November 4, 2015 2:00 pm
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As the holiday season approaches, it’s time to finally put that “War on Christmas” nonsense to rest. Historically, Christmas is a time when soldiers have laid down their weapons. Given Christ’s reputation, I doubt he would be happy about declaring war in his name concerning the day you celebrate his birth.

I have always had many friends with religious beliefs that differ from my own. For years, with some of them, we have established acceptable practices for greetings during the holiday season. It goes something like this.

Them: “Merry Christmas!”
Me: “Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah!”
Them: “Happy Chanukah!”

Following this, there will be invitations to Christmas and Chanukah dinners, which is great since you end up with a stocking full of junk food, bags of chocolate money, a turkey dinner, and platefuls of latkes as well as other delicacies associated with a variety of other cultures. I’ve been witness to Christmas Carols sung at a Chanukah parties and the dreidel song being sung at a Christmas celebration. Neat thing is nobody got mad. Nobody seemed to be offended.


“It’s Christmas at Ground Zero
Just seconds left to go
I’ll duck and cover with my yuletide lover
Underneath the mistletoe”

-Weird Al Yankovic


Let me take you back to my childhood and perhaps the first time someone ever said “Merry Christmas” to me. It was that time of year and one of my neighborhood friends greeted me with this holiday welcome. Upon hearing this, I immediately pointed out that I was not Christian. “It doesn’t matter!” he exclaimed. “The greeting is a message of goodwill and peace. It doesn’t matter if you are Christian or not.” This actually made sense to me so I returned his greeting with “Happy Chanukah.” His response was “Now that’s just stupid,” as he walked away.

The irony in this is that Christianity claims the Old Testament as part of their religion as well as the New Testament. He expected me to accept a greeting that was in no way part of my religion but was offended by a greeting that technically was part of his. What I realized from this exchange is that he had made a very good point about holiday greetings until he behaved like a hypocritical asshole.

Today I have some friends that are greeted with “Happy Holidays” and some that are greeted with more specific holiday greeting exchanges. The rules of etiquette are as follows.

Informal Quick Greeting Example:

Greeter 1:  “Merry Christmas!”
Greeter 2: “Happy Kwanzaa!” (or perhaps “Heri za Kwanzaa!”)

Formal Holiday Greeting Example:

Greeter 1:  “Merry Christmas!”
Greeter 2: “Merry Christmas and a Happy Chanukah!”
Greeter 1: “Happy Chanukah!”

Extremely Informal:

Greeter 1 & 2: “Happy Festivus, for the rest of us!”

With the above greeting method, you not only convey a message of peace and well wishes, you show your support of the freedom of religion that the United States guarantees in its constitution. When you adopt this greeting method with your close friends, you are not only celebrating your religion, you are celebrating freedom. If you can’t accept a greeting that is not from your own belief system then it is not acceptable to say anything other than “Happy Holidays.”

There is a particular story in the bible that tells of the building of a tower and how this lead to the worlds population having many languages. Today, there are places many religions agree to be sacred and we’re killing each other fighting over some of them. You have to wonder if “different languages” was really meant to convey different ways of worship as well. To me, places like Jerusalem look like the ultimate test of mankind to see if we can learn how to share, but so far, it looks like we are still failing.

Santa SquirrelTry to remember back to when you were very young. Was there ever a time when something or some privilege was taken away from you for not sharing? This is why some of you have lost your holiday greeting privileges. Once you learn to be a more sharing, understanding individual, I’m sure your privileges will be restored. So, next time, if presented with the opportunity to participate in festivities that do not revolve around your own belief system, do so for a change. Recognize others right to the same religious freedom you enjoy. Share holiday wishes from a variety of religions and really promote some of that “peace on earth goodwill to men.”

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This post was written by Tom

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