Happy Holidays


If we were having coffee this morning, I’d start out by wishing you Happy Holidays. There might be an awkward moment after that while I try to figure out if that was a mistake; after all, you might not celebrate Christmas and it might have been a safer bet to greet you with something about Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Solstice.

Maybe I should have just said “Here, take your coffee.”

You know, I think we just make things too hard for ourselves this time of year. There’s no need to take a stand or defend your beliefs or even worry about political correctness. Fighting over whether it’s okay to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” is just pointless because, you see, I’ve got it all figured out.

That’s right, folks, I know exactly what we need to do to get along this holiday season.

We just need to be nice.

Look, I know all about “The Reason for The Season.” I’m a Christian, and I celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ. I put the star on my tree and I listen to countless versions of Mark Lowry’s “Mary Did You Know” and I get chills at the reminders that my Savior was born in a quiet stable on that Holy Night. I believe. I believe in all of it. I draw strength from that belief throughout the year.

But I also have fun with Christmas and all of the traditions that come along with it that have nothing to do with religion. Decorating the tree with ornaments that have been in my family for years. Plucking my cat out of said tree when he tries to play with those ornaments. I love hiding that stupid Elf on the Shelf and telling lies about having Santa Claus on speed dial, and I adore all the giggling and sneaking around to find just the right gift for the people I love.

I also love it when the school band plays “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” at their Christmas concert. I think the Menorah in my neighbor’s window is just lovely.

I look forward to being invited to my friend’s annual Solstice Bonfire every year.

I say “Happy Holidays” not because I’m trying to be politically correct or because my Christian beliefs are being suppressed in any way. I say it because the traditions surrounding this time of year are fun and beautiful regardless of how you celebrate. I say it out of a genuine desire to wish you happy holidays, period.

When I was in high school, I was confirmed into the Presbyterian Church after several weeks’ worth of confirmation classes. There were perhaps a half-dozen of us who attended class every week before church on Sundays, and most of us were pretty grumpy about having to get up that early.

As part of our confirmation class, our pastor required us to attend church services for different denominations and beliefs before we were allowed to officially join our Presbyterian church. We went to Catholic Mass and a Baptist service; we visited a Synagogue where the boys in our group were instructed to don yarmulkes as a sign of respect.

What’s my point here? We were welcomed into all those houses of worship even though we didn’t technically belong. And we behaved with respect and courtesy during our visits. Our beliefs, our traditions, were not challenged or diminished in any way by opening ourselves up to beliefs and traditions that were different from ours.

It’s been more than thirty years since I was confirmed into my Presbyterian Church back in Portage, Michigan. I can’t speak for the others in my class, but I’m still a Christian. I probably lean a bit more toward a non-denominational type of Christianity at this point, but I have never forgotten the lessons I learned back then.

A little kindness goes a long way. A little understanding goes even further. And a little respect can mean the world.

So wish me a Merry Christmas. Tell me to have a Happy Hanukkah or a Joyous Solstice. Say what’s in your heart and mean it when you say it, and everything else will take care of itself. I promise not to be offended because we worship in different ways.

Because when I say “Happy Holidays” to you, I am not being politically correct or having my Christian beliefs suppressed in any way. I am saying, “However you celebrate, whatever you celebrate, I wish for you to feel all the joy and love and peace that you can possibly feel all through the year. May you be surrounded by those you love; may your heart be full of happiness.”

Happy holidays, y’all.




We can either be traditional or non-traditional in the way we do things.  I think my husband and I are being pretty non-traditional in the way we are going about our divorce.  We haven’t involved lawyers, choosing instead to do it the DIY way.

We are having a non-traditional “Friendly Divorce”.  People have asked us why we are going through with it if we are able to be so gosh darn friendly about things.  If we can get along so well, they ask, then why don’t we give it one more try?

Fair question.

Here’s the thing:  I am not a fool.

Make no mistake, I want this divorce.  I don’t hate him yet, but I am afraid that I will if I am married to him for much longer.   And I am just as certain that he will soon hate me as well.

We keep hurting each other.  Again and again and again.  We have been together long enough to know each other’s vulnerabilities, and we know how to use that knowledge against each other.  Each of us can inflict more pain on the other than anyone else in our lives can do.  We are both the “bad guy” in our situation, and we are both the victim.

I don’t want him back.  He doesn’t want me back. I don’t want to be married to him any more than he wants to be married to me.

I can be snarky and sarcastic, and I am fully capable of trashing him here, or on Facebook, or to our mutual friends.  I could air our “dirty laundry”, tell exaggerated tales of his misdeeds, and I could make him utterly miserable.

What purpose would that serve?

He has his own set of skills.  He can be cruel and hurtful, controlling and antagonistic, and at times his sense of humor can be downright devastating.  He could make my life a living Hell.

This could very easily become one very traditional, very spiteful, very ugly divorce.  All we have to do is say the word.  But again, what purpose would that serve?  One way or another, he and I are going to have to have a relationship for the rest of our lives because we made three little people together.  Three little people who need both of us to act like adults and set a good example for them.

I have been accused by some of being a pushover.  Advised to hire a good lawyer and go in for the kill.  I am the semi-crippled, unemployed mother of his three children, and he fell in love with another woman before divorcing me.  I could ask for his testicles to be gold-plated and gift-wrapped for me if I wanted, or so I have been told.

In ten years, do I really want a set of gold-plated gift-wrapped testicles, or do I want a decent relationship with my ex-husband and father of my children?  Once upon a time, we loved each other; I think there will always be a small kernel of that love between us because of everything we’ve shared.  I don’t think either one of us really wants to hurt the other.

We just want out.

We have made the decision to be non-traditional because we are being practical and putting the needs of our kids and each other first, for the first time in a long time.  Maybe that means we are finally growing up.

Or maybe we are starting a new tradition for others to follow?