That’d be Happy Loi Krathong for those of you in Thailand and those of you who wish they were. As with many things Thai the date of Loi Krathong is not finite though the entire country seems to celebrate their version at sometime during this week. The holiday may be a month early, but otherwise fits the traditional winter solstice celebrations practiced elsewhere in the world. While there is a debate over the holiday’s beginnings and original purpose, today most Thais see it as a celebration of renewal, the opportunity of letting go of negativity and of hoping for an upcoming year filled with good luck. So it fits with the other High Holidays headed our way. At least with their original purposes.
I have some shopping that needs to be done today and briefly considered wishing store clerks a Happy Loi Krathong just to confuse them. We are now in the midst of the busy Xmas shopping season and it is de rigueur to wish customers a Merry Christmas. Or maybe that’s Happy Holidays. You no longer know which phrase is correct. Use either and someone will object and correct you. Maybe it’d be safer to adopt Happy Loi Krathong as your holiday greeting and just keep using it until it is safe to switch over to Happy New Year!
For several years now the accepted greeting was Happy Holidays. It was a nice noncommittal phrase that expressed the appropriate sentiment while being inclusive of other faith and races’ winter holidays such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. I’m not particularly PC, but do on the occasion try to act as though I care and used Happy Holidays figuring that even if you don’t really mean it you should at least be polite enough to make room for whatever holiday it is that the person you are greeting celebrates. Except while in Hawaii. Then I used Mele Kalikimaka. Especially to tourists who felt obligated to say that phrase back and would screw it up so badly they’d just end up slinking away in shame. It’s important to take joy in whatever holiday you celebrate, regardless of how you go about doing so. With both Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas on the hot list these days, maybe the best choice would be using the Thai version of Melly Clitmas! It may end up having the same affect that using Mele Kalikimaka had in Hawaii. So at least I’d be having a happy holiday season.
Seasons Greeting might be an acceptable phrase to use as a fall back. But seriously, that greeting works better on a Christmas card than it does spoken. And who even knows what a Christmas card is anymore?
I used Happy Holidays the other day and got an instant and quite stern reply of, “You mean Merry Christmas!” as a thanks for my trouble. In the spirit of the holidays I kept my Christmas retort of “Fuck you and the reindeer you rode in on,” to myself. Okay, I get the Christian backlash against not using the name of their lord god and savior in a holiday greeting, but it just doesn’t seem to me to be a very Christian thing to do. At least not if Christ is part of your Christian religion. Which is suspect in how many of the faithful practice their religion in America these days. I just can’t imagine Jesus running around during the month of December singing out, “Say my name, Say my name!”
I just read that some Christian hate group hated the fact that The Gap failed to use Merry Christmas in its holiday advertising campaign this year and is calling for a boycott by all right-thinking right-wing nutters. Right. Because that worked so well in getting JC Penny to stop using gay people in theirs. I have no problem with Christians wanting to put Christ back in Christmas, though as in all things you should take care of your own house first. And I don’t think if Jesus came back this holiday season his focus would be on an international corporation’s advertising scheme. Know what I mean Vern?
President Obama will undoubtedly turn the lights on the White Houses’s Holiday Tree this year, and will undoubtedly pose with his family for the cover shot of their Holiday card too, and FOX will go apeshit over his attempt at being politically correct and all inclusive. Because that too is a holiday tradition these days. Most of us recognize that whichever greeting is used, it’s only a matter of someone being polite and they don’t really mean it any more than when they say, “Have a nice day.” Neither Happy Holidays nor Merry Christmas is a political slogan. Nor are either a religious one either. Maybe I’ll go back to the greeting I used in my younger days, “Have A Cool Yule!” – that works well in California.
Since the only people who seem to take offense over using any other greeting than Merry Christmas are those whose hearts have no room for people of other faiths, I’ll just use Happy Kwanzaa! this year. Anyone who takes issue with the PC greeting of Happy Holidays is probably a racist to boot – though they know better than to admit it – so using Happy Kwanzaa forces them to behave, smile, and offer a polite Merry Christmas back. I think Jesus would approve.
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