Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all that jazz

It’s late, dark and quiet. And what I’m thinking about is what I want for Christmas. So what’s a nice Jewish girl like me doing thinking about that? Why yes. Yes I am Jewish. And I celebrate Hanukkah. So for all extensive purposes, Christmas has nothing to do with me, right?

Except for as we both know, that’s a load of crap. The lights! The reindeer! The Santas! Christmas is everywhere. And it’s absolutely beautiful. Magical. Spiritual. And whatever way you celebrate it, I respect you. Because it’s your holiday. And your special day.

I don’t begrudge you Christmas. The cozy family time is right up my alley. And seriously, what’s not to appreciate about people’s strength and joy in faith?

I have so much curiosity and admiration for others’ celebrations and traditions. I want my children to see far beyond the four walls that my husband and I have created for them. This world is big, wide and simply stunning. And I want them to know that.

But on the same vein (Truly. It is.), I do think that it’s a little odd to wish everyone you see Merry Christmas. And to be offended when others choose Happy Holidays instead. Why? Well pure and simple: because not everyone celebrates Christmas.

My first grader’s classroom is rich with diversity. One day last week she came home breathless with excitement (true story) having just learned about Eid from oh-so-very-many of her classmates. She experienced. She appreciated. She shared. But people, she didn’t wish us a Happy Eid. And she didn’t wish all of her classmates a Merry Christmas. Because she knows that everyone celebrates different holidays and that’s the good stuff. The stuff that makes the world go round.

Grace. Kindness. Assuming that people are coming from a good place. Politically correct or not, isn’t that something that we can all stand behind?

In my heart of hearts, I truly believe that the issue isn’t about taking Christmas out of society. It’s about letting everyone else in.

For example, I’ve decorated a Christmas tree, played “Find Baby Jesus” and made a reindeer art project or two. All in my classroom. When I was I a public school teacher.

I’ve also been a part of a Kwanzaa creativity share, made Hanukkah latkes and eaten long soba and udon noodles in honor of the Japanese Omisoka. Again, all in my public school classroom.

I used to invite all families into the classroom to share a holiday tradition with the kids. We all learned so very much from each other, enjoyed ourselves immensely and authentically experienced our differences and similarities.

Everyone’s traditions were acknowledged, respected and celebrated. And that’s the way that it should be. Everywhere. And something as simple as not assuming people’s faith or not getting all up in arms when people try to be all inclusive is easy. And graceful. And just plain…right.

I’m not offended when I hear Merry Christmas. And I’ve taught my children this graceful gem. Because I know what you mean. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, the scratch-beneath-the-surface sentiment is the same: I wish you well. Isn’t this season amazing?

And when someone like me wishes you Happy Holidays? My (Christmas!) wish is for you to know that I’m so not trying to offend you. Or take anything away from you. I’m just not making any assumptions about you, your beliefs or your celebrations. But regardless, I’m wishing you well. And with every fiber of my being, I think that’s the good stuff, too. Don’t you?

So here goes: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Eid or…wait for it…Happy Holidays to you!

About the writer

@GalitBreen

Galit Breen blogs at These Little Waves. On any given day you can find her juggling three children, one husband, one puggle and one laptop, writing and tweeting her days away.

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Jaime 5 years ago

Loved this post and totally agree! Keep up with you good writing. Was happy to discover you here at SM. :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Cheryl, hi! Thanks so much for the note! Your words? Are absolutely perfect! Thank you for them and for the record: I, too, love this season! I hope you and yours had a beautiful Christmas! :)

Cheryl Pope 5 years ago

So glad you wrote this! Diversity is everywhere. I hadn’t thought of this until last week when I wished someone a Merry Christmas and she said Christmas was everyday. Some people have their own ways of celebrating(and thinking). I love this season so Happy Holidays to those who celebrate in your own special way.

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Excellent advice lady! Excellent advice, indeed! Thanks for the words! :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Alissa, hi! There’s definitely no fuming on my end either! And as for responding with, “You, too.” I seem to say that automatically when I order food or a movie ticket and the person working says, “Enjoy.” Your response? Appropriate. In my case: L A M E ! Thanks so much for the note, lady! :)

Christina Rodriguez | The Diva’ Home 5 years ago

I agree with you! I think that what most people are offended by is the thought that by saying ‘Merry Christmas’ is somehow offensive. People need to lighten up!

