Is it Okay to Say “Merry Christmas?”

Study the transcript of this episode as a lesson on LingQ, saving the words and phrases you don’t know to your database. Here it is!

Jill and Mark discuss a variety of topics including the frequency with which they do the EnglishLingQ podcast, their weekend plans and the words “Merry Christmas.”

Mark: Hi again everyone, Mark Kaufmann here for the EnglishLingQ Podcast.

Today I am joined by Jill.

How’s it going Jill?

Jill: For something completely different.

Mark: Yes, a new wrinkle.

Jill: I’m well thanks, how are you?

Mark: I’m good; although, it’s kind of ruining our theory about the sunny podcast day today. It is 1 degree and raining.

Jill: No, it’s actually 6 degrees, apparently.

Mark: Is it?

Jill: But I think up on the mountains it’s snowing; it’s cold enough that it’s snowing higher up.

Mark: Yeah, you can see it.

At least over night the top half of the hill or the houses on the top half of the hill are snow covered, anyway.

Jill: Yeah, that’s better than the rain. I wish it was colder and snowing.

Mark: Absolutely, it would be great if it snowed all the way down to where our office is; sea level; but, maybe this weekend I’ll go and snowshoe or something up on the mountain.

I haven’t done that yet this year.

Jill: That would be nice; that would be great.

Mark: Head up there snowshoeing or maybe cross-country skiing. My dad will be keen to do that.

Jill: It’s supposed to be wet all weekend, so it will probably be snowing up on the mountain basically all weekend.

Mark: Yeah, I think if it’s up to 7-8 degrees down here then it’s snow up top so, if that’s the case, it should be great conditions for everything up there with skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing; everything is better in fresh snow.

The skiing would be good, but on the weekend up here it’s so busy it’s just not enjoyable between the waiting in line to get on the chairlift and getting hit by people that can’t ski.

Jill: Yeah, that’s the thing.

None of the runs are very long, so you’re done very quickly and then it takes quite a while, not always, but it seems like it’s a while to wait in the line to get up the chairlift.

Mark: For sure.

Jill: And you’re down the run in two minutes.

Mark: In no time and the runs can be, you know, they’re regular runs, but there are a lot of people on them.

A lot of people that start skiing start locally and they’re up there; it’s a little bit dangerous.

Jill: Especially the beginner snowboarders.

Mark: Oh yeah.

Jill: They really have no control usually.

Mark: Well and snowboarders have trouble seeing in one direction, right?

Jill: Right.

Mark: You see fine when you’re heading down the hill or when you’re facing down the hill, but then when you turn and now you’re facing sort of up hill you don’t see what’s behind you as you make your turns; it’s a little dangerous.

You’re a snowboarder, aren’t ya’?

Jill: Well, no, wanna’ be; I’m going back to skiing.

Mark: Are you?

Jill: Yeah.

Mark: I’ve never tried snowboarding.

Jill: I think once you get it it’s fine, but there seems to be more of a learning curve than there is for skiing, at least for me.

Mark: Is that right.

Jill: So, because I already know how to ski and I don’t get out enough in a year to really get good at snowboarding, so every year it’s just not fun.

I have got all my equipment, which is a shame but, I don’t know, maybe I’ll try to sell it or give it away or something and go back to skiing.

Mark: Yeah, that’s what I think too. I’ve never tried it, but I don’t ski very much, so when I go I don’t want to spend three days falling down.

I’ll just go and ski, which I can do and have fun.

Jill: Yeah.

Mark: As I say, if I go five times in a year I don’t want to waste it learning something.

It’s different if you’re doing it all the time, but anyhow.

Maybe this weekend I’ll get up and snowshoe anyway.

Jill: That would be fun.

Mark: Yeah.

I guess before we go on, one thing we did want to talk about today was the frequency with which we do these podcasts.

Right now, between you, me and my dad, we’re doing three a week.

We were doing two a week and then in the last couple months we’ve upped it to three a week.

We’re just kind of wondering how our listeners feel about that, so what we’d like you to do is let us know.

Did you prefer it when it was only two?

Is three good for you?

I know one thing we’re thinking is that any of you who are listening and then reading the text on LingQ and looking up the words and phrases and reviewing and so on, it could be quite a bit of work to try and keep up to three podcasts a week so, for that reason, we’d like to hear from you.

Jill: On the EnglishLingQ Forum is a good place.

Mark: Yeah, on the EnglishLingQ Forum.

In LingQ itself in the forums area there’s an EnglishLingQ Forum and any feedback about the show that’s where we would like you to share it with us.

