Not declaring war on holidays or anything but I’ve been realizing when I look at someone I can’t tell whether they celebrate any holidays around this time of year or not. For instance, Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists do have holidays, but those are not necessarily around this time. And, just as I don’t want to misgender anyone, I don’t want to mis-religion them either.
So this year I find myself not wishing happy holidays to anyone unless they wish me first. Not that people who do celebrate holidays around this time are going to be in any shortage of holiday wishes. But it does seem to be an especially good time to be aware of the need not to make assumptions about people.
That leads to what to respond to people when they greet me. If they say “Merry Christmas” I usually respond “Happy Holidays.” I try to make sure it’s a tone of voice that they don’t feel like I’m correcting them. I’m not, I just don’t feel comfortable being erased.
One of the issues we talk about in dismantling racism is it’s not about intent, it’s about impact. “Merry Christmas” has a negative impact on me, and I don’t want to take part in it. That’s hard to do in our society.
I’m not at war with Christmas, I’d just like it to let me be. So if I don’t wish you “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” without you saying it first, or you wish me “Merry Christmas” and I wish you “Happy Holidays” back, I’m not warring on anything. I’m just trying to make it through this awkward time.