Lindsay Lewis

English/ ESL consultant: Word worker, writer, teacher, mentor and poet. Author of This Won’t Hurt a Bit! on writing clear content.

Merry Christmas ! …. stick Happy Holidays up the turkey!!!

Posted by on Dec 21, 2017

In Orwell’s dystopian novel, the citizens must use Newspeak, a government imposed, restricted version of English which makes complex thought nearly impossible. With the change and reduction of words comes the elimination of intellect. This process enables the government to control the masses. Why have a word such as magnificent when one could use the insipid word double-good.

I reflect on the power of words as I observe the insidious phrase Happy Holidays replacing Merry Christmas. Does it matter? Yes, and I’ll explain why.

Western culture is founded on the ancient Judeo- Christian rites, morals, traditions and values, building a society with a respectful fabric and shared concerns. Christmas is replete with history. The word Christmas, or the Mass of Christ, celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus, along with a host of associated ideologies: Compassion, love, forgiveness, generosity and kindness, all of which are conspicuously absent in the latest politically correct phrase spreading like a plague. Although the root of Happy Holidays is related to the word holy, most people will merely think of the word holiday as a self indulgent, relaxing time. People now associate holidays with shopping and eating instead of gratitude and compassion- holidays evoke mindlessness and selfishness, not consideration for others.

Canadians are renowned for their cultural sensitivity; however, I find it objectionable that the very roots of our society are being diminished by these euphemisms. The word holiday is meaningless. It has no ritual significance, degrading a religious or spiritual celebration into a cheap shopping spree. I deeply resent stripping Christmas of its origins, a word steeped in history, to this empty shopping bag of inanity. If we reflect upon Orwell’s timely warnings, the use of Happy Holidays, a bland phrase, means the next generation will no longer associate Christmas with any kind of benevolence, sacrifice or joy. The tradition of Christmas will be eliminated , stripping our culture of its spiritual essence.

Canadians are quick to respect Hanukkah or Ramadan. We celebrate diversity and encourage religious diversity and culture in our country. We wouldn’t dare say, “Happy Holidays” to a neighbour celebrating Ramadan or Hanukkah, yet our own Christian foundation is being destroyed.: Compassion, generosity and kindness.

Next year when you consider buying, or better yet making your Christmas cards, ask yourself what kind of world you want to live in, or more importantly your children: One which embraces the essence of Christian values, or a greedy, self centered, consumptive society focused on instant gratification,eating, drinking and partying. Get rid of your Happy Holiday cards and consider the deeper significance of this occasion. Merry Christmas.

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