Interview in Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine and a Riff on “Happy Holidays”

Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine, Winter 2007How interesting. Just when a post in Michael Stelzner’s blog, Writing White Papers, really tripped my trigger, my interview with Jackie Papandrew in the Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine appeared.

In my comment to Michael’s post, Merry Christmas, NOT Happy Holidays, I talk about the importance, for me, of diversity and following an inner, not an external, authority. And how that determines what I say to others, as opposed to what a study says:

I say “Happy Holidays” because I am part of an interfaith family. Sometimes I say “Happy Holy Days” to remind me that important traditions of the season we still practice today come from many (not just christian) faiths. I feel better about myself when I don’t make assumptions about others being one faith or another but remember that we are all the same regardless of what religion we choose or are raised in. At holiday time, I want to celebrate and acknowledge diversity because diversity is healthy and it’s the reality in which we live. I say Happy Holidays because I trust my gut, not a study when it comes to what I should say and to whom. Personally, I don’t find anything particularly American about Christmas. Nor do I associate being American to have anything to do with one religion or another. I am an advocate of people following their gut…and it will inform them of what to say when. Thanks for the discussion.

And then in the interview for Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine posted today, I elaborate on the same theme, which is be mindful of the rules but ultimately follow your gut.

You can read the interview here.

Coincidence? I think not.

Say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas,” mamas, whichever you prefer, but for goodness sakes, do it because that’s how you feel in your heart. That’s the reason for my riff today. If there is one thing I’ve learned as a mom who strives to communicate with all moms, it’s how incredibly diverse we all are. I celebrate that diversity because homogeneity is fine…but diversity is divine.

While I’m bringing everything full circle, I want to acknowledge that this blog wasn’t chosen as a top ten blog by Writing White Papers. I’ve been meaning to write about that, but I’ve been so darn busy with deadlines and holiday prep.

I knew we wouldn’t be chosen after we were nominated when I saw the criteria for the top ten. For a split second, I had the urge to conform to someone else’s idea of what makes a good blog. Then I remembered that this blog has received almost 50,000 visitors this year and I came back to my senses.

You can view the list of nominees here and the blogs that were chosen here. Check them out. They are great blogs.
It’s unlikely that I’ll adhere to someone else’s standards any time soon because my blog is the place where I let it rip, not where I follow someone else’s rules. I encourage all bloggers to do the same.

Happy Holidays, mamas!


15 Responses to “Interview in Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine and a Riff on “Happy Holidays””

  1. 1 Irene Latham December 18, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Maybe you didn’t make Writing White Papers list, but you are on this writer mama’s top ten list. Thanks for the great blog!

  2. 2 Melissa Garrett December 18, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    What a terrific post! It just so happens that I was thinking about BOTH these ideas today – the fact that I, personally, say “Happy Holidays” and the fact that your blog didn’t make it on the Top 10.

    I used to say “Merry Christmas” until we moved to New York and became friends with many Jewish families (which we didn’t have down south ~ Jewish friends, I mean). I then became suddenly aware that I am not the only one celebrating something important during the month of December.

    As for your blog, it doesn’t have to be on any Top 10 list to convince me of its worth. I can’t wait to practice the exercises in your book and use my blog as a public forum to showcase my progress. Likewise, I have found your blog to be full of all sorts of helpful info.

    Happy Holidays to you!

    Lis Garrett

  3. 3 Linda Harris December 18, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    I left a comment over at Writing White Papers, too. I think as you do: each person should say what they feel led to say. My primary objection is when businesses tell their employees they can’t say Merry Christmas. Freedom of speech for all and to all a good night!

    And exactly which criteria didn’t you meet to qualify for Top Ten blog? I feel as though your blog is educational–and lots of fun!

    Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Happpy Hannukah and Merry Christmas!


  4. 4 Linda Harris December 18, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    Well, I just checked Writing White Papers and found out that my comment wasn’t posted there. So it must have gotten lost in cyberspace. I don’t think I want to try to recreate it.


  5. 5 Rebecca Laffar-Smith December 18, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    My post doesn’t seem to have gone through either Linda. Are they silencing Non-US participants? Just to have my voice heard I’ll post what I had to say here:

    “I’m not offended by “Merry Christmas” either but I also prefer to use “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays”. Everywhere around the world in all religions there is some sort of seasonal or holiday tradition at this time of year but not everyone is Christian. I’m not. I celebrate Yule. While I’m not offended by “Merry Christmas” it seems kind of pointless to have someone wish me a Merry Christmas since I’m not actually celebrating the supposed birth of Christ (which according to history isn’t actually the day he was born anyway).

    With the diverse multiculture of the internet and even the local world these days it just makes more sense to use greetings and well wishes that are non-denominational. While the majority of people, even non-Christmas celebrators are accepting of the fact that the many celebrate Christmas it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t appreciate being greeted in a way that respects their right to celebrate the holidays in any way they choose.”

    The fact is, we are a WORLD nation these days. With the internet we connect with many diverse religions. All of them celebrate something of significance in December and January. To me saying Merry Christmas or Happy New Year is like telling others they should conform to the majority. Who wishes a Happy New Year to Chinese people? What an insult, it’s not the Chinese New Year. Have some respect for the diversity of the human race and use greetings and well wishes that everyone can appreciate.

