21. Christmas Greetings and Good Cheer

Greetings at Christmas extend beyond a mere wish of ‘Merry Christmas’ or
‘Happy Holidays.’ Christmas greetings embody a wish that all will go well in
whatever preparations need to be made, and a genuine sentiment that much joy,
happiness and well being will be experienced by the individual and loved ones
during the season.
The season of good cheer and wishes also reflect the jolly ho, ho, ho
nature of Santa Claus. To the delight of children, it is very easy for them to
run into many jolly fellows dressed as Santa Claus during the Christmas season
who will quiz them about whether they have been good or naughty. Many times when
friends, relatives and loved ones call each other during the Christmas season,
they will speak to the children and wish them Merry Christmas, but not without a
warning that they had better be good or else there will be no presents from
Santa Claus.
For children therefore, a greeting of Merry Christmas has the purpose of
increasing their anticipation for the arrival of Christmas Eve and Santa’s visit
to leave toys and Christmas presents under the tree.
Because children also take part in many traditions associated with Christmas,
holiday greetings for them is also a reminder of the fun they will have in doing
such activities as decorating the tree, helping to bake cookies and wrapping
presents. When children have these things to look forward to at Christmas, it
creates a lasting memory for them and helps to make their childhood one on which
they will later reflect on with much fondness.
The more prevalent greeting of ‘Happy Holidays’ that is used today reflects in
part the also prevalent nature to be politically correct in speech and
communication. The greeting of ‘Happy Holidays’ can be given to anyone whether
or not they celebrate Christmas. It avoids any offense being taken if someone is
wished Merry Christmas when it’s a celebration in which they don’t participate
or observe.
Happy Holidays is also used to extend a greeting of goodwill beyond Christmas to
the coming New Year holiday period. For procrastinators and the chronically late
greeting card senders, they can still drop a ‘Happy Holiday’ greeting card in
the mail to friends and loved ones close to Christmas Day or even after and it
will still be relevant.
Christmas greeting cards play a big role in communicating Christmas greetings
and good cheer for the holiday season. It’s a tradition that started in Britain
in 1840 with the start of the first public postal deliveries. The production of
large numbers of Christmas greeting cards started about twenty years later in
1860 with the improvement of printing methods.
Today, Christmas greetings and greeting cards have further evolved with massive
changes and development in technology. The computer, which has become a
necessary electronic equipment in just about every home, is commonly used to
send Christmas greetings through emailing an online greeting or postcard. Online
greeting cards also have brought other changes such as being interactive or
animated and they can also be easily personalized with pictures of individuals
or families. Online greeting cards can be sent from websites that are accessible
to everyone or they can be easily created on a home computer.
Another way in which Christmas greetings are sent is by mailing gifts and
presents to relatives and friends who live elsewhere. Except for the dreaded tax
season, there is no other time when post offices become more crowded than during
the Christmas season. Post Offices therefore play an important role in relaying
Christmas greetings by handling thousands of greeting card mailings and gift
packages for Christmas.
With just about everyone having a cheerful spirit for the Christmas season, it
becomes very easy to pause for even a brief conversation and extend a greeting
of goodwill to friends, acquaintances, colleagues, neighbors and others.