The Canadian Imagination

What it means to be Canadian; examining and reworking Canada as a nation.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry holidays! Happy Christmas!

Add in, this year, for the first time this century, Happy Hanukkah!

Where I know the belief structure of the other, I so wish them: Merry Christmas to the Christian, Happy Hanukkah to the Jew, happy holidays to those who follow neither tradition but nevertheless participate in the season, if only to the point of having received a day off from work and a day for time with family. Where I am aware of a current major cultural holiday (and please do let me know what I might not be aware of), I will so wish in the sidebar of this blog.

Whatever a person wishes to wish me in the spirit of a given festival, I will joyfully accept.

Yet I continue to read every year more complaints from those who feel that another's different wishing somehow constitutes an erosion, a threat to their own beliefs.

What does it say about us that the nature of the greeting is even an issue? A person who so wishes should be able to find a "Merry Christmas" card to send to another person celebrating Christmas without everyone who is neither giver nor receiver getting all uptight about it. Similarly, a person who so wishes should be able to find and send a "Happy Holidays" (or whatever) card in the peace and spirit of the season. For those who might think otherwise, I might remind them of a certain vision of Peter's (Acts 10:9-45).

A tree is a tree is a tree and if a person really objects to what the store selling that tree chooses to call it, there has always been such a thing as voting with one's pocketbook. To resist an alteration away from a tradition is one thing. To pull something already altered back, away from the already-existing inclusive, something else entirely. By such choices do we define our identity -- and, more relevantly, who is not and must never be allowed to be considered truly one of "us".

But me: I just want to wish you -- all of you -- peace and joy and laughter, the very best for this season (by whichever name), for this day and days to come. Happy Hanukkah! Merry Christmas! Happy holidays!



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