Why the aggression and attitude?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by DC_DEEP, Dec 14, 2006.

  1. DC_DEEP

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    I am not an adherant of either judaism or christianity. Can anyone explain to me why so many christians (and to some degree, jews) get so angry and aggressive toward me if I choose to avoid celebrating a christian holiday?

    I tend to "keep the spirit of the holidays" more throughout the year, and I don't make a "special effort" for 30 or so days at the end of the calendar. I have had some difficult situations on the job because I refused to decorate my work area, because I refuse to participate in the gift exchange. I have been called some pretty hateful names, reported to managers, had nasty anonymous notes left on my desk. I have strangers turn suddenly aggressive if I don't return their "Merry Christmas!!!!!"

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not militant about it, I maintain a very neutral demeanor, but at the same time, I insist that others do not require me to "join in."

    If the holiday has "lost its religious meaning," then why do they still insist that I celebrate it? Why is it so important to a christmas celebrant that I celebrate, also?

    If the holiday no longer is a celebration of christ's birthday, what's the point? If it is still a celebration of christ's birthday, would it not cheapen the whole affair for believers to encourage non-believers to celebrate (but just ignore the jesus component)?

    I will gladly allow you to enjoy the holiday. But please, do not harrass me if I return your "Merry Christmas" with a blank stare.
     
  2. rob_just_rob

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  3. rob_just_rob

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    Would it make you feel better to know that were it not for the "Holiday Season", the retail industry would never turn a profit?

    So put on a Santa hat, deck those halls, and go out and shop, shop, shop. What's good for Wal-Mart is good for America.
     
  4. DC_DEEP

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    Ah, my old buddy Beaker, always here to cheer me up.

    I played a gig yesterday for a "holiday" party that was mostly a christmas party.

    <sigh> When you are the hired help, you have to put your personal feelings on hold.

    Funny thing, rob, one time I did want to see what the reaction would be... so when one co-worker (who loved to bray about what a devout christian she was) wished me a merry christmas, I smiled and replied "and a happy hanukkah to you, Tina!" She literally screamed at me that she was a christian, not a jew; then promptly turned around, stormed into our manager's office, and filed a formal complaint against me for religious harrassment. True story. In a different workplace, I did the same, except I told the co-worker to "have a happy solstice." I didn't get reported, but had some other problems that stemmed from that incident.
     
  5. novice_btm

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    Um, ok, I'm fine with you not celebrating, but "a blank stare"? Whatever the initial greeting, to not return an extended pleasantry could be seen by many as, well, rude. I mean, if someone says, "Hey, how's it going?", it's pretty accepted that there's no longer any meaning behind that either. It's not like they really want your life story from throwing out that phrase. Anything beyond, "Fine, and you?", is actually typically viewed with confusion. Again, it's just a pleasantry. However, to return it with "a blank stare", most people would think, "What HIS problem?", and that it's passively hostile. You don't have to say, "Merry Christmas" back, but something generic to acknowledge their greeting, is still standard politeness. [/MissMannersLecture]
     
  6. novice_btm

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    I would've told her that you were gonna do the same. I AM with you on THIS one. As a editorialist recently said on the radio, "Christians don't own December." She should've seen that her phrase could be just as offensive to someone Jewish.

    On the other hand, I'm sticking with my stance on "a blank stare". :wink:
     
  7. rob_just_rob

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    I love it. Being a shit-disturber is what the holidays are all about! :biggrin1:

    I work for an enormous financial institution, but have put "Happy Festivus" on my out-of-office messages and voicemail for the past few years, and nobody has said a word. :confused:

    I am serious about the retail industry, though. Consumer spending kept the US economy afloat following the 2000 tech crash and the corporate scandals and 9/11 fallout the next year. You had better believe that while the holiday may be secularized and devoid of christian meaning, we will keep on celebrating it with our credit cards for the forseeable future. And like it, damn it.
     
  8. AndrewEndowed24

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    not liking christmas is one thing but you should think up something friendly to say back that didn't involve a reference to the holidays... if you could avoid awkwardly making an issue of your dislike of christmas they wouldn't react so negatively. they dislike you for making a point of being rude (it is rude not to respond in a friendly way to a cordial greeting -as everyone knows and staring blankly is actually quite offensive) when they wish you a merry christmas, not for refusing to celebrate christmas.

    if you want to make an issue of your views through those methods, i suggest that you get real comfortable with their taking an issue with you.
     
  9. Heather LouAnna

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    It's Festivus for the rest of us.

    i DO love Christmas trees though.

    I think as an adult, I wont practice Christmas any longer. I should have to buy people presents every year.
     
  10. rob_just_rob

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    This is a good idea. I should stress that when I'm around friends' children, relatives with kids, and so forth, I can be very christmassy, as opposed to being my usual cynical self.

    Christmas, like Wutang, really is for the children.

