Published on: November 12, 2015
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Hi, Kevin Coupe here, and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
This is the Main Street in the town where I live. In a few short weeks, it will be festooned with Christmas decorations. There will be trees and wreaths, and in front of churches and private businesses there will be creches and other displays of religious significance. In some of these stores they will say "Merry Christmas," in some they will say "Happy Holidays." Some people will be in the Christmas spirit from the beginning, and for others, it will take a little longer. As always, there will be a few Scrooges.
But in general, it is fair to say, there will be plenty of tangible and intangible evidence of the Christmas spirit. Even at the Starbucks down the street, where the holiday cups are red and the baristas will say "Happy Holidays," because that is their definition of inclusiveness. (They will, however, continue to sell a Christmas Blend of coffee ... so they're apparently not too anti-Christmas.)
Y'know something? I'm totally okay with that. Because I take it in the spirit in which those season's greetings are offered ... with good will toward men (and women). As do, by the way, Jewish friends of mine who are not the least offended when someone wishes them a 'Merry Christmas" the day before Hanukkah.
Let me tell you a little story. My dad is either 89 or 90 years old; we're not sure, because the date on his NYC birth certificate and the birthdate listed on his baptismal certificate don't match. But because of the way my dad was raised, there are three words that he finds it almost impossible to say: "I love you." I'm sure he said them to my mom, who he loved deeply. But he has a harder time time saying them to his kids. I can't remember him ever saying them to me, though I've never doubted how he feels about me.
What he says instead, because those words roll more easily off his tongue is this: "God bless you."
This used to bother me. But at a certain point, I guess, maturity kicks in. I decided that this really was my problem, not his. So now, when my dad says to me, "God bless you," which he does pretty much every time I see him, I hear the words, "I love you." And I always look at him and say, "I love you, too."
I've learned two things from this. One is that I'm responsible for my own happiness, not my dad. I can let it bother me, or I can get over it. The other is that I tell my kids I love them as much as I can. I don't want them ever to not be able to remember my saying it, and meaning it, with all my heart.
I thought about this a lot this week as I read the various stories and emails about the Starbucks cups and how this represents some sort of hate speech. And how companies who ask employees to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" are somehow anti-religion.
They're not bowing to a minority; they're just trying to remember that we live in a far more diverse world today than we used to.
Here's the deal, at the least the way I see it ... if someone wishes you a Happy Holidays, and you are offended by that, it's your problem, not theirs. It isn't that they are launching a war on Christmas. It is that you are trying to pick a fight ... and that doesn't strike me as in the spirit of the season.
The only thing that worries me is that there's six weeks until Christmas, and we're going to have to listen to this until the end of December. I guess I'm just going to have to remind myself that love, actually, is all around.
That's what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: