Being PC is a major stressor in my life all year long. From how families are constructed (and deconstructed) to gender identification issues to religious or cultural mores, every encounter has the potential for a new challenge. And a new “foot in mouth” experience…… Multiply each opportunity for being politically incorrect by the several dozen families I meet each day and life becomes even more challenging. Oh, the anxiety! Oooh the worry! Oy, the strain! (Enough to rip out my kishkes!)
And then, every December (starting now sometime in October) we have to factor in Christmas. As the moments march towards Christmas Day, what do we say?
The fact is that some people don’t celebrate Christmas. They are Jews, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Church of Christ Christians, and a few others I have surely overlooked. How can you tell them apart? The truth is, you can’t. So risk offending both those who do and those who don’t. It’s a real conundrum.
And, then as a Jew, who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, I have an additional challenge. I am often faced with a hearty “Merry Christmas” from patients and colleagues alike. I don’t want to not reciprocate. But this isn’t exactly my holiday. So what do I do?
I wish them a “Happy-Merry.” And this works on so many levels:
- I don’t make anyone feel awkward,
- I feel part of a holiday season that I share by caring about what is important to others about whom I care,and
- I stay authentic to my own traditions and beliefs.
And after the “Happy-Merry”, what reactions do I get? Usually a big grin, a chuckle, sometimes a loud laugh, and always wonderful feelings all around.
So there you have it, no need to feel afraid of being politically incorrect. Try it. Now you just have a “Happy-Merry,” and things will turn out just fine.