Monday, December 12, 2005

Seasonal tales

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Storytellers are struggling along with the rest of the United States to maintain political correctness in this era of "season's greetings." Called upon to perform for various functions, there are requests on the storytell listserv for "winter tales." Smart aleck that I am, I almost posted a reference to Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale," but I resisted that impulse.

While I completely respect and celebrate the diversity of humankind, the fuss lately in the media gives one pause; if someone at Target were to wish me "L'Chaiam," would I take offense? Not a chance. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is the season of waiting; waiting for the days to grow longer, the light to return, the light being in the Christian faith of course, Jesus Christ. What's happening is perhaps more a reflection of the shifting of our nation from a Christian majority to greater diversity in belief systems. Along with the diversity, there are greater numbers of people here who have different beliefs and would want them recognized as well. Add in to the mix those folks who choose not to adhere to a religious belief system and it gets pretty complicated.

Yet isn't the underlying sentiment in all of these various seasonal greetings simply one of hope and peace? I think that no matter what your slant, those are things we all wish to see in our world. Rather than reacting negatively to the whole mess, it is not a bad thing to simply say, "Thank you," and then place whatever spin on said greeting you need. In fact, maybe the greeters at the stores could simply wish us all "Peace and hope to you." Better yet, return to the meaning of the celebration, whatever faith system you follow. Stay home and light a candle. Bake cookies. Knit socks for your loved ones. Tell stories of holiday celebrations past. Peace and hope to you.


At 6:08 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Wonderful entry - TFS!

At 7:32 AM, Blogger Becca said...

Great entry--I had this exact conversation last night with my husband. I don't understand the fuss, the problem with saying "Season's Greetings." I guess people just like to complain...


At 8:16 AM, Anonymous torm said...

okay...that's the cutest little tree I ever did see!!!

At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Leslie said...

A wonderful entry, put so eloquently!

At 8:45 AM, Blogger islandgirl said...

Interesting read. Christmas is so pervasive in our culture, that it would be quite hard to avoid the real reason for the holidays. Does it really offend people to hear about Santa, and reindeer, because that's all made up, and has nothing to do with the Christian reason for celebrating it. I think it would be good to reflect other cultures holidays as well, but I cringe whenever I hear of someone that thinks Christmas and all related things should be banned. Not from a religious perspective, but just from am ethical point of view. For one person to spoil the fun for the rest, just doesn't seem right.

At 8:46 AM, Blogger ~Caro~ said...

I find it interesting when I hear of the 'debate' over saying "Merry Christmas" that should be replaced by Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings. I find it hard to understand, because I live something SO different here. I live in Quebec, and we have emancipated ourselves, as a nation, from the church half a decade ago. When we say Joyeux Noel, there's no mention of the name of Jesus Christ in there. It's Noël, period. The holiday to put up a tree, give to others, play in the snow, see relatives, bake cookies... While we do say "Joyeuses Fêtes" (happy holidays) as well, this is a saying that was there well before we got such a diversity in cultures. The Fêtes it refers to is Noël and the New Year celebrations. Obviously, now it has taken on a new meaning for the ones that do not have a christian background at all.

Anyway, I'm babbling here. But I think PC is going too far these days, IMO. I'd be happy to receive ANY kind of greeting. If someone told me Happy Hannukah, I'd thank them and tell them the same!

What it all boils down to is not the religion, to me, it's the SENTIMENT, it's wishing you the best.

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous jamie said...

I am a teacher and when my Somali students are celebrating their holiday of Eid, I wish them a Happy Eid even though I am 100% Christian. They could wish me a happy Eid if they wanted to and I wouldn't be offended because to them, it is Eid. I think people just need something to be upset about and a bandwagon to jump on. By the way, Merry Christmas

(By the way, if I win, my e-mail address is

At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Betsy said...

Yes. Yes. Yes.

I'm not a religious person, but was raised in the Christian faith and married a Catholic. Christmas is still my favorite holiday, even though we don't have any children yet. As a non-religious (this DOES NOT mean anti!) person, I smile, wish the Salvation Army bell ringer a Merry Christmas, the man in the yarmulke a Happy Hannukkah and if it's not overly apparent, I say Happy Holidays to people. Is it really so hard to notice others in our hustle-bustle wqord, say a kind word with a smile and move on, even if they say Season's Greetings when we'd prefer Merry Christmas?

I think in part, this "war on Christmas" is all created and stoked by Bill O'Reilly and Fox news. But whatever. Say what you'd like to say, when appropriate.

Anyways. Peace and joy to all!

LOVE the little wooden train!

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Amy said...

You know it could be worse we could live in a society that we don't have the rights to free speach. I for one am glad that we all have a right to our own opinions and that I am teaching my child that no one is more right than another! I am not a religious person but I still love to share the holiday spirit, all of them!

At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Becky said... the little tree!

As far as greetings - as far as I'm concerned, what someone else chooses to say isn't going to affect how I view Christmas. I'd rather just practice a little kindness and send back a happy greeting, whatever faith you do or don't practice.

A kind word goes a lot farther than these "wars" that keep being declared, I say.

At 1:07 PM, Blogger alecia*grimm said...

I love that little tree too! Merry Christmas!

At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your tree is adorable!

I agree with you one hundred percent. My husband and I always try to teach our children to respect all beliefs and religions, taking care (as much as possible) not to say or do anything that could offend. Ultimately, this is truly a season of peace and hope. Wishing someone hope and peace certainly shouldn't be offensive, and no matter what the faith or holiday we can all use more peace!!

Great entry. I have bookmarked your blog!


At 7:10 PM, Anonymous ScrappinSher said...

Nicely put. :)



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