Merry Christmas to all

It is officially the Christmas season — and what a wonderful season it is. Not only does it signal the end of the semester for college kids across the country, but it also starts a monthlong marathon of family, friends, food and fun. I mean, it’s not called “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” for nothing!

Along with those previously mentioned perks, there are, of course, Christmas decorations, Christmas music, Christmas movie specials and Christmas shopping. All these things are integral parts of the Christmas season, and they all use the word “Christmas.”

So, what is wrong with saying “Merry Christmas”? I realize people are worried about being politically correct to people of different religions or to those who do not observe the holiday, but let’s face it: The word is everywhere, so it seems a bit silly to show disdain when it’s used in a simple greeting.

Many stores push for their employees to wish customers “Happy Holidays” as a holiday salutation. The greeting serves dual purposes: It is a politically correct blanket term for holiday greetings, and with New Year’s only a week after Christmas, it covers the entire holiday season. While I can see the merits in the second purpose, neither makes a valid argument to completely supplant the traditional “Merry Christmas.”

First off, I’d like to point out that Christmas is a civil holiday, which means that all government organizations observe it. Although the holiday has religious meaning to Christians, it is observed as just another national holiday, like the Fourth of July, for the rest of the country, and I do not see people protesting and saying, “Happy Independence Day.”

I’m not trying to be ignorant of people with different beliefs; I’m just trying to make the point that it’s kind of crazy to make this war on Christmas over political correctness. For the record, a great deal of the traditions that are a part of Christmas, like the Christmas tree, mistletoe and even good old Santa Claus, are all secular creations.

Christmas, regardless of your beliefs, is a special time of the year where we can spend time having fun and making lasting memories.

Wishing someone “Merry Christmas” is not a way to push your beliefs on somebody else; it’s just a simple wish of glad tidings for the upcoming holiday season, so why put a restriction on that?

Of course, it doesn’t mean you can’t say “Happy Holidays” instead.

I’ll be honest; it does mean the same thing, but just don’t tell someone what he can and can’t say, especially when it’s just his way of wishing you well.

The challenge against the use of “Merry Christmas” is not just against the salutation but also against another iconic part of the holiday, the Christmas tree. According to Harvard University’s newspaper, “The Harvard Crimson,” the giant spruce tree that resided in Boston Common had its name changed from “Christmas tree” to “holiday tree” in 2005. Officials said it was done so that all people could enjoy the decorated tree during the holiday season, but what I don’t get is this: How can a simple name take away from one’s ability to enjoy a decorated tree?

Sure, you can say that if the name of the tree does not matter, then what is wrong with calling it the “holiday tree”? It’s a tradition, and I realize that tradition doesn’t seem to have much of a place in today’s progressive society. I may be archaic in my way of thinking, but tradition does mean something.

Tradition is what links past, present and future generations. Even though it may not have all that much significance, the intrinsic value of a community gathering around to watch the first lighting of that season’s Christmas tree is in valuable.

Why can’t we just enjoy something for once and not nitpick over the name assigned to it? In the end, what is the holiday season about anyway? It is about bringing people together, and the last thing that Christmas tree wants as it shines brightly in the night is to have people fighting over what it should be called.

In short, what I am really asking for here is to keep at least one tradition alive. On that note, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!