It is a tradition for my family to go out for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving. We stumbled out of bed, brushed the hair out of out eyes and laughed as every other person in the restaurant appeared the same: a tired-after-turkey- consumption kind of look. We ate, giggled, shared jokes and stories about the night before, and felt grateful for each other’s company. As we left the restaurant, the owner told one of his employees to change their goodbye greeting from “Happy Thanksgiving” to “Happy Holidays.” And immediately, the employee looked at us, opened the door and said, “Happy Holidays.”
The greeting sparked a 30 second conversation in the parking lot. Which would we hear more of? Merry Christmas? Happy Holidays? Have a nice day? And as we drove home to Los Angeles, I realized I didn’t really care. I’m not one for a lot of controversy over the greeting said to me upon entering or exiting a store. But I am a stickler for kindness and openings. I find a lot of meaning in someone taking the time to look me in the eye, take an extra step and let me know, artificial or not…that they care.
We can learn a lot from a simple greeting. It’s an opening for someone to feel like they are wanted, needed, and loved. Whether it is “hello”, “I am thinking about you,” “Have a great day”, “I am so proud” or “Can’t wait to see you soon”, just a few words go a very long way.
Perhaps, today, it is even just wishing someone else a Shabbat Shalom. Little words, points of connection, impactful moment.
Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays and Shabbat Shalom