Welcome to the "happy holidays" season. In case you’re wondering, that’s different than the holiday season, which is loosely defined as Thanksgiving-ish through Christmas-ish.

Welcome to the "happy holidays" season. In case you’re wondering, that’s different than the holiday season, which is loosely defined as Thanksgiving-ish through Christmas-ish.


No, the "happy holidays" season is more narrowly defined as beginning the first time you hear a store clerk say, "Merry Chr… Happy holidays," up through some point on Dec. 25 – Christmas Day, a calendared holiday – when someone wishes you "Happy holidays."


If I were to go around on the Fourth of July proclaiming "Happy month of national holidays!" so as not to offend people from the Philippines, Venezuela, or Vanuatu (all of which have independence days in July), people would think I were a self-righteous individual who probably enjoys listening to hipster music.


If I walked around saying "Happy march equinox!" on Easter, people would suppose I were really into tarot cards and had a Criss Angel portrait tattooed on my ankle.


But somehow, over the last few decades, the PC police slowly convinced us that "Happy holidays" is the only non-offensive well-wish acceptable this time of year.


Personally, I’m offended by all the offense.


Can you imagine a more useless emotion than offense? Getting angry at someone for something they didn’t mean to do? What’s the purpose? Why do we allow ourselves to indulge in such a purposeless feeling?


The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah started last Wednesday night, and if I meet a Jewish person who wishes me a happy Hanukkah sometime in the next few weeks, I will be honored to have been included in their celebration. While I don’t understand Kwanzaa in the least, a "Happy Kwanzaa" greeting from a passerby would tickle me to no end.


If I saw someone carrying a large metal pole, bearing tidings of "Happy Festivus," I’d appreciate their good taste in television and return the greeting, a smile on my face.


So why is it offensive for me to wish someone a merry Christmas? I’m not compelling them to celebrate Christmas. I’m not asking them to switch religions. I’m simply extending a gesture of kindness, hoping the weeks surrounding Dec. 25 go well for them.


The type of person who would take offense with a well-meant greeting from a stranger is probably the type of person who doesn’t enjoy much of anything. And perhaps that’s just the type of person who needs to hear it. Maybe saying, "Merry Christmas," is a win-win.


So from me and mine, to you and yours, here’s wishing you a merry Christmas — with emphasis.


NATE STRAUCH is a reporter at the Herald Democrat. Email him at nstrauch@heralddemocrat. com.