December 20th, 2005

Loki riding

“Three Words of Heresy: Happy New Year!”, or, “My Inadvertant Foray into the Culture Wars"

I’ve been reading in the news all the hoohah over people saying “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays”, but I sure never expected to get involved personally in this conversation. Until yesterday, that is, when I had the following encounter with a woman I barely know:

She said, “Merry Christmas!”

I replied, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”

I could just see the chill forming. She said, “It’s ‘Merry Christmas’.”

So I said, “Happy Holidays! Because, at a minimum there are two of them, one week apart, and I actually like New Years better than Christmas.”

And she said, “IT’S MERRY CHRISTMAS! SAY IT: IT’S – MERRY – CHRISTMAS!”

Well, I opened my mouth, and out pops, “Merry... Yule!”

Good thing we got interrupted then, because I was about to launch on a long, geeky discussion of Mithras, Sol Invictus, Saturnalia and the interesting fact that the Puritans so despised Christmas that observing Christmas was actually illegal in parts of New England in the 1600s. (I love reading about theology, ancient and modern). And I know for a fact that this would not have gone over well...

But who knew that “Happy New Year!” was on the list of forbidden phrases???

So,

Happy Channukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Yule!
Peace on Earth, good will to everyone!
¡Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!