Once again the holidays are upon us and this year there is something slightly different about them. This change appears to hark back to how it used to be. I am actually hearing people verbalizing ‘Christmas’ more and more. The political correctness on how we should refer to the holidays seems to be easing up. Could this be a good thing? Are we heading off course from the path of political correctness that we have been diligently following for the last decade? I believe it is a good thing and I also believe we are not off course. Political correctness has just found its equilibrium and this is what I am seeing.
In the olden days or maybe not that olden as I am thinking of the seventies and eighties, Christmas dominated everything once Thanksgiving passed (American Thanksgiving). We were inundated with Christmas, everything was colored with bright Christmas lights and fancy decorations. Schools had their Christmas pageants, concerts or recitals. Christmas was inescapable. If you followed a different religion or culture that did not recognize Christmas, it was too bad for you as you were going to have to eat your figgy pudding just like everyone else. It was not very inclusive and that was just the way it was in those days.
Political correctness didn’t really enter the scene until the nineties and as it took hold, we began to question the holidays. The term Christmas began to feel like a word that excluded non-Christians and promoted a society that did not celebrate our differences. With the financial investment the economy has in Christmas, completely canceling it was not an option. If the powers that be had tried to do that, there would have been some serious unrest. However, re-branding was an option and that became the chosen realignment of Christmas. Instead of cancelling a Christmas concert, call it a holiday concert and limit the songs to ones that didn’t mention Christmas. ‘Frosty the Snowman’ would be okay while ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ would not. Holiday trees and Happy Holidays became words of choice. Christmas became a sort of taboo though a lot of people still used the old terminology even if it wasn’t politically correct.
Political Correctness and its implementation on Christmas perhaps went a little too far. Fast forwarding to today, we are seeing people saying Merry Christmas again and just this year a local school had a Christmas concert with actual Christmas songs. What does this mean? I believe it is political correctness pulling back a little and finding equilibrium between Christmas and those who do not celebrate it. It makes perfect sense and with a return to some of the old ways we bring with us the teachings of inclusion. We have learned to respect other religions and customs along the way. It is okay to have a Christmas tree while your neighbor lights the menorah or the person across the street does nothing at all.
Ultimately, December is the holidays and we can all choose how we want to celebrate
them. It doesn’t matter if it is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or even Winter Solstice. The reality is that it is the end of a year and we all deserve a little celebration before heading off into the next year. The common thread in all of this is to treat each other nicely and respect our differences. I may celebrate Christmas but I honestly would love to attend any non-Christmas celebration and that is what inclusion is all about.
Candace Mountain is the author of the supernatural thriller The Daughter of Man which is available on Amazon for the kindle or as a trade paperback.