All I can do is wish you well

All I can do is wish you well November 28, 2012

It’s to show that you’re a member of a club, and that club has economic and political power. Well, leave me out of it.”

“If you live in America and you understand that we are a Christian society then you can’t be offended by things like that or you shouldn’t live here.”

“The Father that Jesus revealed is interested in voluntary personal relationships with real persons, not coercive monarchical relations with the constructs of nation-states.”

Prayer for the Children of Abraham/Ibrahim

“The only people who make me more ill than the two active sides in this endless slaughter are the people far from the killing grounds who are so very goddamn sure they know what to do.”

“But attempting to construct equivalencies is no way to feel better about the death of children; and the point about messiness is why one gets angry at wars, not why one shrugs at them.”

“It’s completely asinine and invalid in conversations about Israel and Palestine to try to silence any criticism of the sins of one side by producing a list of what the other side has done as though they cancel each other out.”

“Since when is dehumanizing people — God’s creation — an acceptable Christian view?”

“In the end, many Americans decided that colonial expansion was not worth the price of brown men having sex with white women.”

“You want lights, you pay the electric company. You want a place to live, you pay the bank or landlord. You want food, you pay the grocery store. You want to live in a civilized society, you pay taxes.”

Water systems everywhere are in desperate need of upgrade, and this would serve as economic stimulus at a time when it’s still a good idea.”

“Although there have been no reports of explosions in ­Boston from any of the 3,300 leaks, the study comes three years ­after a Gloucester house ­exploded probably because of a cracked and corroded gas main dating to 1911.”

An explosion fueled by a gas leak has injured eight people and destroyed two buildings in downtown Springfield, Mass., including a local strip club.”

“He was not particularly eloquent or brilliant; he just refused to back down in the face of injustice.”

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  • I was at Hobby Lobby yesterday getting a picture frame rewired, and in the foyer, as I came in, I saw a selection of “Happy Holidays” sculptures. I meant to get a picture, but had my hands full with the framed Frank Leslie Santa print that needed the new picture wire.

  • Carstonio

    Over the last few years, I’ve heard quite a few stories about people getting huffy when someone in customer service wishes them Happy Holidays. Have any of you encountered such people yourselves this year, or heard new stories from friends or relatives? The cashiers and phone reps are doing the right thing by refusing to make assumptions about customers’ religious beliefs, and it’s infuriating that they’re getting harangued for it.

  • Becca Stareyes

    Plus, many people celebrate the New Year at the start of January (I assume even some people with religious calendars with other New Year celebrations not coinciding with 1 January celebrate the secular New Year) in addition to an actual holy day or days.  Between those folks, the neopagans who might keep a Christmas celebration out of family tradition, but Yule is their sacred holiday, and families like some of my friends’ growing up who had one Christian and one Jewish parent so celebrated both Christmas and Hanukkah…

    … it seems like a lot of people might have multiple holidays to celebrate at this time of year.  

  • I like “Winter Solstice Greetings!” That’s a fact of the Earth’s revolution around the sun and therefore as nondenominational as you can get. :D

    That said, I mostly just smile briefly when wished a Happy Holidays as it’s just one of those things you do as a general well-wish around Christmas. :)

  • Nicanthiel

    At my job, we get one, the 25th. And we’re not even that much of a high-demand sector (insurance)

  • Lori

    Bummer. Where I’m currently working we get the 24th & the 25th and we also get 2 days at New Year’s*. I think the logic was that with the holidays on Tuesday no one was going to want to come in just for Monday and heating and lighting the buildings for the handful of people who wouldn’t take it as a vacation day + us temps who can’t take it as a vacation day would be a waste.

    *This is a bit of a mixed blessing for me since I don’t get paid time off. I’m fortunate enough that it won’t be too much of a burden to me, especially since it’s balanced out by all the mandatory OT we’ve been working, but there are others for whom it’s really a problem. The whole “permatemp” thing ought to be a crime.

  • Persia

     My boss has a “It’s okay to say Merry Christmas to me” pin. Which is still passive-aggressive but at least she doesn’t harangue random people in stores.

