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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Sunday, December 12, 2004
"Happy Holidays"
Well, it's that time of year again. The time for "Happy Holidays." The reason we use this hackneyed phrase is to avoid offending Jews with "Merry Christmas." We recognize that the Jews have a holiday in December also. Unfortunately, this attempt frequently backfires. Many years, Hanukkah falls so distant from Christmas that people are saying "Happy Holidays" weeks after Hanukkah has passed. This year is a great example. Hanukkah will be over on Wednesday. Two weeks before Christmas. I will have to endure "Happpy Holidays" as well as dancing dreidels cavorting with snowmen, holiday concerts and gift ideas long after my children have broken all their toys and I have digested the last latke. Is this actually sensitive? Or is it more like wishing someone a "happy birthday" months after their birthday; a clear indication that you don't really give a damn about them. After Wednesday, please greet all Jews you meet with "f$&^ you and your religion." So much more personal than "Happy Holidays," don't you think?
You see now why I blog anonymously, don't you?

Now, obviously, neither my lovely b&c nor I speak for anyone else, and also Jews have myriad opinions on this topic. Both of us would much rather have a store clerk or random passer-by wish us a "Merry Christmas" than "Happy Holidays". "Merry Christmas" simply means "the majority of this country celebrates Christmas; while I know there are those who don't, assuming that you celebrate Christmas is a reasonable first order approximation." I believe only a secular extremist or a Jewish chauvenist would be offended by a benign greeting that, as it turned out, did not include him. Since b&c and I revere this nation's Christian roots and want Christians to take Christmas seriously, we would much rather bring Christmas back and nix the Holidays.

One more thing. I've heard some people say that "Happy Holidays" refers not to the various winter holidays of various religions (i.e. Christmas, Hanuka, Kawanza...) but refers to Chirstmas and New Years. Has anyone else heard this? I doubt it, since people always used to wish people "Merry Christmas and Happy New Years" and it was only later when everyone got PC that "Happy Holidays" came about. So it can't just be a shorter form of the first greeting, but a more "inclusive" one.
I've struggled a bit with this myself. Not with personal acquaintances and relationships. I generally wish people I know a Merry Christmas, unless I know they don't celebrate it. Not a big deal. Kinda like folks in Israel wishing me a peaceful Sabbath on Friday night.

But, with 2 specific business acquaintences, I was 99.9% sure that they were Jewish (Fifty-somethings, named Silverstein and Feldman, living in Fort Lauderdale, speaking in pronounced Sheila Broflovskian), but the subject had never come up. I like to send greetings to my clients this time of year, and I had to decide how to deal with these clients. I felt a "Happy Hanukkah" would be presumptuous. As I say, they never told me they were Jewish. But, I felt a Merry Christmas would be idiotic. I opted for a "Happy Holidays" message in the middle of Hanukkah. I guess it's a compromise. I would have preferred Happy Hanukkah though.
This issue is driving me crazy. How can anybody wishing you a happy anything be annoying? I could care less what greeting is used. It beats a punch in the nose.
Mama Nomad speaks.
Why I Wish People A Merry Christmas

An angel of the Lord stood before some shepherds, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!"

Merry Christmas!
Yeah, but didn't that happen in spring time?
Springtime? Maybe. If there's proof, we better get to work on changing the calendar.
May would be ideal. No other major holidays with which to compete. Although I think if we moved it, the creators of Kwanzaa would almost certainly move their holiday to compete for the retail dollars.
Don't have a whole lot of time to do research at the moment, but here's a church that places the Holy Birthday on the 6th of April. I was interested to discover that the Orthodox Church considers the Date to be the 6th of January.


I'm dreaming of a green Christmas
Just like the ones I've never known
When dew drops glisten
And children listen
To hear Santa on the phone
A product of mid-northern hemisphere upbringing. Bethlehem does get snow, although not a whole lot, and there's no mention of snow in the Scriptures (relating to Jesus' birth). There are also no (or very few) pine or fir in the area. I suppose you could decorate an olive tree.

I spent 2 weeks in a car with 2 very devout Christians from South Africa. All their memories of Christmas involve 3-digit heat, long days and blazing sunshine.

I once heard of a Muslim guy living in Scandanavia, when Ramadan fell during the summer. Having to fast during daylight hours, he was pretty screwed. Basically had to cram any food he was going to get between midnight and 2 am.

I've occassionally considered the 3 stars in the evening sky on a Friday night as defining the beginning of Shabbat, and how it would work in Fairbanks in June and July. On the right year, you could have a seriously extended Sabbath.
That's right, I don't want to hear any complaining from you Christins.
Cute, Mrs. Doctor Bean. Thanks for the link, Doc.

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