There seem to be many interpretations running around on the internet and in general conversation as to what the holidays ARE.
Christians want to say Merry Christmas, not Seasons Greetings or Happy Holidays. Non-Christians want to celebrate Christmas but ignore the basis for the holiday and celebrate a secular Santa Claus and gift-giving (I wonder if they know that even Santa Claus is based on a saint.....Saint Nicholas?).
There are those who are offended at the holidays of other religious groups, although seemingly more tolerant in this country of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa (although I remember a huge verbal fuss in society when African-Americans instituted Kwanzaa).
Right now, Muslim holidays seem quite scorned by the 'Christian' population. (Funny thing is, the Muslim faith goes clear back to Abraham, just like the Jewish and Christian faiths do.)
And what of these other 'lesser' holidays......Labor Day, for example? No one seems to mind having a day off to celebrate hard work!
Thanksgiving is popular here in the States: a day off, huge feast, shopping sales galore the day after, parades, naps, football.
Halloween has had its share of debate: is it rooted in evil? is it just for fun?
MANY of the holidays in this country have some religious foundation if you research them deeply enough. Some do not, but many do. I'm not trying to define them all today, just look at the generality.
I was recently 'accused' of being "hopelessly conservative." I asserted that I am "hopelessly American." I am probably too liberal for my conservative friends and too conservative for my liberal friends.
I believe that religious RESPECT is far better than religious Tolerance. Our country has in its founding guidelines FREEDOM OF RELIGION. To me, that means that I must respect others' right to worship their god as they choose; correspondingly, they must respect my right to worship as I choose. That does not mean it's OK to have 'civil rights and liberties' groups filing lawsuits to have my holiday symbols removed from public places, any more than it is OK to have the symbols of other religions forcibly removed from public places. There has been a trend lately to force the removal of Nativity scenes, depictions of the Ten Commandments etc. There is NO need for such removal.
Yes, there is separation of church and state; wherein the government doesn't meddle with the churches and the churches don't meddle with the state and their is mutual RESPECT.
By the same token, traditional symbols of holidays placed in public and government locations does not violate that separation - those symbols are long-time traditional symbols of holidays celebrated within this country.
There is a huge difference between respect, tolerance, and preaching the theme of political correctness (so named from the brain-washing of prisoners in the Korean War until they thought politically correct) -- Political Correctness is NOT a new term, it is not clever, it is not cool. Its goal is to make everyone think alike, which in itself goes against everything American: Independence, Respect, Tolerance, Acceptance, Melting Pot.
You cannot truly enjoy any holiday while trying to force others into political correctness. It just doesn't fit. You cannot enjoy a holiday without respecting the history of the holiday. If you try to celebrate and ignore its history, you will still feel an emptiness inside.
Respect others this holiday season. Allow others their thoughts, beliefs, and faiths. Share your thoughts, beliefs, and faiths -- but do so in a respectful way, not a shameful way.
Do not accuse or label others because they think differently on a topic of religion, politics, or holidays. They are all individuals in their own right. Be tolerant. Be peaceful. Protect these very rights of worship and celebration, no matter whose they are.
I will wish each of you a Merry Christmas season and a Happy New Year!! (That is my background!) For those of you who do not wish to celebrate Christmas, but celebrate another holiday, or none at all, I will wish you the Greetings of the Season!! May your days be long and blessed. (Hopefully you have faith in blessings! ;)