Alissa 5 years ago

I agree. I’m a Christian, and I hate the commercialism of Christmas. I’ve never heard of the 3 gifts representing the gifts of the wisemen before. My husband and I were already talking about minimizing the amount of gifts we gift at Christmas, so maybe I’ll throw this out there.

Alissa 5 years ago

Thank you for writing this post. I’m a Christian and therefore celebrate Christmas, but I never begrudge someone wishing me ‘Happy Holidays’ instead. It might throw me off guard when I hear it, and I usually respond with ‘you too’ (Lame, I know.), but I’m not fuming about it as I head to my car.

Frume Sarah 5 years ago

All kidding aside, there is something to be said for the insularity of the shtetl. Yes, life was hard. Yes, there was a constant threat of physical harm. But there was a richness to Jewish life that has been lost.

No flaming.

Frume Sarah 5 years ago

I know of a little 4 year old who, after paying very close attention at his JCC preschool, insisted that his family fast for Yom Kippur. At 3pm, his mother forced him to eat something. He calmly said, “Mama, they told us that all Jews fast on Yom Kippur.” To which his exasperated mother replied, “But sweetheart, we’re Lutheran.”

Frume Sarah 5 years ago

What a lovely way of bringing the modern observance back to the original story. I have never heard of this tradition, but I really like it. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Frume Sarah 5 years ago

Aw…thanks! I think we’ll be discussing this a whole lot more in future days 😉

I wonder how people feel about responding with “Happy New Year” instead of “Happy Holidays?” (Leaving aside, of course, the fact that several other groups have other new years that they observe.)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

LOVE it, Liz! Thanks so much for your note & Merry Christmas and Happy Everything right back ‘atcha! :)

Liz @ Peace, Love & Guacamole 5 years ago

Awesome post. We celebrate Christmas, but for the exact reasons you mentioned we picked a holiday card this year that says “Happy Everything!”

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Agreed completely. On Facebook one of my girlfriends wrote, “Wish me a “Happy Upside Down On Your Head Day” and I’ll be happy. I mean, seriously? G E N I U S ! Well wishes are wonderful and should so be taken that way! Thanks so much for your thoughtful note! :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Thank you. Truly. :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Hi Hannah! Excellent to hear from you and thankful for your insight. :)

Karen Paritee 5 years ago

Amazing to me that people are offended that people can’t just tell by looking what they might celebrate, that they don’t make assumptions… (isn’t that called stereotyping) and that we aren’t just happy that somebody is wishing us a happy anything… no one has to do that, either.

Hannah @A Mother in Israel 5 years ago

In some places in Europe it was not safe for Jews to go out on Christmas eve. Some still maintain the tradition of not going to the study hall on that night.

Hannah @A Mother in Israel 5 years ago

Hey Galit, I’m also a fan of both sites.
As far as I understand it, Islam follows a 12-month lunar calendar so that each holiday can come out at any time of year. The Jewish calendar also uses lunar months, but adds an extra one every 2-3 years to keep more or less on the solar calendar as well.

b harper 5 years ago

Beautifully written, Galit – as always.

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Oh yes you do friend! I just got an e-mail from her saying she’ll deal with you in the morning! LOL

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Alison, hi! I LOVE that word “gracious!” And secretly? I LOVE that your sweet comment is followed up with your porn star post! LOL Thanks, as always, lady! :)

Alison Golden 5 years ago

You are right, Galit. It is gracious to respect and acknowledge all the different holidays. Simply gracious.

Jack 5 years ago

She is still frozen from her trip to Chicago so I have nothing to fear.

Galit Breen 5 years ago

So there right back at you lady! & Happy holidays, too! :) xo

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Jack, I’m just going to go ahead and leave this one to Frume Sarah. (Be very afraid young man!!) :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Ohmyfreakinggod, ASuburbanLife: *that* is priceless! Many, many non-Jewish families attend our Jewish preschool, too, and I can only imagine the convos that are happening all over town Sunday mornings! :) Thanks so much for your note! :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Hi Tiffany, thanks so much for weighing in! & you know what? Maybe none of us need to think *too* much about it? I’ll send *both* wishes your way! :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

ROBIN! Amen, right back at ya, lady! I miss you!! Off to see your beautiful pics! :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Veronica, hi! Thanks so much for your note and for that link! It sounds totally & completely up my alley! :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Hi (again!) Nina! Thanks for your note. I think we’re all speaking the same language about respect and not taking offense at well wishes.

