‘Tis the season.
The season for trimming the tree, wrapping presents, and singing carols. It’s the time of year for lighting the Menorah, enjoying latkes, and playing Dreidel. It’s when some of us light candles for the kinara, share folktales and prepare for a feast. We’re getting ready to celebrate the end of the year and ring in a new one. It’s also the season for getting your panties in a bunch.
You know, it’s time for the good ol’ War on Christmas. Time for people to flip out because some cashier in the grocery store says “Happy Holidays!” rather than “Merry Christmas!” It’s that magical time of year when some people draw a line in the December snow that says “you’re not celebrating right.” Translation: You’re not celebrating like me.
I really can’t wrap my mind around the stink about saying Happy Holidays. To me it’s just wishing happiness for others in whatever way they find it. It’s about inclusion rather than exclusion. It’s not about being politically correct … it’s just about recognizing that we are all unique. We come from diverse backgrounds, different faiths with varying beliefs and traditions. And that’s OK.
Different isn’t bad or wrong. It’s. Just. Different.
I have never understood that whole line of thinking–we all have to believe the same thing and do things the same way … or else it’s wrong. How does the way someone else talks about or celebrates a holiday have anything to do with your own feelings toward the day? That’s like telling someone that my birthday is ruined because not everyone eats chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream for theirs. It just doesn’t make sense.
Personally, I think it’s pretty amazing that we have so many different traditions–even within the same holiday. Whether it’s what we eat for Christmas dinner or when we all gather to open gifts, I love talking with friends and family members about our various customs.
What I wish we could stop talking about is the idea that Christmas is under attack because it has to share the season with a few other holidays. If what and how you celebrate is truly a priority to you, there isn’t anything that will stop you from keeping that at the center of your holiday.
If your Christmas is all about a lavish lights display on your house, then someone saying “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” isn’t going to make your fantastically bright arrangement set to the music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra any less magical. If December 25th is all about gathering with your family to spend the day watching Christmas Vacation while gorging on cookies and presents, then your Jewish neighbors not celebrating the day won’t be a problem as your clan snuggles on the couch soaking up the day. And if the birth of Christ is the reason for your season, then keeping your celebration focused on your religion won’t be affected by the people who write Xmas or say ‘Happy Holidays.’
As long as we stay true to our beliefs and traditions without worry or outrage about others who aren’t celebrating in the same way, we can all enjoy this time of year. And we can put away our ammo, because Christmas is not, nor has it ever been, under attack.