Certainly, regarding the number, the frequency of the podcasts, if you could let us know your thoughts.

Do you want us to cut it back down to two?

Do you want us to do 10 a week?

Jill: No, that’s not an option.

Mark: Fifteen a week? We’re just constantly doing them.

You know, let us know and, as usual, any suggestions on topics.

We have had some suggestions recently and we are going to be implementing those.

We had a suggestion…I can’t remember right now who made it.

Was it Enrique, maybe?

Anyway, someone in Mexico, the name escapes me right now, but he wanted us to have the odd guest in here, which is a good suggestion and we’re going to try to do that.

He is also an architect and was interested in having a guest on who was maybe an architect or a builder or us discussing those topics.

We’ll see what we can do for you there in the next, hopefully, week or so.

As well, we had some suggestions from Vicki or a request to discuss specific words, which she put in her post on the EnglishLingQ Forum which, again, escape me.

Jill: I think “tell”, “say”.

Mark: “Say” and “tell”.

Jill: “Speak”.

Mark: “Speak”, “say”, “tell”; the differences between those similar words.

I think you’ll cover those probably on Wednesday; Jill with my dad.

But, anyway, please keep that feedback coming.

We do and will respond to it and do let us know about the frequency, because we certainly don’t want you to feel pressured that you’ve got to listen to every one and work on it in LingQ and then feel like you’re running out of time, because the podcasts end up being quite long, you know, anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes and that’s a lot of text to work through if you’re saving words and phrases.

Jill: The only other thing I think we were maybe going to talk about… We don’t really have any LingQ updates to mention.

Mark: No, unfortunately.

We’ve got some good stuff coming, but nothing was added this week.

We definitely have some improvements in the works, including an improved profile section for each member where, eventually, you’ll be able to see more information about other members.

You know, if you’re signing up for a discussion you can click on a member’s user name and depending on whether or not they’ve shared the information, their name, a picture, a bio…

Jill: …where they’re from…

Mark: …maybe some statistics on how they’re doing at LingQ, those sorts of things.

We’re in the process of developing the User Profile and, hopefully, we’ll have something in the next week or so there.

As well, many of you have been after translation on the site.

We are getting close to having a tool that will allow us to implement the translation at which point we will be asking our members to help with the translation, but the tool should be very easy to use and I think many of you will quite enjoy being involved in translating the interface in LingQ.

Otherwise, yeah, so, hopefully, next week we’ve got…

Jill: …some updates to talk about.

Then just something we were talking about around the office today a little bit is this whole issue of Merry Christmas, saying “Merry Christmas” and how so much…at least in Canada and I think in Britain as well I’ve heard that it’s like that there; I’m not as sure about the U.S.

Mark: I think in many western countries it’s an issue.

Jill: Where I think we feel, not you and I specifically, but we feel somehow that saying Merry Christmas is excluding or disrespectful to the people who live here who do not celebrate Christmas and so it’s become the norm in schools and Christmas cards and many things to say happy holidays or seasons greetings instead of Merry Christmas.

I know on our email cards and we’re going to be sending one out for Christmas from LingQ and we’ve had them from The Linguist in the past, I think we’ve always said Merry Christmas because to us that’s what it is.

We grew up saying Merry Christmas and we still believe that it’s fine to say Merry Christmas.

Mark: Right.

And really, and it’s not the same for everybody, but speaking for myself and I think for you as well, I don’t really see Christmas as a religious holiday necessarily, it’s more of a tradition; it’s certainly a Canadian tradition.

That’s what we’ve grown up with; that’s what the majority of people celebrate.

It’s this whole politically correct movement that we’ve been well, basically, suffering through, in my opinion.

I’m not big on political correctness.

I believe in being fair to everybody, but we have our traditions here and I certainly don’t see why we should be changing our traditions in hopes of not offending someone.

Because if I’m somewhere else where they have certain traditions I’m very accepting of those traditions and happy to celebrate those.

Jill: And I’m not offended by them.

Mark: And not offended.

Jill: Exactly.

I would not move to another country and expect that they would change their traditions because I don’t celebrate or have the same traditions.

Mark: I mean absolutely not.

In fact, I would be disappointed if they didn’t celebrate and carry on the way they always have because part of going somewhere different is to experience what happens there.

To be fair, I don’t think that it’s the immigrants or new Canadians or Muslims or whoever it is in Canada that are making noise and expecting this.

Jill: Yeah.

For the most part, I think you’re right.

I don’t think it is actually them.

