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Year End Season

weather: light rain
outside: 10.6°C
mood: calm/satisfied/pensive
The end-of-year season has to be one of the worst displays of humanity. The atmosphere of excess that it creates is repugnant. Eating, drinking, buying, spending, using, discarding.

Even in doing good, volunteering and donating to charitable causes, it's such an act. A) Statistically, special occasions seem to be the only time people really think of anything like that; and B) charitable causes are in much more need at other times of the year. Which says, to me, that people only do it to satisfy their own sense of guilt.

It's also a bit disturbing to see huge case-switch statements of different holiday greetings trying to exhaustively enumerate every possible one for whatever could be celebrated by anyone on the planet. There's usually even a default value. There's a difference between trying to include everyone and getting ridiculous about it.

A Hungry Ghost is a soul with an insatiable appetite for attention, stimulation, wealth and benefit, whether or not it's justified or deserved. They are materially and emotionally greedy. I'm not sure if it's worse that people act like such Hungry Ghosts at this time of year or that people feed the Hungry Ghost phenomenon.

What exactly does it matter that you are greeted by the holiday you don't celebrate?

Whether it's "Happy Hanukkah" or "here, I'll help you with the groceries", they're just noises. The meaning behind the noise is much more important. I'm happy that someone thought of me at whatever time they did and expressed as much.

I say again:

I'm just happy that someone thought of me at whatever time they did and expressed as much.

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
carbon_kink
Dec. 25th, 2005 11:34 pm (UTC)
Aah, thank you, I've been waiting to hear someone say this. I feel the same way about this time of year.

Another thing one might think of... Christians and other people who celebrate Christmas this one time of year are doing so... some because of the guilt factor, but some because of the teachings of Jesus, that we may give and share and love thy neighbor. Yet... can't we make that effort every day? Give a kind word, or a helping hand, an expression of generosity in any form just as we are able, every day? We're pretty much self-centerd year round, and to fake being generous by feeding that Hungry Ghost phenomenon... it's sacrelige and disrespectful. But there are those who really try, regardless of religion or anything, and may they have a warm and delightful day this Christmas day.
bride
Dec. 26th, 2005 02:14 am (UTC)
I've been waiting to hear someone say this.

Heh, so was I. Then I got tired of waiting and decided to say it myself =)
easter
Dec. 26th, 2005 01:22 am (UTC)
What exactly does it matter that you are greeted by the holiday you don't celebrate?

Whether it's "Happy Hanukkah" or "here, I'll help you with the groceries", they're just noises. The meaning behind the noise is much more important. I'm happy that someone thought of me at whatever time they did and expressed as much.


This really, really, really matters to a lot of people. I don't really understand why, as the sentiment behind a kind greeting is just that - a kind sentiment - and if the holiday is a little misplaced, I don't exactly understand how it's a personal affront.

Nevertheless, because it matters to so many people, I try to be sensitive to it, number one because I truly want people to feel as comfortable as possible, and number two (and this is admittedly selfish) because I don't want to deal with the b.s. and recriminations accusing me of being spiteful or insensitive if I inadvertently leave someone out.
bride
Dec. 26th, 2005 02:11 am (UTC)
True enough. I generally return the same greeting that's given to me. I've stopped caring because it just feels like a game that you can't win at and stressing out about it just wasn't the point.

Mele Kalikimaka! =)
carbon_kink
Dec. 26th, 2005 02:22 am (UTC)
Mele Kalikimaka! Heh, here in Hawaii most people just say Marry Christmas... I say Mele Kaikimaka and I get weird looks sometimes, pretty strange concitering this is Hawaii. :P
bride
Dec. 26th, 2005 02:38 am (UTC)
Haha, I think only Bing Crosby said it =D
(Deleted comment)
bride
Dec. 26th, 2005 06:25 am (UTC)
I think we've just never associated Christmas with Christians to begin with, so I don't have a problem with it. And living in a multi-cultural area such as the Lower Mainland, in BC, it's not just Christians who say "Merry Christmas".
ntang
Dec. 26th, 2005 09:08 am (UTC)
I think it's people that honestly care enough to get upset about any phrase said with good intentions like that - Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, whatever - that cause the troubles. No offense, but people getting insulted over Merry Christmas are almost as bad as Bill O'Reilly and his crew of ignorant morons, in my book.

