I came across the following flowchart suggesting a refreshing response to various holiday greetings:

When someone wishes you…

  • Merry Christmas… and you are Christian or not Christian
  • Happy Hanukkah… and you are Jewish or not Jewish
  • Happy Kwanza… and you are African-American or not African-American
  • Season’s Greetings… and you are agoraphobic or not agoraphobic
  • Happy Holidays… and you are religious or not religious
  • Happy New Year… and you are good with dates or bad with dates


There is only one response: “Thank you! Same to you!”

(Credit: https://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/55t0fh/how_to_respond_to_holiday_greetings_as_a_flow/)

The simplicity of this is actually profound: Meet people where they are, not where we are.

Understandably we project onto others an expectation to know us well enough to offer an appropriate holiday wish. But that’s not always practical or possible.

So when it feels like others are pushing their perspectives or beliefs on us, consider that they’re just showing up as they are.

But when we express outrage or insult, we are just making it about us. Being offended when offense was not intended is merely a waste of our time and energy.

Instead of getting caught up in the specific words or the correct expression, let’s just assume good intent behind the holiday well-wishing, and move on.

My friend Britt sent me this quote on her holiday card:

In the end, only three things matter most:

  1. How much did you love?
  2. How fully did you live?
  3. How quickly did you let go?
(often attributed to Buddha, more accurately attributed to Jack Kornfield in his book, Buddha’s Little
Instruction Book, who seemed to evolve it from Danielle Marie’s earlier book, Straight from the Heart)

As the end of 2018 approaches and I assess my success against those three areas, I feel I’ve got the “love much” and “live fully” things down.

It’s the “let it go quickly” thing that I’ll be working on in 2019. And I’m going to start by practicing with holiday greetings!

Merry Holidays and Happy Everything!

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