In a country filled with different cultures, isn’t it a bit peculiar that we aren’t allowed to express ourselves? The situation at hand is, none other than, the idea that saying “Merry Christmas” is one of the worst things you can do in December (other than drinking the eggnog that’s been sitting in the back of your fridge since last December).
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why “Merry Christmas” has been put on the naughty list for the last couple of years. Canada is a nation known for its multiculturalism, and to assume everyone celebrates Christmas is juvenile.
However, why is this saying the only Christmas related thing taking a hit? Cities around Ontario are still putting up nativity scenes (Brantford’s nativity scene was recently relocated to Glenhyrst for Brantford Lights). Canadian Tire still sports the Christmas related slogan “Canada’s Christmas store since 1922.” Despite the recent controversy, Starbucks still spreads some Christmas joy by offering a “Christmas Blend” instant coffee and Christmas themed gift cards. Christmas classics are still being rerun on television and Santa’s are flocking to malls everywhere. The examples are endless.
So what makes hearing “Merry Christmas” in public about as rare as getting a lump of coal in your stocking?
In recent years, many have tried to attain a certain level of political correctness, which has made many weary of trying to insult others. People are also uncomfortable assuming whether someone celebrates Christmas, which leads people to be less likely to spread some cheer.
Ahmed Hanfi, a previous student at Laurier Brantford disagrees with the idea that people shouldn’t say Merry Christmas. Hanfi comes from a Djibouti and Somali background and doesn’t celebrate Christmas but he feels that “Merry Christmas is just something you say during the holiday season, so I don’t think about it much.”
Vikrant Jaswal, a second year Laurier Brantford student, has a refreshing view on the holiday season; coming from an Indian background, his family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but they still enjoy the opportunity to spread joy by giving.
“My family celebrates only some cultural aspects of Christmas. It’s a holiday made to be together, so we show each other Christmas spirit by showing appreciation towards each other, having big family dinners, giving awesome gifts and simply spreading the good vibes.”
Sounds a lot like what Christmas is about, right?
Even though Hanfi and Jaswal are just two students and can’t speak for entire groups, but they are two examples of how people who do not celebrate Christmas are fine with the use of “Merry Christmas.” They remind us that saying “Merry Christmas” is a sentiment that is used purely to spread joy. Hanfi and Jaswal also remind us that you need to be open to other cultures, so many of us have a thing or two to learn.