  • EllieMurasaki

    One thing I wish we could do somehow is make the entire time period from
    December 24th to about January 7th one big-ass two-week holiday.

    That would go poorly for people who get paid only for the hours they work. And my job would get hella more complicated. Or, not mine so much, but the people in my division with more training, the ones who handle cancellations and dissolutions. If a company is legally in existence on Jan 1 2013, it owes 2013 taxes even if Jan 1 is the last day of its legal existence. So there’s a mad rush to get cancellations and dissolutions filed in December. As long as we’ve gotten the document in December, the file date is December even if the process date is February, but that doesn’t mean that taking two weeks off during the worst of the rush is a bright thing to do.

  • I used to be a greeter at my church before I was in the choir. The first time I did it on Christmas it was really striking to get actually sincere Merry Christmases from utter strangers. 

    Salespeople don’t care if my holidays are happy or my Christmas merry, any more than they care if my day is nice. Their boss tells them to say things like that, so they do.

  • Jenny Islander

    I always wish people Happy Holidays during the Holidays because they’re the frickin’ Holidays.  This is the secular period between U.S. Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is called the Holidays, which involves a lot of bouncy or swoony secular music, red and green decorations, sentimental movies, and colorful store window displays.  We are in it.


    /grumpy Anglican

    (I supposed I could wish people a joyous Advent, but there are quite a few folks who don’t  even know what Advent is, so.)

  • Tricksterson

    The best (if wordy) version I know of came from a friend:  “Happy Solstice celebration of your choice.”

  •  I would be delighted if someone on the street wished me a joyous Advent.

  •  The temptation to effusively wish your boss a happy Hannukah, upon seeing that pin, would be enormous.

  • Persia

     It’s insanely tempting at times.

  • Nicanthiel

    Yeah, the only multiple-day holiday we get is Thanksgiving and the day after. Generally, the day before Christmas is half-staffed, but this year we’re running full staff (for Cthulhu knows what reason)

  • Lori

    AFAICT that’s the way things usually are at this place as well. The only reason for the 2 days off this year is because having a tiny group of people come in on Monday is wasteful, plus having to bully the maintenance guys to come in to support the temps would make them look like total asshats and they don’t want to tick off the maintenance guys. (The equipment we temps run was literally custom built from parts by those maintenance guys. They’re the only ones who have a clue how to keep them running. Several of them have been working the same crazy hours that we have and are already more than a bit fed up with it. Training new maintenance people would be possible, but a hell of a lot of trouble. In short, everyone is happier and better off if they maintain the status quo. Creating ill-will and possible mutiny is certainly not worth it for two days that happen after their busy season is over.)

  • hidden_urchin

    There’s a natural gas leak somewhere in my father’s neighborhood.  I don’t worry so much when there’s a good breeze to disperse it but during those Texas summers when the air is completely still then I begin to wonder.

    The best part is that the gas company has looked for that leak a couple of times and can’t find it.  They know it’s there but they don’t want to dig up all of that pipe under the streets and sidewalks and lawns for one little leak.  So the families in that neighborhood are told that it’s no big deal.

  • Lori

    Well, that’s not scary at all.

  • AnonymousSam

    I saw a mug at Target a few days ago which read “Happy Whatever Doesn’t Offend You Day.”

  • Andrea

    Here in south Indianapolis, natural gas leaks have everyone a little twitchy right now even though the (presumably) natural gas-related explosion a few weeks ago (which killed two people, completely destroyed two homes, and damaged 31 other homes to the point where code enforcement has ordered them torn down) is now being treated as a criminal investigation and not an accident caused by errant leak.

  • I find the Englishism “Happy Christmas” confuses the hell out of people in America, kind of in a good way.

    Although I wish I had the balls to wish everyone a happy Drink-My-Urine day. 

  • cjmr

    One year we went away on vacation and came home to a new gas meter and the bit of garden right next to the gas meter dug up.  Apparently (according to the neighbor) the meter reader smelled a gas leak and they came out the next day to fix it–without us even being there.