Mark: I think it is your “do-gooders”, politically-correct types, who feel like they have to bend over backwards to make sure we don’t offend anybody.

It’s just, you know, we have to not say Merry Christmas because they don’t celebrate it.

They know; they understand what we celebrate here and they don’t care, most people.

They’re happy.

We celebrate our thing, they celebrate there thing.

There’s no need to sort of bend over backwards for people.

Jill: And, you know, as I was saying, my dad is married to an Indian woman; a woman who was born in India and has lived in Canada since she was a child, but still really values her Indian roots and culture but, at the same time, celebrates Christmas and is perfectly happy to celebrate Christmas.

Her children have grown up with it; she’s certainly not offended by it.

My mom has a couple of very good friends as well who are of Indian descent and celebrate Christmas and enjoy it.

It by no means means that you can’t also have your traditions and the things that you celebrate; Hanukkah, Ramadan, whatever it is, I’m not offended if people want to celebrate those holidays.

Mark: What offends me is we are supposed to feel like we have to hide or not promote the fact that we celebrate what we celebrate.

We do; that’s what we do here.

We have Christmas, “Merry Christmas”, nobody is that fussed about it.

No, I agree.

When you all get your LingQ Christmas cards you’ll know why.

Jill: It says Merry Christmas.

Mark: If you would like to wish us something else back we’re more than happy for you to do that too.

Jill: And to tell us about your holiday if you like.

I really enjoy listening to or hearing about the traditions that other people have.

It’s very interesting to me, so that’s great.

Mark: Yeah, so a little bit of a deeper topic this week.

Jill: Hopefully we didn’t offend anybody.

Mark: Yeah, I’m sure we didn’t.

Jill: It wasn’t our intention anyway.

Mark: Other than that, I think, not much planned for this weekend myself.

It looks like it will be a wet one.

Jill: Just getting ready for Christmas, I guess.

Mark: Not too long now.

We’ve got a week’s shopping left.

I better get out there.

Jill: This is early for you.

Mark: Yeah, I know.

Jill: What are you talking about; you’ll wait until next Friday.

Mark: Christmas Eve is a good day to go because nobody is in the mall, especially in the afternoon.

Jill: That’s right.

Mark: Yeah, there’s not so much selection.

Jill: I was going to say, there’s really not much left at that point, but what is left is usually on sale for at least 40 percent off.

Mark: See, another good reason to go at that time, yes.

Jill: Well, good luck with that.

Mark: And you’re all done, I guess, all your Christmas shopping.

Jill: Pretty much.

I think I have a couple of little things to get, but yeah, I’m pretty much done and I did it all for Chris as well; for Chris’ family, for my family.

So, last night we were talking — we’re going to my mom’s actually tomorrow night with my brother and sister and niece and nephew and all of us to have our own little Christmas because we’re going away on Friday for Christmas – so, he said oh, so I don’t need to do any more shopping though?

I said no, I’ve got you covered and what do you mean do any more?

You haven’t done any!

Mark: And a big sacrifice that you made because you don’t like to go shopping, I know that.

Jill: Yeah. Okay fine, I like any excuse to shop.

Mark: Right.

Jill: So, yeah, just pretty much finished.

Mark: Yeah, same for me, really.

Kindrey does most of the shopping I just have to get something for her.

Jill: Right.

Well, Chris said that I’ve already got my Christmas present because a few weeks ago our dryer broke and when I came home from New York he surprised me with a brand new dryer.

Mark: Well there, you see?

Jill: And he said yeah, and this is your Christmas present and he kind of keeps bringing that up.

Mark: Yeah.

Jill: I think if he knows what’s good for him he’ll find something else.

Mark: You’re not buying it?

Jill: No. Thanks, because I love doing laundry so much.

Mark: Is it a nice dryer?

Jill: Oh, it’s fine, it’s nothing fancy.

Mark: There you go.

Jill: I hang all my clothes to dry anyway.

Mark: You do?

Jill: Most of them, yeah.

Mark: Just out of principle?

Jill: Just because things stay nicer.

Mark: Right.

Jill: The colors are nicer and the fabric stays nicer.

Mark: Don’t get worn.

Jill: Yeah, so I usually hang everything.

I put all his stuff in the dryer; he doesn’t care.

Mark: So, he bought the dryer for himself then?

Jill: Yeah, pretty much.

Mark: So, he better get out there.

Jill: That’s a good point. I’ll have to say that.

Mark: Alright then, I guess we’ll…

Jill: …talk on Monday.

Mark: Sounds good, bye, bye.

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