Sometimes, you know, it's ok to just accept the well-wishes in the spirit in which they were intended and not necessary to make a political hullabaloo out of all of it. I've heard very few people say "Merry Christmas, to the exclusion of all other holidays, and I hope all of you non-Christians burn in Hell!" I don't take offense if my non-Christian friends wish me well about any non-Christian holidays. I wouldn't be offended if my non-English speaking friends wished me well in some other language, either. It's not about the words, specifically, it's about the intent. People say things like "Merry Christmas" not because they're imposing their religion on you; they say them because they are wishing you well with the words they know. There's nothing exclusionary about "Merry Christmas".

Here's an honest suggestion: try to just relax about it and be happy that rather than being mean or angry or upset, they gave you a smile and wished you well. Humans find so many ways to be unpleasant to each other, I really feel like we don't need to go looking for ways to be insulted or upset when people actually make the effort, no matter how small or sometimes even misguided, to be nice.

P.S. I have generally started saying Happy Holidays, and really, it makes me a bit sad, because the simple act of wishing someone well has become something where I've become paranoid and worried about insulting and offending people. It shouldn't be that way, in my opinion, and I don't think it's because I'm showing a lack of consideration or considering non-Christians abnormal. So Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Totally Sweet Yule, Rocking Winter Solstice, Happy Holidays, or whatever else you'd like to be said to you. Whatever your religion or belief system, I sincerely hope you have a good winter season.
(Deleted comment)
ntang
Dec. 26th, 2005 09:16 am (UTC)
Because it's not what comes naturally to my lips, and honestly, I think people should be able to take the well-wishing in the intention that it was given. I slip, sometimes, and say Merry Christmas - and thanks to the outrage so many people have taken over it, I immediately feel guilty and worried and so many other things that I really shouldn't feel when I just tried to be nice.

I'm not burning people at the stake when I say Merry Christmas. I'm not insisting that they be Christian. It's a holiday I celebrate, and it means something to me, and I'm wishing them the best in the holiday spirit. Why is that a burden?
(Deleted comment)
ntang
Dec. 26th, 2005 10:00 am (UTC)
A selfish argument? Because some people have gone so far over the line that they've forgotten that what we're supposed to be combatting is intolerance, prejudice, and ignorance and not some differences?

Let me put it to you another way: if I say good morning to someone because I'm having a good morning, and they hate mornings, they shouldn't be upset at me for wishing them a good morning. (Should they?) The majority of people say good morning to each other and like the morning when it's going well. I'm a night person, and most mornings I'm in a bad mood, but I don't get angry at people saying good morning (any more than I get angry at anyone for having the nerve to exist around me when it's a morning and I'm not in bed). Do you also feel oppressed when someone says "bless you" when you sneeze? (Those are silly examples, intentionally, but hopefully they illustrate my point.)

No one is asking you to celebrate Christmas. No one is asking you to be a Christian. They're wishing you well. 99% of the time, that's it!

Here's the thing. When you say "show a lack of consideration for anyone but themselves, and it often reflects a basic belief that all "normal" people are Christian" you're making an assumption - several, actually - about a person's intent and desires. (Not to mention over-reacting.) You are in, my opinion, as guilty as most people who may be saying Merry Christmas to you.

There's a fundamental difference between believing, and persecuting, based on a difference in beliefs, and simply wishing people well. I certainly don't feel beset upon by someone wishing me anything but Merry Christmas - I'll take any holiday greeting, and be happy that the person actually cared enough to say something nice.

If it doesn't matter much anyways, why say something like "show a lack of consideration for anyone but themselves, and it often reflects a basic belief that all "normal" people are Christian"? Out of curiousity, how many times have you tried - in a non-confrontational way, mind you, and with the understanding that they may simply not realize this - that you don't believe in Christianity or Christmas and so would prefer a different phrase or greeting or well-wishing or whatever? Of those times, how many times have the people been hostile?

Look, I honestly don't care what anyone believes or practices as long as it doesn't hurt other people against their consent (BDSM being an example of being hurt with consent ;) ). Hey, I used to be a straight Christian hanging out in the NYC goth scene - and there, I was the one who was in the minority (in a big, BIG way). I wasn't offended by my friends who were polyamorous or wiccan or anything else, and I certainly wasn't bothered when they celebrated their beliefs or wished me well in a manner appropriate to them.

