December 7, 2010
By Michael Kline
It occurs to me there might be some business value in debating holiday etiquette – is it wise for a business to wish a “Merry Christmas” to their customers? Most seem to think it’s smarter just to wish the much safer and more politically correct “Happy Holidays”. I’m not sure it was a corporate decision, or simply a trend of front-line staff being afraid to say the word “Christmas”. I don’t think I offended anyone when I wished a happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends last week. I respect their beliefs and traditions, having been lucky enough to share in some of those celebrations with friends, I truly wish for them to enjoy their Hanukkah.
Being in NH, we don’t get the variety of non-Christian religions other areas get. In my stores, it’s up to each staff member, but I’m happy to have our staff wish all our customers, from all walks of life, a Merry Christmas, or any other specific positive wish they like. I never met a non-Christian who was offended by being wished a Merry Christmas. Most of the symbolic parts of the season, like Christmas Trees and gift-giving are traditions that have nothing to do with religion anyway, so I don’t think we’re having a religious discussion with making a wish, and anyone who finds offense in a good wish, probably finds offense in just about everything anyway. The holidays are stressful enough, without getting grief for wishing someone happiness.
For retail business owners of any belief, the season brings tidings of great joy and good cheer with black Friday, which has everything to do with commercial enterprises going into “the black” and making a profit for the rest of the year. This happens because of the tradition of gift-giving for Christmas, so regardless of beliefs, political correctness aside, there isn’t a business owner alive who doesn’t yearn for a very Merry Christmas season!
This business owner, wishes for the well-being of every entrepreneur who puts themselves out there, risks their own financial security, takes on all the grief, bureaucracy, risk and headaches of ownership. They expand our economy, create jobs, improve our community, support our non-profits, constantly get beat up by their suppliers, customers and competitors alike, all in the hope of eeking out a decent living while putting their talent to good use. Whatever the word god or God means to you, God bless you, and I hope lots of people are spending good money with you this Christmas season.