2013-12-24 – Merry Christmas!
My parents had a tough time saying this. To be honest, I did too, once. In some ways, it was a mirror image of the folks at Fox News who have conniptions over saying Happy Holidays! It’s a visceral thing.
I made my peace with saying Merry Christmas by telling myself that I would never refuse to wish someone Happy Birthday simply because they weren’t born on EightOh9 (which is my birthday). I express my holiday wishes to people on their holiday, not on mine. Of course, once I married a Catholic, Christmas became my holiday, too. Sort of.
The thing I learned by joining my Hanukkah household with a Christmas household is that we’re not all that different, if you look beyond doctrine. People like to get together with family to celebrate. It doesn’t really matter what the ostensible occasion.
The doctrine is the problem.
When I was a kid, we had nowhere to go on Christmas. We didn’t have a Christmas celebration per se. But my Jewish friends would come over and we would play Christmas carols on the piano and sing to aggravate our parents. When we were old enough to drive, we would go to one of the few open restaurants. In Ohio, that meant Denny’s. Once I came to Chicago, it was Chinese food.
Now, instead of Peking Duck, it is roast turkey. I’m on the inside now (sort of). But how different is it?