News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

January 4, 2011

MS. TAKES: Wishing you all a happy … whatever

TERRE HAUTE — I was brooding over a not-so-hot book the other night and wondered why we say some of the things we do.

Why do we wish people a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year? Isn’t this getting it a bit backward? After all, new year celebrations are generally considerably more merry than Christmas which is, in my experience, a family affair and therefore a happy occasion. I guess it’s hard to fight tradition and you would get some strange looks if you wished folks a Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year. I am tempted to experiment.

And, I wonder, is the wish for a Happy New Year only for that one day, or is it a general wish for the year ahead?

We do wish each other a Happy Easter and even a Happy Halloween. We conjure up visions of some sort of gigantic rabbit hopping around dispensing chocolate eggs. It’s a giggle and, I suppose, happy. But Halloween brings the nightmares of ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night. That doesn’t sound like unbridled happiness to me.

Happy birthday goes without saying. It’s a personal holiday and should be happy. My childhood birthdays were wonderful. I got to pick the dinner menu, invariably creamed chicken on Mom’s biscuits. Presents were a happy extra, but most important was feeling special on my birthday.

I wonder why we don’t have wishes for happy or merry or anything else for the Fourth of July or Labor Day? We are allowed to feel pensive on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. I don’t suppose there is much cause for sheer joy on either day, but a bit of somber reflection never hurt anybody.

I’ve wondered about “good morning.” There are mornings that are gray and stormy with a wind chill in the single digits. What’s good about that? Good night makes more sense. It is, after all, a wish that sleep will be deep and untroubled, and if your good night works maybe good morning is a valid wish the next day.

I had a friend who resented being told to “have a nice day.” It never bothered me, but she insisted that it was HER day and she would have whatever kind of day she wanted.

Ah well. Too late to wish you anything but a merry new year — and a happy one, too.

Liz Ciancone is a retired

Tribune-Star reporter. Send e-mail to

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Liz Ciancone
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris Police: Prostitute Accused in Overdose Death Service Held for 200 Whose Bodies Went Unclaimed Israeli Offensive Escalates in Gaza Attack Raw: 10-year Sentence for Ex-New Orleans Mayor Dodgers Found Partly Responsible in Fan Beating Weaver Reprises Ripley Role for 'Alien' Game Typhoon Nears Japan's Main Islands "Hotwives" Spoofs Reality TV Sterling Testifies in Los Angeles Clippers Trial GOP: Immigration a 'human Rights Issue' Raw: Rocket Explodes Over Israeli Wedding Raw: World's Tallest Water Slide Opens Thursday Obama Talks Economy, Slams Republicans Froome Crashes Out on Bumpy 5th Tour Stage Tornadoes Kill Four in Central New York Raw: Obama Shoots Pool in Denver Raw: Brazil Fans Cry After World Cup Loss Obama Talks Economy, Slams Republicans
NDN Video
Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel Pilot buys pizzas for travelers delayed by storm Klose nets record, Germany rout Brazil 7-1 'Purrmanently Sad Cat' Looks Adorably Sad All the Time Pharrell 'humbled' by success of mega-hit 'Happy' Day After: Brazil Reeling in WC Loss Jennifer Lawrence Facepalms Emma Watson Athletes Bare All for ESPN Magazine's Body Issue Raw: Brazil Fans Leaving Stadium Before Half Andi Dorfman Walks Out During the Rose Ceremony 5 Firework Fails for July 4th Justin Bieber Catches Tom Hanks Getting Down, Showing ‘How We Do It Big shoes to fill for Brazil ahead of Germany clash Man's 'Potato Salad' Plea Takes Off on Kickstarter Joan Rivers Storms Out of Interview Watch: A turtle and dog play ball Yikes! This Jet is Way Too Close Late-Night Highlight: Ben Falcone Screwed Up His Proposal To Melissa McCarthy Jenny and Sherri Talk "View" Departure

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010