Holidays should become more inclusive

Ella Davis, Staff Writer

Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s: all near-year-end celebrations from various cultures around the world, often celebrated in the same week each year. The chances are you’ve heard of them all, but one more than the others: Christmas.

It seems every year Nov. 1 is the day retail stores put up their holiday displays. The overwhelming red and green, Santa Claus shrines, fake fir trees and glitter all seem to scream one thing: Christmas is the only holiday celebrated in the United States.

However, that is anything but the truth. Over 10 percent of Americans don’t celebrate Christmas, according to a poll put out by the Pew Research Center in 2017. That’s about 33 million people who aren’t seeing their culture and lives represented in marketing or media.

Notice when you go to stores in December that the cashiers typically say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” A simple inclusive switch like this can make all the difference and makes sure everyone’s culture is accounted for.

Yet some people claim that the world is too sensitive and that there is a war on Christmas. Back in May of this year, Donald Trump began rambling during a speech right before the National Day of Prayer about how people were now able to say “Merry Christmas again.” This was a callback to his claims on the campaign trail that there was a war on Christmas simply because the usage of the inclusive season’s greeting Happy Holidays had increased. And yet, this alleged marginalization of Christmas has been happening to other holidays for decades. Things haven’t improved because there has never been a debate over telling people to have a “Happy Hanukkah” or a “Joyous Kwanzaa.”

Around the holidays everyone just wants to experience that winter cheer and not have to worry about offending anyone. If you know someone celebrates a specific holiday—or two!—use a specific greeting. There is nothing wrong with celebrating their culture. It adds a personalized and considerate touch to your well wishes. If you don’t, not to worry! “Happy Holidays” will always get your message across.