    Now that’s customer service!

  • That would go poorly for people who get paid only for the hours they work. And my job would get hella more complicated.

    I specifically mentioned hourly-paid people as those who get the shaft on Christmas-situated holidays.

  • Carstonio

    Heh. My frustration with this issue is that it’s wrongly characterized as whiny minorities allegedly wanting everyone else to walk on eggshells. I’ve never heard of any non-Christian taking offense at being wished Merry Christmas, but as I wrote earlier, I’ve heard of plenty of Christians taking offense at NOT being wished Merry Christmas. It’s like they’re looking for affirmation.

  • Jessica_R

    I’m a non believer who loves Christmas so I say “Happy Holidays” because I like Christmas so much. It’s a spot of cheerfulness in the gloom of winter and so it’s in service to that cheer that I don’t assume, or insist, what other people believe. “Happy Holidays” is a nice catch all, I wish you well, remember all winters end greeting. 

    No one has gotten huffy yet, and if I saw a someone wearing a “It’s okay to wish me Merry Christmas” pin I’d make an extra point of saying Happy Holidays. Bah humbug. 

  • David Starner

     In Puerto Rico, there was a big natural gas (in this case propane, because that’s what they used) leak that the gas company couldn’t detect, due to poor training. It blew the shoe store that was complaining about it to smithereens, though it only killed the person who had called the gas company several times. Part of the big deal, of course, was that Enron (yes, that Enron) was well-supplied in lawyers, so it took a lot to find solid enough proof to shut them up.

  • stardreamer42

     Or a Blessed Yule.

  • stardreamer42

    A couple of years ago I was standing next to a person who was bragging about how she and her husband had taken to responding to “Happy Holidays” with a loud, nasty “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” I asked her exactly what kind of response she thought she was encouraging by sneering “Merry Christmas” at people? Then I told her that I had actually stopped saying “Merry Christmas” because I didn’t want to be identified with people like her. She just kind of stood there sputtering.

  • I like “Winter Solstice Greetings!” That’s a fact of the Earth’s
    revolution around the sun and therefore as nondenominational as you can get. :D

    You mean, the Sun’s revolution around the Earth.  Bloody heretic.

  • The_L1985

    I may have to get that one!

  • When I worked in retail, I would wish people a “Happy Holiday”. The 1% of people who cared about Merry Christmas always took it as me being cheeky and subversive, working a way around not being able to say “Merry Christmas”. The 1% of people who were up in arms about “Merry Christmas” being a religious affront took it to mean that I was too stupid to remember there was more than one, and the other 98% of people honestly don’t care because they’ve got four more stores to get to.

    Then again, if someone gave me a seasonal greeting, I would simply return it with a “And to you”. The last thing I wanted to do was rock someone’s boat.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Where I’m currently working we get the 24th & the 25th and we also get 2 days at New Year’s.
    We all got an e-mail telling us we had those two Mondays off as well, but I asked a producer later and she said that e-mail was only intended for corporate and not union employees. Swell.

    Most similar studios get the entire week off (if not two), since not a lot tends to get done for obvious reasons. Half the crew uses vacation time, some call in sick, some show up but leave 2 hours early. Unfortunately our production schedule doesn’t all for the holidays at all, anyways, and given how behind I am even in good months, I imagine I’ll probably be there all week.

  • Rissa

    “Happy holidays” barely covers is — last Christmas I suffered through a miserable day with my sister’s in-laws. I could have swept the board with Persecuted Majority Bingo that night, just listening to the one man sound off on all his hot button topics.

    He passed around an e-mail forward about “Obama’s socialism” (we’re Canadian, but I guess somehow it was relevant) and complained that his (white) kids were a visible minority in their classes at school. He said you could never get away with singing Christmas carols in the city mall (presumably the Brown Heathen Other would resent the attempt to proselytize). I am sure he said much more, but by then the pill I’d obtained from my sister had put me into a much more pacific state.

    I surivived the meal without strangling anybody purely through the miracle of modern chemistry. Clonazepam for the fucking win.

