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Don't you DARE say Merry Christmas!

Do you know what really grinds my gears? The Happy Holidays/ Merry Christmas debate.

Look you can say what you want, you have freedom of speech but that also means that I can say Happy Holidays or Happy Chanukkah to you. If you want the freedom to say Merry Christmas you can’t take away my freedom to say Happy Holidays.

I am not diminishing your holidays by saying Happy Holidays, I am just including other people in that statement like my fellow Jews who celebrate Chanukkah or African-Americans who celebrate Kwanza.

I just question how Christians would feel if we only said Happy Chanukkah? Wouldn’t that be marginalizing their holiday? Well isn’t it reasonable that by saying Merry Christmas you are marginalizing mine?

Hey if you know that person is Christian, say Merry Christmas but if you aren’t sure or you are making a public statement, why not say Happy Holidays? The last time I checked, America wasn’t a solely Christian country, Christianity wasn’t the national religion of the USA, and Christmas isn’t a national holiday (though Christmas Day is recognized as an official federal holiday).

And then we get to public displays of religion… You want a Christmas tree funded by the Federal or State government? Fine… but you don’t get to block a public Menorah. So Bill O'Reilly said in 2006 that a policy banning nativity scenes in NYC public schools was "anti-Christian". But banning menorahs isn’t anti-semitic? Or anti-Jew?

I don’t care if you call them Christmas trees when you sell them… I’m not buying one anyway… we don’t have Chanukkah bushes or a Christmas tree for fun. I have a menorah and I am proud of it. You can absolutely keep Santa and Christmas trees and Easter bunnies that lay eggs (yeah, still don’t get that one). You don’t have to call them winter things or spring holidays, that doesn’t fool me. I have my own traditions and holidays.   I don’t want to feel included in Christmas, I just don’t want you to tell me I am anti-Christian if I say Happy Holidays. I am not marginalizing Christmas, I just am being inclusive and sensitive just in case the person I am talking to is Jewish or celebrates another holiday.

What about the retailers… what about them? So in their marketing they use holiday (well not any more since they have been susceptible to the right wing, Christian fanatical boycotts and petitions), cool then I actually look at what they are selling. When they use Christmas… then I don’t look because I assume it is all red and green and Santa Claus… So fine. If you want to alienate a portion of the population… well I guess you have to choose one. Either the insane, extremists of the Christian faith who are very good at fire and brimstone (it’s their bread and butter…) or the entirety of the country who don’t celebrate Christmas (Jews, Muslims, Athiests, etc)… perhaps placating the nasties is a good idea… less chance of violent threats than from the rest of us who are used to being ignored. But Target Corp might be onto something (full disclosure: I worked for Target for about 2 years… and I did say Happy Holidays when I was at a register). By including both Christmas and Chanukkah, you please a larger demographic in the US… hum, what a thought… pluralism. You can even use Christmas AND holiday AND maybe even Chanukkah! What?! No way!

So what happens if you are ringing me up at the grocery store or at Target and you greet me with Merry Christmas?

I say with a big smile on my face, as politely as possible, Happy Chanukkah.

Your face… is priceless.

I can't find the Target commercial I was talking about online but here is the newest GAP one and I think it's great! Clearly their products are for anyone who is buying and not just Christmas celebrators...

GAP Commercial

Whew! That feels better. Thanks for letting me get that out. :)

Check out my friend's blog (less of a rant) about straddling this line with his young daughter. Click here!

(originally posted to my blog at Patheos)

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