I awoke this morning to find a White Christmas had arrived, despite the weatherperson’s prediction. The view focused my thoughts on the holiday season. Just last week I was asked what holiday I celebrated, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, Diwali? It was a perfectly legitimate question. The person asking, who did not know me well, was negotiating her way around the enforced political correctness of the second decade of the 21st century. I found myself dodging the question, answering with “I’m an equal opportunity celebrant.”
Truth be told, I celebrate Christmas. I have come to resent Happy Holidays and any other generic, greeting designed not to offend. I am offended. I’m offended that my Jewish friends can’t wish me Happy Hanukkah or Hindi friends can’t wish me best wishes for Diwali. To my mind it is especially rude if the wishes delivered as they were meant – a blessing on my head – are found offensive by someone who doesn’t believe as the wisher does.
I am female. I have lived the marginalization of language: Using the masculine pronoun only when speaking of doctors for example. Life has improved for all women by making language inclusive. But not allowing people of different faiths and beliefs to wish their friends and neighbours the best in the language that reflects their beliefs – that is wrong. Just plain wrong.
My Christmas wish this year, is that you can wish whomever you want the blessings of your faith without anyone taking offense. I wish that the kindness in your heart is embraced gladly in the manner in which it was intended – not to convert, but to wish you the best of who we are.