I'm sorry.. does the title of this blog post offend you?
If so, stop reading right now. Because I will not now, and not ever, say "Happy Holidays!"
Whilst scrolling through Facebook the other day, having a good nosy as you do, I came across a status that intrigued me. Someone was asking why their local Christmas lights were being taken down.
I read through the responses with interest. Why would the council be taking Christmas lights down in November? It turns out they weren't Christmas lights at all, but in fact lights that had been put up to celebrate Eid.
That's fine. In fact it's nice to see that in a religiously diverse country, our councils are happy to help each individual celebrate their own beliefs.
The comments after that however shocked me.
The poster of the status asked when the Christmas lights were going to be put up as she would like to take her family down to the light switch on. She was met with the response that there would be no Christmas lights being put up.
Because they offend people of a different religion.
I was outraged.
The area this woman lives in is an ethically diverse community as are many other parts of Nottingham. This is no secret to anybody.
What I don't understand is how we can celebrate one religion and not the other? Especially when said religion is the belief of majority of the country.
I in no way intend this post to be racist. I am not a racist and nor will I ever be. I have respect for religion, and respect for the beliefs of others. In fact, I'm not even religious myself in the slightest, I am not Christian, Catholic, Muslim nor Hindu. But I accept and applaud the fact that others are.
I celebrate Christmas as a part of British culture. I am aware of the origin of Christmas, and am not ignorant to the fact it is a religious holiday.. but I celebrate it none the less. I could quite happily celebrate Eid or Diwali if I had more knowledge about it, but I don't.
But what I don't understand is why Christmas is offensive. Just because it doesn't follow the beliefs of others, does not mean it is offensive. If Christians can happily accommodate people of a different religion, support them in their beliefs and let them enjoy their holidays in peace.. then why can't others do the same?
"Mery Christmas!" is not offensive. A Christmas Tree decorated in lights, tinsel and baubles, is not offensive. The giving and receiving of gifts, is not offensive. And neither is a community coming together to celebrate something they believe in.
Having the right taken away to celebrate Christmas in a peaceful, merry way, is offensive.
I will not be told that I can not say "Merry Christmas". I will not remove the flashing lights from outside my house and I will most definitely not have Christmas day taken away from me and my family.
If I offend you, walk away. If you don't like my decorations, don't look at them. And if you don't want to hear "Merry Christmas!" then I suggest you go back to the country where you don't have to hear it.