‘Tis the season for being broke! No but really, my bank account has seen better days. If only I could crochet, or sew, or something useful that would allow me to make all my gifts… Alas, I cannot, and even if I could I think my family would only pretend to enjoy my so called “talent”, and would proceed to stuff the wonky scarves and plate holders in the nearest top shelf of a closet.
I’m not too worried about offending someone with my sub par knitting abilities. What I worried about (even if it was just for a minute) was if I would offend someone by wishing them a Merry Christmas.
A little bit of background: I am from Portugal, and like most Portuguese people I’m Catholic. We celebrate Christmas, we go to church (some of us should really go more, cough cough) and we open presents on the 24th of December at midnight. Never before have I had to worry about wishing someone a Merry Christmas….until I moved to the US.
I have friends from pretty much every ethnic and religious background. The other day, I said Merry Christmas to one of them and they very bluntly (and quite rudely) pointed out that they are Jewish and do not celebrate Christmas, and that it’s easier to say Happy Holidays instead.
I felt really bad for about a minute… and then I realized: why should I wish someone Happy Holidays, when I celebrate Christmas, and always have? It may sound selfish, but stay with me. I respect any and all religions and traditions. I respect their customs and their beliefs, and several times I’ve been to synagogue with Jewish friends, and prayed in Quaker meeting houses. So why should I feel bad that I am sharing my beliefs with someone?
If someone said Happy Hanukkah to me, I would smile back and respond with a “happy hanukkah to you too!”. Joyous Kwanzaa? Hey, whatever floats your boat! Joyous Kwanzaa to everybody! If it works for you then it works for me.
But to change the way in which I celebrate this time of the year to appease everyone else’s preferences… Well, that I just won’t do. There are too many instances in my life where I try to please everyone, and I’m determined to not make this one of them.
That being said, I think everyone celebrates the holidays differently, and that should be appreciated rather than scrutinized. I don’t care what religion you are and how you choose to spend these next couple of days. What matters is that you spend time with family and realize how fortunate you are to have certain people in your life. Oh, and desserts too.
So don’t be afraid to say Merry Christmas :)