And as for the “in the schools” biz- I never approached it as let’s talk religion- my biggy, for yours. More like this time of year *is* exciting in many of our households and let’s share how & learn from each other. I don;t think that many of us would have had the chance to learn most of what we did otherwise.

And, for the record, candy sukkahs? *Genius!*

Lets just face it,

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Monica, I *do* know what you mean! And I really do think that *most* people would think that’s completely ridiculous! Respect goes both ways, for sure! Thanks again for your words! :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

CRAZY! Kidding, so totally & completely kidding! I think what it comes down to is that we’re all there, lady! :)

Amie 5 years ago

I’m Jewish in a family full of Southern Baptists. I get bombarded with Merry Christmas. I swear sometimes that they’re completely oblivious to the fact that Hanukkah exists.

Scary Mommy 5 years ago

I’m Jewish and I used to resent being wished a Merry Christmas- I found it slightly offensive and preferred Happy Holidays.

Flash forward to a few years ago. We were living in Tennessee and were among a handful of Jewish families. I decided to get on board with the whole Merry Christmas thing and even started using it myself. At the market, I wished the checkout clerk a Merry Christmas and she snapped back, I’m Jewish. Not everyone celebrates Christmas!

So, there. Happy Holidays it is.

Jack 5 years ago

Ya know, back in the old country my zaide said that they had this great tradition around this time of year. The Cossacks would chase you from your home and you would run into the fields.

It was a great way to get into shape or to get beaten up.

Ok, I’ll walk away and stop causing trouble before Frume Sarah beats me up. 😉

ASuburbanLife 5 years ago

Very very nice post. My youngest girls went to daycare at our neighborhood temple for several years, where they participated in Shabbat every Friday. So the first time they were old enough to walk into the Christmas service at our church under their own power, one of them stopped at the nativity scene and said, very loudly, “where’s the menorah?”

By the way, Happy Holidays can also encompass New Year’s Eve!

Monica 5 years ago

Jack, believe me…a LOT of us Christians ARE offended by the commercialism of the season and strive to minimize it in our homes. We, for example, only give the children 3 gifts each representing the gifts from the 3 wisemen to the baby Jesus. Happy Holidays!

Monica 5 years ago

A couple of years back Walmart and some other big-box stores told employees they were not allowed to say Merry Christmas anymore. It was all over the news. Thankfully, it only lasted a year because Walmart had its lowest sales in history due to an unofficial protest. A friend worked there during the “ban” and said that management had threatened to fire them if they said anything other than Happy Holidays. Crazy.

FWIW, I don’t care if an employee *chooses* to say Happy Holidays to me. Just don’t ban the ones who are comfortable saying Merry Christmas from doing so, you know?

Amie 5 years ago

You’re welcome! Thanks for the post. And I totally agree with what you just said. I too, will offer up the exact words IF I know they fit. If not, I go with a generic. But being a Jew and offering up a Happy Hanukkah to non-Jews because it’s what I practice or on non-Hanukkah days is just plain weird to me. Call me crazy. I just might be. :)

Tiffany @ Bloggy Moms 5 years ago

I guess I don’t think too much about it when I say “Happy Holidays”… I also say “Merry Christmas”. I grew up with Christmas and saying both greetings.

Robin from Israel 5 years ago

Amen!

PS Hi Galit! It’s been far too long since I’ve had the chance to visit your corner of blogland (or anyone else’s for that matter, I’m buried at work – send chocolate!).

———————————–
My photography is available for purchase – visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Jack, hi! I’m the exact same way- if I know it then I say it, if not then onward with the blanket “Happy Holidays” we go!

And RE: that coveted respectful middle ground? Amen, brother. Amen.

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Hi Nina, I think that we are saying the same thing: no need to be offended by well wishes. Thanks for the note!

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Pearl, hi! Thanks so much for your warm words. I agree that the “Happy Holidays” bit *is* PC. Like you, if I know I say it and if I don’t I guess I play it “safe.” & last but not least, LOL yes. Yes, I am spreading my wings! Thanks for the support and the words! They’re *all* much appreciated!