It just bothers me how so many people have gotten so politically correct nowadays - being considerate and open minded is a good thing, but there comes a point where people are just looking to pick a fight, and that bugs me. The thing is, being open minded and considerate is a two-way street, and I really think people need to try harder both ways - not only when speaking, but also when listening. (And I don't think that's selfish or disingenuous; I've seen a million fights break out because people were so fast to take offense that they didn't even bother to think about - or talk about - what was said, and that just boggles my mind.)

Anyhoo. I'm heading to bed, it's almost 5 am here and I need to get some sleep. Happy holidays!
ntang
Dec. 26th, 2005 09:14 am (UTC)
Bah. In the same spirit as the other reply I made to another thread in the replies, I think, y'know, sometimes it's ok just to be glad that people are being good to each other no matter what the reason or the season.

It's true - people often are short-sighted, motivated by guilt, forgetful of charities when it's not the "giving season", all of that. It's all true. And it's disappointing, I can't argue that. But what's most important is that they're giving, and trying. Sometimes, y'know, that's enough.

I get pissed off sometimes, too. It frustrates me that people give so much for Katrina, for instance, but ignore so many other places and times when people need their charity. But I also know, from personal experience, that sometimes people just don't have the strength to face the horrors every day, in and out. Sometimes I don't, and I'd like to think I'm better about it than most. So sometimes it takes something a bit larger and in our face - whether a tragedy has just hit and is plastered on the tv or just that the spirit of giving is in the air due to the season - and I don't know if that's ultimately terrible.

I'm not saying you're wrong, because you're not. But I will say this: sometimes it's ok to just let yourself enjoy the holiday without thinking about how terrible everyone must be. It's ok, really. The holidays should be a time when, if no other time, you just enjoy being with the people you love and appreciate all of the good that's still out there, despite our best efforts as a race to ruin it all, and smile.

Merry Christmas. :)
kaseido
Dec. 26th, 2005 05:07 pm (UTC)
But here it's *not* used as an expression of good will, but explicitly *as* a political statement - that the US is a "Christian nation," and that other religions aren't welcome in the public space, in public discourse.

Frex, on the 24th, in the lane next to me there was a large pickup truck with a huge professionally-printed decal in the window that said "It's Merry Chrstmas" - with a cross replacing the T -"too bad if it offends you, get over it."

I *almost* shouted at the driver, but didn't - and I still debate whether my refusal was an act of compassion or of moral cowardice.

But here - in the US in general, and in red states in particular - the whole "Merry Christmas" thing is a political assault by the religious right, and *not* a response to non-Christian intolerance with specific greetings, but a response to large corporations using inclusive language in dealing with the public.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 26th, 2005 05:29 pm (UTC)

It's fascinating to me that in a world where everything SCREAMS Christmas for about two months prior to the actual holiday, there are people who bristle at the suggestion that you should greet people as though they might celebrate a holiday different than yours.

As a Jew who grew up in the middle of Kansas, I have indeed "gotten over" the fact that I will always, always be greeted with "Merry Christmas". Even in years when I prominently wore a Jewish star, I still was greeted with the same refrain. It doesn't anger me so much as makes me feel a bit sad and invisible in this culture. One of my friends whose family is Chinese -- but who was born in the US -- occasionally gets compliments about "how well [he] speaks English" or comments which assume little difference between Chinese culture and Japanese/Thai/Korean/etc. I see these as being in the same vein as the "Christmas" comments. The people who tell my friend that he speaks English well certainly don't mean to offend, but the comments leave him feeling distanced from the culture he lives in, and make him feel sad and misunderstood.
bride
Dec. 27th, 2005 03:10 am (UTC)
Maybe I'm just plenty amused already at the irony that they think Christmas is a Christian holiday. =}
kaseido
Dec. 27th, 2005 08:56 pm (UTC)
lol!!

Quite so!
sophia
Dec. 28th, 2005 04:41 am (UTC)
it is like that here....as in christmas is not christian at all...

u get hindus wishing merry christmas to buddhists...

and everyone goes shopping
bride
Dec. 28th, 2005 06:22 am (UTC)
BWAHAHAHA!! XD I like that kind of Christmas. And there are such pretty decorated streets in Singapore. EVERYTHING is decorated =)
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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