This morning the thermometer outside my kitchen window has dipped to the teens. The bitter cold aside, the sun is bright and there isn't a cloud in the sky.
At the south end of the town where I work is a Wawa where they have the best English hazelnut cappuccino, which will definitely warm me up. Cris is working the cash register in his red and white Christmas hat that has a large red spring with a tuft of white fur on top. The spring bobs side to side as he talks or moves and for some reason reminds me of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Cris is the funniest and friendliest employee there and I always enjoy seeing him.
Off to my left stands a middle-aged man, dressed for working outdoors, eating a breakfast sandwich. As I slide my 12 oz. cappuccino laced with hot chocolate over, Cris says, "That'll be $1.22." He hands me my change, I grab my cappuccino and before heading out the door say, "Merry Christmas, Cris." Then somewhat sarcastically I add, "Sorry about that, I wasn't politically correct!"
By now another woman has moved up to pay for her puchase and the four of us begin a conversation on how it's "Merry Christmas" not "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings." "It's Jesus' birthday," the woman says. It feels good to know I am not alone.
I have yet to offend someone in public with the phrase, "Merry Christmas." Truthfully, I don't think about it; it pops out automatically. But then I grew up during a time when life moved a lot slower and people were much more courteous, friendlier and weren't easily insulted or hung up on phraseology.
Don't misunderstand, I welcome and embrace other forms of celebration like Hanukkah or Kwanzaa and would not be insulted if someone said, "Happy Hannukkah" or "Happy Kwanzaa". If I know someone is of the Jewish faith or African-American, I respond accordingly but to me it is, and always will be, "Merry Christmas."
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year!