Merry Christmas!

Those two words I hear less and less during the Christmas season. While many folks profess to being Christian and a lot of folks are out shopping and spending money for Christmas presents, the greeting that was once so common to hear from Thanksgiving through the 25th of December is now a mere shell of itself.

One of the reasons for it losing its luster is that America has become so multi-everything that political correctness has become the norm. We are so wired as to how we speak, talk, eat and everything in-between that we hesitate to extend a greeting that was, until the last 30 or so years, very much the norm.

How do we, or can we ever, get back to the season where the store clerks and the music reflected the “reason for the season?” The birth of baby Jesus is the reason. No matter how much folks try to change it, other religious holidays are not the motive that makes folks go into shopping frenzy until Dec. 24th around 8 p.m. at the latest.

Yes, I like Frosty, but I also like Santa. Christmas is one of the few holidays where the majority of businesses not related to the entertainment industry. Thankfully as of yet, no marketer has managed to come up with a “5 p.m. Christmas Day Sale” to try and lure shoppers into their stores. But I may be speaking too soon as someone out there may be dreaming up a way to get more shopping dollars into their coffers — employees wanting to celebrate the holiday be damned!

I love the camaraderie of the season where the majority of Americans began with a common tradition and sprinkled it with various racial and cultural idiosyncrasies. Years ago when my daughter was a baby, I took ceramic classes so she could have a black Santa with his reindeer and sleigh. All the angels I made were black and so were the entire village of carolers. It was a wonderful feeling to see her eyes light up at a Santa that looked like her dad — even down to the rotund belly. Santa doesn’t belong to one group in America as much as he belongs to the way we want him to look.

Another lost aspect of the season is the wearing of a Santa hat. I have two that are over 10 years old. Every year beginning the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Day, I wear it. The first one I bought got makeup on it. So I purchased a second one with the intention of throwing the first one in the trash. On a lark, I tried handwashing it to remove the stain and allowed it to drip dry. I had fully expected that the inexpensive material wouldn’t survive. But to my surprise, the inexpensive hat dried, becoming softer to the touch and even fluffier in appearance.

I am going to end this column as I started it — with a line from a very famous poem:

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!