
    A few days before Christmas Eve, families A,B, and C deliver their boxes (as in previous years, today nearly 700) at a given place, where representatives receive them, and transport them to their parishes. The following day or so, families X, Y and Z take possession ot the boxes addressed to them. Coincidentally, in our region this will happen today, Friday, and next Monday respectively.
    A nice detail: X,Y, and Z are suggested to reward their (unknown) donors in advance with a simple present, preferably something handmade, or colored by schildren.
    .-
    .-

    Liked by 1 person

      • At least here in Argentina, Christmas Eve is an almost sacred event, ending with a solemn Midnight Mass. So the sudden possibilty to celebrate it with an otherwise unattainable dinner plus aftermeal is received with indescriptable joy – which is why I didn’t try to describe it. The bright side of Christianism,

        Merry Holidays to you too, Nan! And may this nice contact continue during the year Double Twenty.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Anything I do to strive for unity in my country seems productive during the holiday season. I became disillusioned with the Unitarian Church we attended for their hypocritical inability to further that cause for the sake of making money.

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