Nina Badzin 5 years ago

Hi MentalMom and Galit! So this is where I diverge. I think a problem this time of year and any time of year is how easily people get offended in the first place. 😉 Galit, I know you’re saying people shouldn’t be offended by Happy Holidays, and I agree. I just feel very strongly that nobody should be offended by Merry Christmas either. Maybe we’re all just saying the same thing over and over. 😉

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Right back ‘atcha, Mama and thanks so much for the note!

Nina Badzin 5 years ago

Hi Galit! Wonderful piece and as always you’ve conveyed your warmth well.

I think you know by now (from my internet rantings this week 😉 ) that I’m in the pro “Merry Christmas” camp in most instances (even as a very committed Jew). As for holidays in the schools . . . I’m not 100% sure where I stand there. Maybe if teachers are going to do everyone’s big holidays, then I’d rather see a discussion of Judaism in September when we have our biggies. Maybe a parent can come in to make candy sukkahs or something like that rather than latkes in December. Is that totally crazy? Probably! But it’d be fun to see how it goes!

Anyway, it was nice being on http://www.tcjewfolk.com together this week! :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

And, *I* see things Exactly. Like. You! Thank you for the note, and the words, lady! Both are very much appreciated! :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Your words? Are pure genius! I think they could stand as a post all on their own. Thank you for them. And (obviously!) I agree! :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

A-freakin-men! :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Hi Monica! Thanks so much for your note! I’ve *never* heard of that- it’s awful! I wonder if it’s easier to remember or just becomes habit to say Happy Holidays? Who am I kidding? I don’t have a reason! I hate the thought of anyone getting fired (well, ever really) but especially over words that are meant to be kind! I’m really glad that you weighed in here and shared that!

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Carolyn, hi! I so *love* that you were in there making latkes! I bet it made the whole place smell divine! I’m sorry about the experience that you had with the other parent. Kind of puts a damper on what should have been a great moment. For the record, I’m pretty sure most other parents would have just dug in! Thanks so much for your note, lady! I really appreciate it! :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Hi Kim! Thank you for your kind words. I *love* the learning from each other when given the opportunity, too! &, as always, HUGS right back at you! :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Well wasn’t that just a nice, sweet comment?! So here’s a nice, sweet THANK YOU! (& P.S. I seriously *LOVE* your blog name!!)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

@MamaS & Amie- Hmm..I’m kind of with Amie here. If I know what you celebrate then I’ll wish you that (Merry Christmas, by the way!). If I’m not sure than I’ll go with a more bland offering. And for the record: I appreciate you regardless! Thank you BOTH for your words!

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Grace, oh Grace! Thank you! You bet I’ll remember that *little* detail next time! Word choice: FAIL! Thanks for telling me lady! :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Sara, lol! You *do* have some time and seriously bless you for having time to blog read (and comment!) when your babe is so little! I was such a mess in those early days!

You should know that you made me tear up w/ your words about teaching your son. That’s *so* making the world a better place. For real!

Thanks for your note, Mama!

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Diane, thank you so much for your words! They’re so eloquent! I need to go read your piece. And I have to say that I don;t think anyone should have anything taken from their celebrations- they’re all amazing! The Jewish mom in me wants to feed you to make it better. Peppermint hot chocolate maybe? :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

@ JustMom- *SO* not ignorant! You asked! How else are we supposed to learn?!

& Diane- Thank you for explaining things so well. From what i understood this one was a biggy, following a fast.

Love that this whole convo just happened, btw! My diversity-lovin’-soul is in heaven!

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Dawn, I can;t wait to read your post and seriously! Hot chocolate or latte?! Thanks so much for the note, lady!

Galit Breen 5 years ago

AMEN ladies! And Happy Flag Day to both of you! :)

Pearl 5 years ago

Galit, so nice to see you spreading your wings and writing elsewhere. Your words are welcome wherever!

My family always got “Merry Christmas” cards from my parents’ customers and non-Jewish friends. Although they said X-mas, they never showed anything “religious” like Baby Jesus or Mary. They all had warm and friendly snow scenes or family scenes. I think that over time many of those cards tried to become more politically correct and were replaced by “Happy Holidays” cards.

