First of all, I wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah, Happy Thanksgiving, and a Merry Christmas. Although my Christmas greeting is over one month early, I’m not the first to acknowledge the arrival of Christmas. Not only have some radio stations already switched to a “holiday” format, some department stores have had their Christmas displays set up for so long, a dusting or two may have been in order. In fact, I had been to a Hobby Lobby that had a Christmas display set up back in late July. As for the separate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas greetings, I take no responsibility for any harm which may have been inflicted on the inner-children of those who take offense to such specific wishes of good tidings and joy.

If there is anything more generic and uninspired than the lack of interior color choices — other than black, grey, brown, and tan in just about every automobile and truck built since 2000, it is the “happy holidays” greeting which many people now accept as some sort of allowable default to keep the perpetually-offended among us temporarily pacified.

There is a very big difference between being insulted and being offended: whereas an insult is an intentional attack against another person’s character, people choose to be offended. The act of being offended occurs when someone is exposed to something that they do not want to be exposed to. In other words, being offended is a by-product of having an unrealistically-tiny comfort zone. Therefore, the attempt to purge humanity from every possible offensive item is simply illogical and impossible.

As a Catholic, I am honored whenever someone wishes me a Happy Hanukkah. Why should I interpret such a greeting as an insult, especially when the meaning of Hanukkah has such importance in Christianity as well?

Just when it seemed as though the level of political correctness and hyper-sensitivity toward religion couldn’t reach a new low, there is always a reminder that the world is full of pioneers who are willing to dig a little deeper. This paragraph is from an article at religionnews.com about Thanksgiving and the first full day of Hanukkah: “That’s Chanukah, as well,” Freeman continued. “A narrative deeply embedded in the collective Jewish psyche of how we fought back against religious oppression in our own land, earned our freedom and thanked Gd for the miracles.”

Yes, that is how “God” had been spelled. Somehow, the perpetually-offended are probably still not content.

As a response to those who say “happy holidays,” I try to add a little more specificity with my reply by saying “Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas.” It doesn’t take any extra effort to state the obvious.

As for radio stations which play “seasonal” music, it would only make sense to keep playing the songs that relate to winter as long as there are strong possibilities of snow, instead of ending this temporary format on December 25 – a date which Christmas happens to fall upon. This is probably only a coincidence.

If there is anything un-religious about this time of year, it would have to be the secular practice of leaving one’s morals at home in order to have more space for the goodies acquired during the annual Running of the Shoppers – a yearly ritual once reserved for the Friday after Thanksgiving, which now begins when turkeys are being placed on countless dinner tables.

Remember when Tickle Me Elmo was the reason why thousands of people either forked over thousands of dollars and/or resorted to uncivilized behavior in order to have one? Where are those dolls now? Do the purveyors of those Disney products feel any shame when they think about how they acted less-mature than the children whom they were intended for? If some of those former Elmo owners are lined-up in front of their local Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving morning, the answer is probably “no.”

In a few days, nobody is going to remember the goods “that just had to be bought” on Thanksgiving evening. How many of those necessary goods may end up as projectiles during Christmas parties, where family members who have had a “few too many” to drink decide that it is a good idea to discuss one of the “forbidden subjects” that is guaranteed to prematurely end any family reunion?

Christmas, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving are three separate holidays that commemorate different events in history; throwing all three under the “happy holidays” umbrella is just as pointless and divisive as referring to an American as a “hyphenated American.”

Image: Courtesy of: http://christmascarolindoha.wikispaces.com/Vocabulary