This is usually the point where I would swear I have nothing against Christians, that I love & cherish people regardless of their religion, & that I welcome them to celebrate their holidays with all the love, gift-giving, decorating, treats, & other trappings they wish.
Instead, I think I’ll just imply the heck out of it.
Every year, starting around Thanksgiving, I start feeling like Kyle in the “Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo” episode of South Park. If you don’t know what that means, please refer to this post’s title. If you don’t know what that means, I’m going to refer you to my colleague, Dr. Google.
I don’t have an issue with the holiday itself. Nor do I have a fit every time someone wishes me a “Merry Christmas” – I simply wish them a “Happy Hanukkah” in return. I think that’s a pretty light-hearted way to say: “Hey, you made a mistake, but I know you mean well!”
Also, I’m snarky as heck by nature, & afterwards we’ve both wished each other happiness on a holiday we don’t celebrate. We’re even-Stevens. Or, Stephanies.
It’s not that I take issue with the people on Christmas. It’s the feeling of isolation, of exclusion, from the holiday season. It’s as if, for all intents and purposes, Hanukkah doesn’t exist.
Everywhere I look, it’s Christmas. Trees, red & green, reindeer, Santa, string lights, ornaments, candy canes – none of which is associated with any other holiday. & don’t get me started on the music playing in stores, doctors’ offices, on the radio, everywhere.
That’s why, when I hear the talking heads on TV talk about “the war on Christmas,” I have to choke back laughter. Sometimes it’s bile. It depends on the day.
Wishing people a “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” or not putting up nativity scenes on public property, is people recognizing not everyone celebrates Christmas. It’s literally the least people can do.
I guess what I’m saying is this: don’t make assumptions. Share the warmth you feel this season with everyone around you. Wish people a “happy holidays” unless you’re positive they celebrate Christmas* – not to mention it includes wishing them a bright & fruitful New Year.
This is a time for inclusion. A time for love & peace. For making everyone, regardless of their religion, feel welcome. I know, for me at least, it goes a long way to warming my heart & making me feel like I’m not just A Lonely Jew on Christmas.
Like I’m not an afterthought.
*Bonus Points: If you know that people don’t celebrate Christmas, even if you’re not sure of their particular affiliation, don’t wait until Christmas to wish them well. Perhaps I’m overly sensitive, but hearing “Happy Holidays” on Christmas is sort of disingenuous. Especially when, like a couple of years ago, my holiday ended weeks earlier.
Happy Holidays to everyone! A bright & peaceful Hanukah, a joyous Kwanza, &, yes, a very Merry Christmas. May the best of 2016 be the worst of 2017 for you all!