While diving in and out of bookstores, tea shops, chili parlors and ice cream palaces during Christmas week I noticed an unusual social pattern that was new and a bit disturbing. In and around Cincinnati people were very nice, lots of smiles but also more frowns and rushing about franticly than before. What surprised me was the lack of ” Merry Christmas” greetings both aimed at me and merrily tossed to strangers passing on the streets.
It wasn’t that people were acting like Scrooges, they were just so intent on getting from points A to B that they were not enjoying the people and scenes around them. I definitely got the sense that people were being reserved with their greetings, in a way that was opposite to how they had been in the past. Folks in my part of town were cheerful and many were spreading good cheer, the happiest and most forthcoming with their “Merry Christmas” sentiments were all the busy workers (mind you, they were serving up Skyline Chili, Graeter’s and Aglamesis brothers ice cream so who wouldn’t be happy doing that). But otherwise, it’s as if people had bought into the latest media propaganda of being afraid to say any holiday hellos.. much like the media has folks afraid to say what their political affiliations are.
Oddly, not too many miles into our return trip after we’d crossed south over the Ohio River, almost everyone we met wished us a Merry Christmas or Happy New Year and the exuberance increased as we got down through cave country into Bowling Green, Kentucky. We’ve still got a long drive ahead of us but I expect more cheer as we go.
I join in the merry making by greeting total strangers with Merry Christmas, especially older folk or people who look like they could use a kind word. Forget the media, the online hype or the latest gossip about it not being “socially proper” to say “Merry Christmas” because the person you’re saying it to might be of another religion. I was raised in a western religion, I now adhere to an Eastern religion but Christmas has become much bigger than it’ beginnings and I am happy to brighten someone’s day with an “MC and HNY”. It belongs to everyone and should be shared, spread about, shouted from the rooftops !
Come on, people, what do you say ? The season’s not over yet. Make sure your elderly neighbors get a heart felt “MC” from you and, if you have friends anywhere who are alone, give them a call and wish them good tidings of the season…. really CALL THEM IF YOU CAN. The human voice still has greater powers than email. I know you’ve got it in you, even if you just cheer up one person you’ll have done a great thing
The tree’s still up, the champagne’s on ice and the haggis is being prepared for the New Year’s parties.
Get out there and do me proud.
Oh and…A Very Merry Christmas to you all !