I like to think that this season of Good Tidings brings out the best in people. One would hope that people would always try to be their best, but every day is a different day and this time of the year is when we really hope that every day is a good day. With the warm greetings in the spirit of the holiday, one of the last things a person should worry about is whether their well-intended words are being offensive.

I’m talking about the phrase “Merry Christmas.”

Now, I’m not a religious man. To be quite honest, I’m thankful that a church doesn’t go up in flames when I walk into it. So these thoughts are not coming from a Christian point of view. They’re coming from a human point of view.

I bristle when I see “Christmas” abbreviated to “Xmas”. I have to say that I find “Xmas” to be indicative of one of two things: 1. the writer is exceedingly lazy or 2. the writer is placing his or her beliefs ahead of the sentiment that they’re trying to express by wishing someone a “Merry Xmas”. The sentiment they are conveying is secondary to their personal needs. A conditional tiding, if you will.

Now, not many people are going to agree with me on this. Some are going to cling to their non-religious ways and that’s perfectly fine. If you choose not to believe in anything other than the here and now, I am perfectly fine with that. Some are going to proclaim, “Jesus is the reason for the season!!”, which personally I don’t believe per se, but I do believe the spirit of Jesus Christ’s teachings are appropriate here. If you choose to believe that I am going straight to hell after I take my last breath, based on what you read in a book, well quite frankly I’m fine with that too. You believe what you believe and I believe what I believe and all is well in good. If your well wishes and holiday greetings are complete and coming from the heart, I don’t care if you choose to worship a dishwasher.

But conveying the spirit of the holidays through words, whether it be Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Joyous Solstice or whatever, in my opinion should be given completely, without abbreviations. If you don’t believe in the Christ part of Christmas, then wish others a Happy Holidays. If you find writing or typing the entire word to be time consuming or exhausting, give out a lukewarm handshake or a friendly pat on the head instead.

But please don’t abbreviate the spirit of the holidays. Lord knows we need all the good tidings we can get these days.