I've decided that I am going to say Merry Freaking Christmas this year, and I've come to this decision after picking up some a Christmas present for my mother's bird. In fact, I might go as far as saying, "Merry Freaking Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Bah-humbug!" Does that cover everything?
Here is what happened: I was standing in line checking out when the lady told me that part of my purchase was free due to frequent buyer points. Couldn't have come at a better time, with Christmas coming. Plus with all the bills, my paycheck was just about gone, and I wasn't getting another for a week. The two clerks were chatting about what a rough time of year it was, and I chimed in, "Oh yeah, especially with Christmas shopping."
Well, the second clerk shook her head behind mine, and said, "Oh no, don't say that!"
"Say what?" I asked, noticing the expression on my clerks face.
"Don't say Christmas," The second clerk responded. Again, my clerk's face remained stoic.
"Oh....." I said, and the rest of my time was incredibly awkward. What was I to do? Should I wish them a Happy Thanksgiving? Do I ask if she is Jewish and wish her a Happy Hanukkah? Or Kwanzaa? Do I apologize?
As she helped me to the car, I wanted to apologize, but I didn't want to offend her. And then, when she went back into the store, I said, "Wait a minute. I don't mind respecting other people's beliefs, but they should respect mine too! I shouldn't have to censor myself."
That woman should have simply said, "Sorry, I don't believe in Christmas, I'm Jewish." And I would have apologized and wished her a Happy Hanukkah. That would have been the end of it, but instead I spend the next 3 days feeling offensive and offended at the same time. Not fair!
I'm honestly the same way with all cultures; I don't want to say the wrong thing because I'm afraid to be considered "mean" or "rude." I remember when I was in Elementary school, I was told never to call a black person black. "Call them African American." My teachers would say, "That's the polite thing to do."
Well, it's wrong, and it peeves me when I hear it. What about the people from the Dominican. What about Hati? Doesn't categorizing people with dark skin as "African American" steal from their heritage?
I need to give up on being so politically correct. I'm tired of desperately searching for the right words to say. I'm sick of the inner turmoil: Merry Freaking Christmas!!!!