If I know for sure that someone observes X-mas, I’ll wish them that; if not, I’ll say Happy Holidays, just to play it safe.
I think “holidays” is good because it takes into account the entire “holiday” season that takes place in December and moves into January with New Year’s.

So, Galit, happy belated Chanukah, and Happy Holidays to you and your clan!

Artemis Clover: The real L.A. love story. 5 years ago

YAY i love Minnesota Mamaleh!!! so nice to see you on scary mommy and i loved reading your holiday post!! i still keep up with your weekly column and enjoy reading it very much. happy holidays to you and enjoy the rest of your week!!!! <3

Lois 5 years ago

What a wonderfully written post! I totally agree with you and wish that more people could be as open as you are. Learning from each other doesn’t put your own beliefs at risk, it expands and deepens them. (At least, that’s how I see things.)

Jack 5 years ago

I don’t mind saying Merry Christmas to people that I know are Christian. But I tend to say Happy Holidays because it is more inclusive.

And I do get fired up by people who claim that I am hurting their holiday by not just issuing the blanket Merry Christmas to all.

Frankly if I were Christian I would be offended by the commercialism of the holiday.

At the moment we live in a very angry and at times intolerant world. It concerns me. There has to be more middle ground than we currently see.

MentalMom 5 years ago

I loved this post! Society gets so uppity about some of the most minor things. People get mad when others judge by appearance, but really, isn’t that what they are asking us to do? Somehow everyone is supposed to automatically know what holidays people celebrate.
Like you said, I don’t want to assume anything about anyone especially when it comes to faith. Obviously, I wouldn’t want to offend anyone if I guessed the wrong holiday so an all inclusive greeting is neccessary.
Also, when I say “Happy Holidays” I really mean it. Everyone should get a chance to learn more about others celebrations. This time of year is magic no matter what your background is and that in itself is beautiful. That is why our christmas cards this year read: “Enjoy the magic of the season”.

Jennifer 5 years ago

I think it is important to appreciate and respect differences. I mean, if we were all the same life would just be so boring.

Carolyn (temysmom) 5 years ago

As a fellow Jew, I so appreciate this post. I completely agree that a simple “Happy Holidays” is NOT about dissing Christmas, but about letting the rest of us in to participate in the joy of the holiday season.

I work every week in my daughter’s kindergarten class and when I was there making latkes for the kids, there was another parent there who just kept repeating, “I don’t celebrate Chanukah” to the kids, like it was a bad thing or like he didn’t want to be known as Jewish. THAT offended me. All we were trying to do was TEACH the kids about other customs and holidays – we weren’t preaching religion. The kindergarten teacher happens to be Jewish… the only one in the school that actually DOES something for Chanukah.

Amie 5 years ago

Wishing you Happy Hanukkah doesn’t make sense to me though. And maybe it’s just me. Hanukkah isn’t on the same, fixed day every year. So why would I wish someone that after the time period?

Megan (Best of Fates) 5 years ago

I love when people write belief posts for the society – always so informing and thought-provoking.

Monica 5 years ago

I totally agree with you in that I am never offended, as a Christian, if someone in passing wishes me Happy Holidays.

What DOES offend me is when shopping establishments FORBID their employees from wishing me a Merry Christmas. If I come up the checkout counter with $200 worth of toys, wrapping paper, and Christmas Cards the employee should be allowed to wish me a Merry Christmas if they so choose without fear of getting fired. Especially at this time of year when Hanukah is over – it is pretty obvious what holiday I am preparing for.

And, lets be honest, those same shopping establishments wait ALL YEAR LONG for the christians to come out in droves for the biggest shopping spree of the year which brings their bottom line back into the black. Give me my “Merry Christmas” when I checkout for goodness sake LOL!

Kim 5 years ago

Galit: so beautiful to see you here on Jill’s site! I never like to assume anything and honestly, I’ve always been bothered by the fact that certain holidays seem to trump others in this society – because of what we make of them. And I particularly get concerned for children who might feel left out in schools. I like to ask people I come to know what their tradition is but if I don’t know, I usually use “Happy Holidays” because I don’t think most people are offended by that. In general,I agree with your sentiments Galit and you expressed them very well. Hugs!

