I’ve had a few conversations recently about the holidays, what we should wish people over the holidays, whether or not the fact that people say “Happy Holidays” is an assault on Christmas or not, etc. So I decided to share my thoughts here because…it’s my place and all!
As a Jew, I love that Hanukah and other non-Christian holidays are aknowledged more now than they were when I was growing up, however I do believe that in a diverse community Christmas should not be forgotten end it saddens me to hear of holiday concert that do not even include Christmas songs, or public places that trees can no longer be called Christmas trees even when it is obvious that that’s what they are.
However, those that seem to feel like Christmas has been stolen from our society are wrong. Perhaps it is hard to see, but Christianity is still very much a part of our society, particularly during Christmas.
*For those of you that say we are lucky to get your stat holidays, I will say I don’t want them. I use five vacation days a year (unless some of our holidays fall on the weekend, which I always hope for) to celebrate my holidays with my family, and Christian holidays mean nothing to me, I would rather be at work.
*Santa Claus and Christmas trees are still in every single mall.
*There are radio stations, not Christian ones, playing nothing but Christmas music throughout all of December.
*Every year, multiple people ask me if we celebrate Christmas even though we are Jewish. When I tell them we do not, I am told that I am a mean parent for not giving my children Christmas, that all children deserve Christmas. Has anybody ever told you you are mean for not giving your children Hanukah, possibly even insisted so?
*Every year I am wished a Merry Christmas by a multitude of people who are well aware that I am Jewish. This never bothers me when it is out in public, in a store or by someone that does not know my religion, they are good wishes and I am happy for them. But I am a bit taken aback when someone who knows I am Jewish wishes me a Merry Christmas. For those that say you would not be bothered, I ask you to really question how you would feel if I walked up to you, and knowing that you are a Christmas celebrator, wished you a Happy Hanukah anyways?
I will say that none of these things particularly bother me, with the exception of being told I am I mean parent for not appropriating another religion’s holidays for my own children. But I am sharing my 43 years of experience as a Jewish person living in Toronto. Have no fear, although there is certainly more diverse city in holiday celebrations, Christmas remains alive and well!