December 23, 2016
During a season of red and green, anyone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas may to feel isolated. Whether it’s the 10-foot Christmas tree or blinding lights, Christmas tends to outshine any other holiday.
When I stand at the checkout counter at a store and the cashier says “Merry Christmas”; when a store plays Christmas carols; when students at school talk about Christmas Break, I feel isolated.
I do not celebrate Christmas, and I feel as though I am punished for it. In the age of inclusivity, during the Holiday season, I, as a Jew, am unincluded. Sure, we have Hanukkah. And there is Kwanzaa too. But nothing is more insulting than the juxtaposition of a 10-foot-tall decorated Christmas tree next to a 8-inch light-up CVS Menorah.
Ironically, Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the happiness in the air, the crispness of the season and the friendly giving. But every year I have this indescribable resentment. Not toward anyone in particular, but because simply being a non-Christmas celebrator during the Holidays comes with challenges.
During the Holidays, Jewish and other non-Christmas celebrator children look around and ask their parents why they don’t celebrate Christmas and why Santa doesn’t come to their house. Children get jealous of the ever-flowing joy of Christmas.
Walking into the store, unlimited amounts of Christmas decorations swarm the store. In every nook and cranny, a wreath, a singing Santa or a Christmas tree get perfectly placed until the store becomes Santa’s Enchanted Forest. After an hour of searching, you finally find the Hanukkah section, only to realize that it has about four things to choose from. When I decorate, I decorate for Winter. Celebrating the season with snowmen, blue and white snowflakes and fake snow, no Holiday attachments– just neutral.
Because saying “Merry Christmas,” automatically isolates anyone who does not celebrate Christmas, Happy Holidays functions as the most generous greeting. It is the most neutral, yet cheery and inclusive phrase, appeasing every type of holiday celebrator. You never know what someone celebrates, so saying this simple phrase encompasses every holiday and every religion as the best way to stay inclusive.
The Holidays are for everyone. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or anything else, this is a time for everyone to enjoy and celebrate. Happy Holidays!