  • Dash1


    It’s not fair that, for example, university students and personnel
    basically get almost a month’s downtime (depending on schedules, exams,
    what-have-you), and retail-sector and hourly-waged employees basically
    get two days off (24th/25th or 25th/26th).

    I agree entirely about the retail-sector and hourly-waged employees. However, depending on what country you live in, the university personnel who seem to luxuriate in having the full week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day, they do have to get back on the job right after New Year’s Day) only achieve that by giving up holidays elsewhere in the year. State employees where I live now are told that they will be celebrating Presidents’ Day on December 26, for example, Columbus Day on the 27th, and Veterans’ Day on the 28th.

  • B

    Actually, at my university there is quite a bit of flexability about what sort of time off faculty take at holidays.  (The trick of course being that when you take time off, you’re not getting your work done, and you have to get your work done.)

    But the flip side is that there’s basically no ability to take time off during any time BUT Christmas/Summer/Spring Break.  Also, we get to work all summer for free.  So there’s that.

  • B

    That said, my Dad’s company does give their employees that don’t actually need to be there for something (ongoing testing, etc.) the week between Christmas and New Year’s off.  My mother generally took that week off — I guess she got enough vacation to do so — so I grew up assuming that everyone who didn’t work retail, etc. got that week off and got a nasty surprise when I entered the work force. :-)

  • P J Evans

     I worked one place where we were closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, January 1, and all Sundays. (And if December 25 and January 1 were on Sunday, too bad.)

  • Lori


    Here in south Indianapolis, natural gas leaks have everyone a little
    twitchy right now even though the (presumably) natural gas-related
    explosion a few weeks ago (which killed two people, completely destroyed
    two homes, and damaged 31 other homes to the point where code
    enforcement has ordered them torn down) is now being treated as a
    criminal investigation and not an accident caused by errant leak.   

    That really was scary. The pictures of it were some of the most astonishing things I’ve seen in a good while. You couldn’t even tell that those 2 houses had been houses because there was nothing left of them but a (surprisingly small) debris field. The whole thing is just horrifying and sad. I hope they figure out exactly what happened and then tell the rest of us because I’m really curious.

  • Lori

    You didn’t get the Friday before or the Monday after off for weekend holidays? Damn, those were some cheap bosses.

  • Hilary

    Thank you.  My partner, Penny, worked at a craft mega-retail store for three years, and every winter there was at least one incident with an obnoxious Christian over this.  Since Penny is a Jew-by choice and a preachers kid, it was a real issue to just bite her lips over it. I always wonder if those people have any ideal how obnoxious they are, or if they even care.

    We called it SAD – Seasonal Asshole Dissorder.


  • Hilary

    I know every body is commenting on the first Christmas link, which is a good one, but I just want to say these are some of the best Israel links, about the level of frustration and dispair over whole mess.  The prayer for the children of Abraham/Ibraham is really touching, the best poetic expression of how I feel, albeit with a lot less swearing.  I tried once to work for a pro-Israel/anti-occupation peace group once, but after a year of frustrating meetings I dropped out and shifted to a very local focus for my efforts.

    I know Israel/Gaza is as much politcal as religious, but for the religious element of the conflict, this is a good song to keep in mind:

    I ain’t afraid, by the Klezmatics.


  • SisterCoyote

    Salespeople don’t care if my holidays are happy or my Christmas merry, any more than they care if my day is nice.

    Some of us do.

  • Andrea

    State employees get something similar in Indiana – we get Lincoln’s birthday on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and Washington’s birthday on whatever day will get us two days off at Christmas (this year it’s December 24, but last year we had it as December 23 and were given Christmas Day as December 26, since the holiday fell on the weekend). Not sure if it’s handled differently for state university employees.

  • AnonymousSam
  • Well, if you’re a uni student, and your final exams are all in the first week of December, let’s say, and your classes don’t start until  January 7, you do indeed get almost a month off.

    Ditto if you’re faculty with no pressing engagements between the exams you’ve marked and signed off on, and the start of next semester.