    Should I ‘honor’ my personal beliefs above everyone else’s? If so then I should be saying, “Blessed Yule!” How many people would get offended if I did? Watch all those Christians reach for their Cross and pull together some burning stakes.

    Congratulations on the fantastic interview, Christina!
    Happy Holidays, Everyone!

  6. 6 Tiffani December 19, 2007 at 10:06 am

    I have to disagree with the above generalization of Christians. I have no problem if someone says “Blessed Yule” or “Happy Hanukkah.” What a great way to learn something new about friends and neighbors. I say “Merry Christmas.” Why should you or I deny what we are celebrating? I don’t want it to be one generic, catch-all season when we can only say “Happy Holidays.” Where’s the diversity in that?

  7. 7 Tiffani December 19, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Nice interview, Christina. I cannot wait for Book No. 2. And I love your comments about “the good mother.” You’re right; we mamas are the ones who should decide what’s good and good enough for our families. Not some myth.


  8. 8 The Writer Mama December 19, 2007 at 10:23 am

    Good point, Tiffani. Keep in mind that in my quoted comment above, was in the context of a thread of comments in another blog.

    Also, I wanted to clarify, that I am talking about addressing individuals and groups. For example, would it be appropriate for me to say, “Merry Christmas” in this blog if I didn’t also acknowledge all the other holidays clustered around this time of year?

    For me, that doesn’t feel comfortable. To the group, I say, Happy Holidays.

    Also, i’s not “Christians” I object to, it’s religious perspectives on things not inherently religious. For example, America isn’t called “the melting pot” for nothing. So it’s not true to refer to America as a Christian nation or even to infer that it is. I’m saying that’s not true.

    I fully acknowledge that religious choice is very personal matter, appropriately separated from matters of state. What trips my trigger is a person in any religion thinking that their religion is the ONLY valid point of view. I hope that clarifies my thinking.

  9. 9 Linda Harris December 19, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Rebecca, I don’t think it has anything to do with being in the US; I’m from Colorado. Perhaps the White Paper blog just wasn’t feeling well that day.

    To clarify, I am a Christ-follower, but I’m not offended by Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings. I’ve heard those phrases since the 1950s (don’t know about before that, because I wasn’t around). If you’re Jewish, I’ll wish you a Happy Hanukkah. If you’re Christian, I’ll wish you a Merry Christmas. If I don’t know what you are, I might say Happy Holidays. To me, it really doesn’t make any difference, as long as we’re wishing each other happy times. As I said in the earlier blog, freedom of speech still applies here.

  10. 10 Tiffani December 19, 2007 at 11:07 am

    Ack! I’m so sorry, Christina!

    I should’ve clarified that it was in response to Rebecca Laffar-Smith’s comment above mine: “Watch all those Christians reach for their Cross and pull together some burning stakes.”

    I totally understand your view! Sorry for the misunderstanding. (blush)

  11. 11 The Writer Mama December 19, 2007 at 11:14 am

    No worries, anyone. We are having an interesting discussion here. It caused me to wonder what would happen in the blogosphere if everyone answered the question:

    Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays–which do you choose and why?

    In fact, someone feel free to steal this idea, it would make a great documentary or book, I think, because of all the issues that seem to be attached to such a seemingly simple question.

    Fascinating stuff.

  12. 12 Linda Harris December 20, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Yesterday, while I was buying a sweater for my son for Christmas, the clerk said, “Have a happy holiday.” I automatically replied, “You, too.” I could have said “Merry Christmas” like so many Christian organizations are urging us to do, to “Keep Christ in Christmas.” But to me, that would have seemed stilted and unnatural. I preferred to leave it with his choice of greeting (unless it was the store’s choice, in which case you now know I would object to).

    Rebecca, as a Christ-follower, I wouldn’t be offended if you wished me a Blessed Yule. Please don’t categorize all Christians in one lump. We are as diversified within our faith as the variety of faiths that are not Christian.

    Christina, I think when most people refer to this as a Christian nation, they are talking about its roots, not the makeup of the nation now. While I don’t want to get into politics, I do believe that this nation’s foundation is Christian, no matter what the mix of faiths now.

    Thanks for stimulating a lively discussion.

  13. 13 Michael Stelzner December 20, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    Hi Linda and Tiffani;

    First I want to say Merry Christmas.

    I noticed that a few of you mentioned your comments did not go through.

    I checked out SpamKarma filter to see if they had been tagged as spam and I do not see any comments from either of you.

    I can assure you I would welcome your comments.

    Not sure what happened and that is a bit unsettling.

    I welcome you back.

    Best Regards, Mike

  14. 14 Julianne December 22, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    This Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays debate exhausts me. We’ve actually got Merry Christmas ACTIVISTS in the South who are militant about the Happy Holiday wishing that some of us (me–most of the time) go around doing. It makes me want to pull a John Stossel out of my pocket and say, “Give me a break!” and furrow my generous brow at them.

    Nice interview Christina. Thanks for sharing.

  15. 15 The Writer Mama December 23, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    I definitely agree that the detabe gets old.

    I think I must have been missing the discussion going on elsewhere, so I had a little fire going on the topic for a few days.

    But I’m pretty much over it.

    Hope everyone has holidays that hit every note on the emotional spectrum.

    “Happy” holidays doesn’t seem to really cover all it. 😉

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