OK, diversity fans and PC police, here's the ultimate holiday greeting: you combine the world's four main holidays celebrated at year's end: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Ramadan, and you get "Christmahanukwanzaadan".
What's not to love about this greeting? It's inclusive! Depending upon which holiday you celebrate, you might choose to juxtapose the sequence. Perhaps you prefer "Ramahanukwanzaachris". Or maybe "Hanuchrismaramakwan" rolls off your tongue more easily. Repeat after me 3 times a fast as you can......Hanuchrismaramakwan, Hanuchrismaramakwan, Hanuchrismaramakwan.
It really doesn't matter which holiday is mentioned first. It's all in there. What matters (or not, depending on your point of view) is that everyone's preference is honored. Or you could just take the easy PC way out and wish people "Happy Holidays" like most people do these days.
But isn't it kind of fun to color outside the lines sometimes and tweak people's minds just a teensy bit and come up with the unexpected? Or maybe tweak them a LOT?! Try out this alternative holiday greeting the next time you're about to wish someone "Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays" and see what kind of reaction you get. I'm betting you get a smile and that's worth the price of admission isn't it?
Speaking of tweaking the mind and getting a smile, I've been tweaking my own mind and smiling a lot this holiday season, all due to the "gift-free" vow I took at Thanksgiving.
I can't help but feel just a teensy bit smug as I cruise past the freeway exit to the Bay Street shopping center and see cars backed up for blocks, inching their way onto surface streets and vying for those ever dwindling spots in the parking garage.
I have not missed the shopping part of the holiday season one iota. Nor will I miss the soon to be "exchange season" about to begin on Dec. 26th. Instead, I will be on the northern California coast at one of my favorite spots on the planet, Sea Ranch, enjoying a few days of holiday merry-making with family and friends.
This is what it's all about for me. The older I become, the more happy and satisfied I am with simple pleasures. Give me a raging fire, good food and conversation to match, maybe add a glass of champagne and I am a happy camper.
This year, I notice that I'm happy to leave behind the stress of wanting to have the holidays meet some standard I adopted from who-knows-where and from who-knows-who. I know I'm not alone in this. Many of you have written about your own version of re-writing the holiday scripts you inherited from your families of origin.
You know the ones: where you gather with people you see once a year, sit around a big table and gorge lots of food, all the while trying to find a way to connect with that one family member who's views about life and politics are diametrically opposed to yours.
You do your best to be polite and not say anything to rile up Uncle Hank, while you listen to him drone on and on about things in which you have zero interest. You paste a generic courtesy smile on your face and utter strategically timed "ah ha's" every so often to make it appear you're engaged. Uncle Hank doesn't even notice that you're not listening because he's so self absorbed, he's really engaged in a monologue and having an ever so good time communing with himself.
If you want to tweak Uncle Hank just a tad and get his attention, wish him a Happy Ramachrismakwanzaakuh and wait for him to react. He might even inquire what in the world you're talking about! This could open a myriad of possibilities for launching into a cultural discourse on the world's great religions.
Or it could end up being a very short conversation before Uncle Hank moves on to investigate the plum pudding, in which case your best bet is to join him and imbibe in some yourself. And while the two of you are munching away, mention Sarah Palin and watch Uncle Hank light up.
In this season where Going Rogue is either going vogue for some or going bogus for others, try a little roguishness yourself. Break the rules. Who's rules are you following anyway? Chances are, if you're anything like 99% of the rest of the people on the planet, you're following rules you never formally signed on to. They came pre-installed and you and I just marched in step until we made them our own.
So go ahead, break a few this Chrismahanzaakwanadan ( See, it has an infinite number of variations. You could amuse yourself for hours with this.) and stir things up at your holiday celebration. I'd love to hear how you'll do that.
Looking ahead, lest we overlook the obvious, we about to launch ourselves into a brand new decade in a little over a week. A new chapter begins! A clean slate awaits. What are creating for your life starting in 2010? What new territory invites you? We've much inquiry to do on this one, so stay tuned and let's get busy creating the extraordinary.
Please drop by the comment section and share your "shake up the holiday plans" and plans for the new year. Do come and visit me on my personal blog and web site at Rx For The Soul. Or send me an email: judith (at) judithrich.com. Become A Fan if you'd like to receive automatic updates here and wake up your Facebook friends by posting this on your FB page.
Thanks for the memories we've shared in 2009. Frankly, I'm not sad to see it go. It's been a challenging year for most of us. Still and all, I'm grateful for the many blessings I've received this year not the least of which is you and your loyal readership here on the Huffington Post.
I'll be away until after the New Year, so let me take this chance to wish you all a joyous and abundant Sanah Jadidah (Iraq), Saale Nao Mubbarak (Afgani), Xin Nian Kuai Le (Chinese)
L'Shannah Tovah (Hebrew), S Novim Godom (Russian), Heri Za Mwaka Mpya (Swahili) New Year.
May the new decade greet you with creative opportunities to be more of who you truly are!
Blessings on the path,