This is not a "holiday scene!"
As December has moved along toward Christmas I have noticed a societal trend that I intend to fight: "Happy Holidays."
Have you noticed too? When you say "Merry Christmas" in some public setting people seem a little taken aback. Sometimes they even respond, "Yes, Happy Holidays."
Look: I have many Jewish colleagues. During the Jewish high holidays I enjoy saying to them, "Good yontif!(holiday)" This never fails to draw a delighted grin.
I'm just the same way. I love hearing my Jewish friends say "Merry Christmas!" and "Happy Easter!" to me. I love telling them "Good Pesach!" at Passover time. It's fun to say "Happy Hanukah!"
But this is not just about Christians and Jews. It's really about religious people and secularists, with a lot of political correctness thrown in. It's bad enough that my two sons, when they were in public elementary schools, had an annual "Holiday Program," in which only the kids could perform only songs like "Frosty the Snowman" and "Winter Wonderland." (The kids also sand a draydl song, which I could never figure out. Isn't a draydl a top-like toy with Hebrew letters standing for "a great miracle happened here?" That sounds suspiciously, well, religious to me. How did that get past the secular police?)
My daughter goes to a school sponsored by a church. What a relief it has been to go the the annual Christmas program and hear Christmas carols, complete with angels and nativity scene. No, I don't think such overtly religious symbols belong in public schools. But would it be so awful for the kids to sing "Silent Night" or "We Wish You a Merry Christmas?" (There's that word again!)
It's this kind of thinking that causes cities like Bellevue, Washington to call the Christmas tree in city hall a "giving tree." Yep, they do. And even that is too much for some people. Read about that here.
You'd think everyone had a Christmas phobia. "Well," they might say, "go ahead and celebrate Christmas. Just don't mention the word in public!"
Along those lines, a blog called "Drink This" posts this helpful chart:
It is Christmas time. It is not "holiday time." So I am going to be a bit of a curmudgeon about all this. As Christmas approaches, my wish and greeting will be "Merry Christmas." After Christmas, as the year end approaches, it will be "Happy New Year!" And if I happen to encounter someone I know who celebrates Kwanzaa, I'll wish them "Happy Kwanzaa!" as well.
And at my house tomorrow night we're having a party. It's going to be a good old-fashioned red and green-bedecked party of the type that would inspire Norman Rockwell. Hint: It's not going to be a holiday party. It will be a Christmas party. As people come and go, I'll be wishing them Merry Christmas.
James Lileks agrees with me, and he's a lot funnier about it than I am being right now. Read Lileks here.
Ho, ho, ho.