I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about any number of things that I really have little or no control over, and at times wonder if all that worry is truly necessary. For example, I worry about paying the bills (who doesn’t?), whether or not my car will make it through another Chenango County winter and making deadlines, so on and so forth. I worry about my family and friends, particularly those who are experiencing tough times or facing adversity at work or at home. I worry about making it through the holidays and having enough cash saved up to purchase a few presents for said family and friends. Simply put, I worry.

Such trivial things to lose sleep over, yet there it is.

What I do not worry about, however, is whether I’ll respond to the random stranger out on the street – now that December is upon us – with Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. Why, you ask? Because – in all honesty – I couldn’t really care less.

I have no idea when – or why, for that matter – this particular debate became so controversial. Chances are, I suppose, like any pointless quarrel, no one does. It ranks right up there with the phrase “under God” being placed in the Pledge of Allegiance, a practice incorporated in 1954 ... 12 years after the pledge was adopted by Congress. And yet far too many people in this day and age spend an absolutely ludicrous amount of time being offended by these “controversial” topics.

Why is it that religion always seems to offend so frequently?

Because when you really get down to it, that’s what the whole Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays argument boils down to, right? Those who celebrate Christmas are offended by the heartfelt Happy Holidays, while those who do not celebrate Dec. 25 in the Christian sense are offended by the equally heartfelt Merry Christmas.

What a ridiculous way to promote division during a time of peace and goodwill, albeit one that includes Black Thursdays and the completely commercialized shopping experience that is Christmas ... err ... the holidays ... umm ... this time of year.

Talk about getting our priorities straight. Or I suppose I should say not getting our priorities straight.

Don’t we have more important things to worry about?

News reports show that more than 40,000 people have died as a result of the turmoil in Syria. Thousands of American troops – not to mention countless thousands of women and children – have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands have died as a result of conflicts and civil war in Africa. And the list goes on and on. Our own Civil War, WWI, WWII and Vietnam.

And we worry about saying Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays ... and whether or not it will offend or we will be offended?

I often wonder at all those technological marvels that have so thoroughly invaded our everyday lives and their actual worth. Americans will spend millions of dollars (if not more) on cell phones, computers, tablets, laptops and the latest video game console in these last weeks before Christmas ... err ... Dec. 25 ... all in an effort to stay entertained and more connected. And yet it seems that the more we connect, the more controversy we create, even if it’s something as pointless as what to say to another individual come holiday season. Hell, some people will read this week’s column and be offended I even brought up the topic (typically the ones who are offended by most anything). It’s such a waste of time, particularly when there are those who are hungry or hurt, lonely, abandoned or forgotten.

Is that what the holiday season – and Christmas – is all about now?

I’m reminded of the old saying, it’s better to give than it is to receive. Therefore, I have a suggestion for all those offended by my use – or lack thereof – of either Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.

Give the rest of us a break.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunbrian

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