Sara 5 years ago

This is a great way to summarize the holiday season. It really should be all about inclusion rather than a narrow definition of what a holiday *should* be. I really enjoyed reading this!

I also really like how you celebrated different holidays in your classroom. I don’t remember ever learning about other holidays in school, and that makes me sad. It inspires me to really ensure that my son is exposed to different cultures when he gets older (he’s only 3mo now, so I think I have some time).

Krista 5 years ago

I agree with Tiffany 100% and would have commented it myself if she didn’t say it for me. I just like seeing people being nice to each other, slowing down for half a second to give someone a holiday greeting. I don’t care if it’s Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings, or Happy Weekend.

JustMom420zaks 5 years ago

Happy ChrismHannaKwanzakah to everyone!
I feel ignorant. What is Eid?

Tiffany 5 years ago

This is an issue I find it difficult to get worked up over. When I was going through my anti-organized-religion phase, I resented any mention of God or Christmas (because it contains the word “Christ!” OH NO!), but now, I am just happy to see people being NICE to each other. I can appreciate the sentiment even if someone isn’t being all-inclusive. I figure that we’ll all wish people a happy whatever-we-happen-to-celebrate. Christmas is a national holiday in the US, so we could also consider that saying “Merry Christmas” is akin to saying “Happy Flag Day”! :)

Momma S 5 years ago

I think I would appreciate you more if you wished me a Happy Hanukah instead. I don’t take it as assuming; it’s an opportunity to learn more and appreciate you better.

As a Christian celebrating Christmas I relish the opportunity to teach my kids about the diversity in our world. Not to shun, but embrace.

I don’t like Happy Holidays because it’s so bland. If you’re Christian tell me Merry Christmas; Jewish, Happy Hanukah; Atheist, Bah Humbug; etc.

So if we ever pass each other on the street, I hope you wish me a Happy Hanukah and I’ll wish you a Merry Christmas and we’ll both know that all the best was wished, but in our own special ways. And I’ll appreciate you more for it.

grace 5 years ago

Love this article and agree whole-heartedly. But the next time the expression pops up, I thought you should know that it’s “intents and purposes”, not “extensive purposes.” :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Mary! You’re here! YIPPEE! I’m with you 100%- whatever is being said it’s meant in a GOOD way!

As for the church and state- I think that the fact that we have that term means that many feel that ideally it would be separate. BUT. But, do I daresay that’s just not realistic?

So the bonus of that “fact” is that we get to learn from each other about things that we might not otherwise have known. I think it’s so authentic to learn about your classmates/ students rather than not know anything about their traditions and make (sometimes wrong?) assumptions.

I think in both cases if we assume that people are coming from a good place- the outcome is good too. xo

Diane 5 years ago

Eid is actually a generic term for Holiday in Islam. They separate them based upon the words that come before or after. There is one around this same time of year for Muslims. I think it is the Eid-Al-Adha but not totally positive. A celebration feast. Different names throughout the world, too.

Galit Breen 5 years ago

hi there, lady! Thanks so much for the note! I actually think we *do* see eye-to-eye! I don’t take any offense- AT ALL- at being told Merry Christmas! I also don’t mean any offense when I say Happy Holidays and think it’s sad when people take offense to it.

What we don’t see eye-tyo-eye about is about having any religious holiday in the schools at all. But I’m okay with agreeing to disagree with you- you’re that great! :)

Diane 5 years ago

YAY!!! I wrote about the same thing a couple weeks ago. Truth is the “Merry Christmas” is why this tie of year makes me sad. In my area, they are all worried about “Christ being removed from Christmas”. When, really, I just want to be included. I have issues with all of this when a true “Christmas” should not have Santa, the lights or a tree. A lot of the people in my (rural) area only want to have their “Chistmas”. Sort of ruins the magic of this time of year for the rest of us.

Galit Breen 5 years ago

*Exactly!* Thank you, lady! Merry christmas to *you!* :)

Frume Sarah 5 years ago

I am so thrilled to see you grace the “pages” of Scary Mommy. Yasher koach!

This is one area that we do not see eye-to-eye. While not everyone in this country celebrates Christmas, the overwhelming majority do. Christmas is a big deal (for Christians) and its pervasive hold on our culture is what has catapulted Chanukah to its current overblown status.

