By Robin P.
Over the past few years, there has been a lot of emphasis on being politically correct during the holidays. Last year was the first time I heard that "Merry Christmas" was no longer acceptable. It was replaced with, "Happy Holidays." I couldn't help but ask myself, "Is this the most important thing we have to worry about?"
As a child, the people who knew that I was Jewish wished me a "Happy Chanukah." If I was wished a "Merry Christmas" I didn't stomp my feet and point an accusing finger at the well wisher and say, "I don't celebrate Christmas" and walk away in a huff. I accepted their nice greeting and wished them the same in return.
Last year, there was a nearby school that banned students from wearing clothes with a red and green combination for their yearly holiday song festival. It was too "Christmasy" and might offend those who did not celebrate Christmas. The students could wear that color combo during the regular school year, but not during Christmas or during the concert. I laughed when I first heard that and then I wanted to cry.
What is wrong with this world? I like to wear blue and white during Chanukah and I proudly wear my Chanukah jewelry the whole eight days. I have menorah and dreidl earrings, and I have a beautiful blue Star of David pin. If someone told me I couldn't wear this because it was too offensive, I'd still wear it. Whatever happened to freedom of expression? Who is actually offended by this?
I also enjoy wearing my Christmas jewelry once Chanukah is over. My husband Rich isn't Jewish and I have celebrated Christmas with him and with our friends for many years. It's fun and gets people into the holiday spirit. Isn't that what this is all about?
We live in such a stress-filled world. We are all trying to do our best and we feel like we are falling short each day. When December rolls around, we try to get into a better frame of mind. We sing holiday songs. We decorate our homes. We give food and money to charities because we don't want people to go without. We think less about ourselves and more about others. It's a great feeling.
Instead of honking our horn in rage at a car that wants to pass us, we let them go ahead. We smile more. We love stronger. It's December and the holidays put us in a different mind set for a short time. It's uplifting and we should enjoy it.
Why, then, are we hung up on the holiday greeting? Why are we so quick to be offended? When someone wishes me a happy anything, I translate it this way: "I hope you spend this holiday with people who love you. I wish you joy and peace and I hope you can carry this in your heart the whole year through. Enjoy!"
That's a beautiful message and I hear it every time someone says,"Merry Christmas," "Happy Chanukah," "Happy Kwanzaa" or "Happy Holidays." I hear the same message in every greeting because I listen with my heart.
Robin P. lives with her husband and daughter in a suburb south of Boston.