It’s December. That means well-meaning folks are angst-ridden over whether to say
“Merry Christmas,”  “Happy Hanukkah” or “Enjoy the Heck Out of Kwanzaa.” Most have decided it’s great to just say “Happy Holidays.”

I don’t care what you say and I hope you don’t take offence if I mistakenly yell out “Merry Christmas” to you.  What I really mean when I say that is I hope you get together with your family, have some great food, get a few presents and generally feel great.

When I say “Merry Christmas,” it’s not an indication that I expect to see you at Midnight Mass. Let’s face it, many people who never attend church celebrate the commercial aspects of Christmas. Why can’t that be merry?

When I was growing up, religion was not something to be ashamed of, likely because I lived in a largely Catholic neighborhood. Each night in the summer, Dad would lean out the front door and yell, “Parlins in for prayers,” and we would come running into the house, crash to our knees and join my parents in the Rosary. And if some of the neighbor kids were around, they had to crash to their knees, too.  Heck, they were Catholic, too, and, in my house, at that time, everybody was praying.

The Parlins were so well known for praying that when we would go running home, friends would ask, “Is this just prayers or do you have to go in for the night?”

So I can only imagine anyone trying to convince my Dad to say “Happy Holidays” just to be politically correct.

But time rolls on and the world changes. The Midnight Mass I attend nowadays starts at 8 p.m. Honestly, I don’t think I could stay awake until midnight now.

The Parlins don’t come running in for prayers anymore. We are scattered to different cities and pray separately.

But we still get together for Christmas. I am circulating the annual Christmas email right now trying to figure out how many will be there for the holidays and what each family member will contribute to the Christmas dinner table. (It seems we have a surfeit of carbs coming to the table at this time.)

If you find that offensive, then Happy Holidays to you. But I hope they are at least as merry and bright as I expect mine to be.



  1. You have happy holidays! I should be fun with the Parlin gang congregating. And remember to crash to your knees in prayer. This would make Dad Parlin proud.

    We leave tomorrow morning (Dec. 9) for Estes Park, CO, to attend a very, very small immediate-family wedding for granddaughter Nicole. It will be such a small group that even Uncle Cory is not invited (wish he were, but not our place to say). After the wedding, which is Dec. 15, we’ll follow son Brett and his wife, Denise, to their home in Pearland, TX, for the holidays. So you see, we will have a very Merry Christmas also, returning to Sioux Falls before the year ends.

    Did you know that Merle Hill will be 100 on Dec.22? Ken Brekke can fill you in where Merle now resides should you wish to send best wishes.

    Thinking of you this festive season, and wishing Peace on Earth.

  2. Thanks, Larry. Great to hear from you. It sounds like you have a lovely December planned. I told my sister that we can’t do anything about the political climate but we can be kind to one another. So that’s my plan. Merry Christmas.

  3. A few days ago I was checking out at Menard’s and an older man who had an accent and looked like he was from a foreign country checked us out. After he gave us our change, not only did he wish us a Merry Christmas, he said God Bless you. I said God Bless you to him too. That was a pleasant surprise and it made my day.

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