When folks who are strangers (e.g. shopkeepers) wish me a “Merry Christmas,” they are doing it from a place of caring as well as being the socially-expected greeting for this season. I do expect my non-Jewish friends to know by now that we don’t do Christmas.

Though we do not agree, this is a well-written piece and I still adore you 😉

Dawn 5 years ago

Galit! How absolutely wonderful! I loved reading every word, and love your style.

I have a blog posting scheduled for Dec. 21st for the Chalk Blog about Christmas and the pace of it all.

Aside from the fact that we are both incredibly busy, we should totally be hanging out in our personal lives.

Elizabeth Flora Ross 5 years ago

I always say Happy Holidays and send holiday cards. I am Christian and celebrate Christmas, but have friends of many different faiths and try to respect that. But I end up offending people anyway, and get the “Keep CHRIST in Christmas” crap. I know what Christmas is all about. I just don’t expect everyone else to share my point of view!

Galit Breen 5 years ago

And Happy Holidays to both of you! :) xo

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Thank you! That means a lot to me. Truly. :)

Galit Breen 5 years ago

That *is* sad! For the record, I won;t be offended by your Merry Christmas if you’re not offended by my Happy Holidays? Deal? :) Thanks so much for the note!

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Amen, lady. Amen. Happy Holidays to you, too! (Do you celebrate Christmas? Then Merry Christmas! :))

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Right back atcha, Mama! Thank you for your kindness and your words!

Galit Breen 5 years ago

Aimee! Hooray! No one (and I do mean no one) coins words like you do! Chrismukkah? Pure genius! And I’m with you, sister, I really mean it when I say whatever it is I say back, too! :)

Mary Fretland 5 years ago

I have had a number of discussions on this very topic in just the last few days! It is so difficult to convey this sentiment to people who think anything but “Merry Christmas” is an affront on CHRISTmas. I get so frustrated! Some people don’t seem to understand that “Happy Holidays” is a well meaning greeting and not an insult. Sigh…

I do have a question about the separation of church and state. I can’t decide how I personally feel about it, so I welcome comments. Is it better to try to include EVERYONE in the discussions about holidays, or is it better to leave it out of the public schools all together? Can you ever be sure you’re included EVERYONE and that there isn’t a quiet child in the back of the classroom feeling left behind? But at the same time, is it realistic to think you can ignore it all?

Sara Plays House 5 years ago

Could not agree more! Lovely post, as always, and it perfectly sums up my feelings at this, The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!
Happy Holidays to you, friend!

Victoria KP 5 years ago

Lovely post! Your classroom was very lucky indeed to have someone who valued their many traditions.

myevil3yearold 5 years ago

I enjoyed your perspective very much.

I have traditionally said “Merry Christmas.” This was not to offend or exclude anyone. I just grew up in a small town in the south and it was the norm.

It is sad but now I don’t say anything about the holidays to people. If I say “Happy Holidays” someone might get mad and if I say “Merry Christmas” someone might get mad. But, just like you said I am just wishing someone well wishes.

It just seems easier to not say anything which I agree is sad.

Erin 5 years ago

Perfectly written. I couldn’t agree more.
My favorite line…

“I truly believe that the issue isn’t about taking Christmas out of society. It’s about letting everyone else in.”

Thank you for bringing this to the table for discussion.

As always I am thankful for your beautiful words strung together to say so many things that I feel.
Happy Holidays to you, Galit!!!

Aimee @ Ain’t Yo Mama’s Blog 5 years ago

How lovely it is to see one of my favorite bloggers featured in the Scary Mommy Society! I heart Galit.

As someone who celebrates Chrismukkah, I always say (and appreciate in return) a blanket “Happy Holidays.” Sure, some people complain that it’s too “PC”, but I agree with you that’s it about inclusion. What’s so wrong with wanting to include everyone under the giant holiday umbrella?

People will surely wish me a “Merry Christmas” today, which certainly won’t offend me, but I will return it with “Happy Holidays”. And I’ll mean it, for whatever you may be celebrating.

-Aimee

30ish Mama 5 years ago

Great post Galit! The holiday season is about celebration and we should be able to celebrate each other as well our faith. There is nothing wrong with admiring somebody else’s religious holiday while enjoying your own. Happy Holidays!