Let me tell you about a dream I recently had.
I don't remember my dreams very often. When I do remember something, it's usually just the gist of it, then when I'm in that pleasant state between being asleep and awake, I semi-consciously enhance and embellish the narrative. So this dream is probably not completely authentic, but it's not totally made up either. It certainly is an accurate representation of my feelings towards certain letters to the editor and commentaries from TV pundits that you see this time of year. Anyway...
In my dream I was working in retail (so I guess it was actually a nightmare). It was probably ShopKo, since I was wearing a red shirt, I worked there when I was in high school, and I only had one customer in my line even though I was the only cashier working. (Seriously, I don't know how the chain as a whole is faring, but I will be shocked if the store by our house isn't closed within two years. It's a ghost town in there.)
Technically, I had two customers, a husband and wife who appeared to be in their late 40s or early 50s. They paid for their stuff, I gave them their change, and wished them "happy holidays." The man then said, "Oh, so you're one of those people who is afraid to say 'Merry Christmas,' huh?" It must have been the end of a long shift, or my shoes were a few sizes too small like the Grinch's, or maybe I'm just a jerk, but I went off on an epic rant. The following retelling probably isn't verbatim, but it's close:
"You're offended that I said happy holidays instead of merry Christmas? Seriously? Why would you care which generic salutation you receive from someone you don't even know? Besides, what is bad about saying happy holidays? Christmas is a holiday, right? When I say happy holidays, doesn't it imply that I wish you a merry Christmas, plus a bonus wish for a happy New Year? Does that mean you'd be even more offended if I said something with no celebratory implications at all, like 'Have a good night' or 'Thanks for shopping with us'? That's what I usually say to people. Just because I chose to say one thing, it doesn't preclude me from meaning something else that I didn't say. And, to be honest, I DON'T really mean it when I say these things. I don't want you to have a bad Christmas, but whether it's merry or not really has no impact on me. So you would rather have me insincerely wish you a merry Christmas, in a sense taking the Lord's name in vain? You want me to break one of the Ten Commandments, just to make you feel good?! Well, fine! HAVE YOURSELVES A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS!"
Happy holidays, everyone!