    I like Christmas trees too... some relatives whom I visit next weekend have a real tree, and I love the ambiance it creates.
     
  11. jeff black

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    Personally, If I didn't celebrate Christmas and someone approached me with the "Merry Christmas" blurb, I would say thank you, and then tell them I dont' celebrate Christmas but appreciate the sentimate.
     
  12. naughty

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    DC,

    I suppose because I celebrate Christ's birth, it does still have that meaning for me. I agree to some degree with what Novice said. I think the spirit of the thing is that the person was feeling good and wanted to spread the cheer no matter what you call it. Why not just say "happy holiday to you" too? I would hope it doesnt hurt, does it?
     
  13. AndrewEndowed24

    AndrewEndowed24 New Member

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    how is he in the shit by responding politely?
     
  14. D_Sheffield Thongbynder

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    (I wrote something to this effect & hit "submit," but the message didn't go through. If it eventually does, this is not intentionally redundant.)

    It seems that most Christians, many of whom don't practice what they preach, want everybody to lockstep with them. Do you ever feel like a salmon swimming upstream, DC?
     
  15. Sklar

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    I agree with Jeff. Just say thank you and continue with whatever you are doing.
     
  16. DC_DEEP

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    Andrew and Novice, you are being blind. I have tried everything I know how to do, without specifically responding "merry christmas to you, too." None of it has worked. The "blank stare" reference was a bit of hyperbole; I have only ever used that one with people whom I see on a regular basis, who have not gotten the point from my "polite but non-committal" responses.

    It has been about 18 years since I renounced religions. That is somewhere on the order of about 576 days of being anything from exposed to assaulted with christmas and its related "greetings."

    Novice, it just feels very odd to say "very well, thank you" after someone tells me "merry christmas."

    Novice, Naughty, and Andrew: I tried using "happy holidays" in response, and yes, I have had aggressive responses to that one, too. For what it's worth, I do engage in the holiday card tradition this time of year. I choose tasteful cards that have a "season's greetings" type of sentiment. I do this because it seems like a good time of year to be sure I stay in touch with everyone in my addressbook, fill people in on the past year, and ensure that everyone who needs it is assured of my current address.

    At any rate, why should I be required, in December, to add a phony gloss to my demeanor? I am generous and agreeable throughout the year. The music with which I am bombarded from the end of November through the first of January is nothing short of annoying. Going out in public and facing the "holiday shoppers" is nerve-wracking.

    Rob, if christmas were not such a marketing racket, would those sales not simply be distributed throughout the rest of the year? A remarkable percentage of the population curb buying before and after christmas, so that they can "afford the season."

    Andrew, it is not a matter of "thinking of something friendly to say." I'm a very friendly, gregarious person in general, not just in december. Should we set aside just one month when it is expected that you greet and speak to strangers? Why not do it year-round? Stop a stranger on the street in NYC or Washington DC, just to say "hi, how ya doin?" any other time of year and see what happens. Friendly, indeed.

    Folks, I am not generally an aggressive person. I have tried everything I can think of over the last 18 "Thanksgiving-to-New-Year's-Day" periods, to politely exclude myself from the christmas celebration. It has not worked.
     
  17. DC_DEEP

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    OH. BWAH. HAH. HAH. HAH, John. Yes, I do feel like a salmon swimming upstream. When I get to the headwaters, they always tell me "we don't allow your kind to spawn here." I'm going to give up swimming upstream, and just settle for paddling about in a tropical lagoon.
     
  18. DC_DEEP

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    Thank you, Kotchanski. You actually understand what I'm talking about here.

    Again, ladies and gents, I am not starting the aggressive exchanges here. Did any of you actually read the part where I said I smiled and returned a happy greeting?

    And Naughty, we've been on this board together long enough for you to know, pretty much, my disposition. I know you are a christian. You know I am not. You and I have never, not once, had a cross word for one another, because we treat each other with respect. See, that's what it's all about! Respect. Some folks demand that I treat them with respect, but refuse to treat me with respect.
     
  19. jeff black

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    It's probably just the fact that everyone assumes Christmas is celebrated by the entire world, even though they know it isn't true.

    As for people getting pissed off, I don't understand. If someone didn't say it back to me, I wouldn't get mad at them. I would just accept it.
     
  20. DC_DEEP

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    Thanks, jeff, finally a blink of understanding.

    And really, although it gets annoying and cloying after a while, it isn't even the spoken greetings that are the worst.

    At one of my afore-mentioned workplaces, my office door was not decorated by Dec 9. A (well-meaning, I assume) co-worker actually started decorating it for me. I politely asked, "please don't do that." That escalated into an unpleasant situation, too.

    I didn't make an exhaustive list, I simply cited a couple of examples. Truth be told, these are representative of instances that have happened at least three times a year since 1990. Am I just being overly sensitive? Perhaps.
     
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