Friday, December 03, 2010

On Political Correctness During The Holidays

I love Facebook because I get to reach out to friends and family en masse and keep them abreast with my Island life.  Family who live ten hours away, get to see my toddler from afar as she grows and meets all her milestones.  Since they can't make it to the Island often, Facebook is a great way for them to keep up to date and for us to communicate on a regular basis.  Facebook is also the bane of my existence sometimes, as the written word can sometimes be misconstrued or taken out of context. This is especially true when it comes to opinions about parenting, breastfeeding, talking about the Leafs and the Canadiens, and being politically correct during the holidays.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think there is anything wrong about wishing people a Merry Christmas. After all, I celebrate Christmas. Christmas is my favourite time of the year. This said, I do send out "Holiday" cards. Not because I'm being "culturally sensitive" or trying to respect everyone's religion by not celebrating my own, but for the simple fact that I have a lot of friends from many different faiths. I don't want to exclude anyone when I send out our annual greetings. For my Christian and Catholic friends, I add a "Merry Christmas" in their note. For my Jewish friends, I write "Happy Hanukkah". You get the picture.

That's beside the point. I said I wrote all my "Holiday" cards, not meaning that I call them "Holiday cards", but that the cards themselves are written for all holidays observed by friends and family (Eid, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc). Did that make sense at all? To be honest, I'm a little lazy. I'd rather send out our annual family photo card and write a little note than buy separate cards for each holiday. Okay, I'm lazy and cheap...frugal...practical.

Wait. It gets better.

On my latest Facebook update, I wrote:

Light the menorah and celebrate the festival of lights :) For all those celebrating, wishing you a Happy Hanukkah and hope you have a week filled with light...and latkes! For the record, [insert amazing friend's real name here]'s Dad makes THE BEST latkes EVER!!!

Did I not get a private message from someone saying that I am not Jewish, so I "shouldn't be wishing anyone a Happy Hanukkah"?!? Uh huh! Oh, yes! It really did  happen! Does this mean that if someone is not Asian, they should not eat rice? If someone's not Italian, they should not eat lasagna? 

I love and respect my family and my friends. I respect everyone's religion, even if their religion is different from my own. If I want to wish someone a Merry Christmas, Happy, Hanukkah, Happy Eid, Happy Festivus, or whatever it is that person celebrates, then I will! 

For the record, I don't call ours a "Holiday tree" either. It's a Christmas tree.

What do you think? Is it okay to wish someone a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah even if you don't share the same religion?


Anonymous said...

That's sorta funny. I always hear about other Jews (I am Jewish, as I think you know) being offended by being wished a Merry Christmas, and here you have one being offended by being wished a Happy Hanukkah! Oh well, there is no pleasing everyone.

I generally do Holiday wishes, as well as doing Hanukkah shout outs to my Jewish friends, and Christmas shout outs to my Christian friends. I do not have friends of any other religions that I can think of...anyways, seems I do as you do. I don't usually do cards, but when I do, they are Seasons's Greetings or Happy Holidays, with personal messages.

Anyways, I am not one to get horribly offended if someone wishes me a Merry Christmas by mistake(I assume it was well intentioned), however I think it is nicer to wish someone a happy holiday for their holiday, no matter what you I think what you did was fine!

Carly said...

I think it is :) Then again I do not say anything anymore. I wished somebody a Merry Christmas and got yelled at for it at my old work place. I give up, I guess I will just have to be the Grinch even though I am beaming with holiday cheer. It was just a innocent Merry Christmas..

Frau Guten Tag said...

I think it's totally ok to wish them a happy Hanukkah even if you aren't Jewish & I think the person criticizing you for that is REALLY silly.

We are a bit stubborn, I must admit, & insist on sending out Christian Christmas cards & wishing people a "Merry Christmas". My hubby is very (& I'll admit I am too, though not quite as much as hubby) offended when people say "season's greetings", "happy holidays", or even "xmas".

Barbara said...

I think you should be able to wish anyone a happy anything you want! Who made up the rule that you have to be Jewish to wish someone a Happy Hanukkah? Craziness! It is thoughtful to spread happy wishes. Oh well, FB is crazy like that. Religion and politics are very tricky on FB. Silly if you ask me.

C said...

Pretty crazy :) I contemplated not wishing anyone a happy anything after that! ;) LOL! Just kidding :)
Thanks, Fancy. Your comments are always so rational! :) That sounded weird, but I think you know what I mean?

C said...

Ooooh. Can't believe you got yelled at :( Yuck. Funny how something so innocent (like a simple greeting) can bring out the "Bah! Humbug!" in some of us. It's not like people intentionally set out to offend when saying a holiday greeting. Actually, I've caught myself in the past year or so thinking before saying "Merry Christmas". It used to be something I'd automatically blurt out, but now I think twice before I phrase things. Odd. I don't know when that happened or how I started changing what I used to do/say.

caninecologne said...

hi c - i think it's fine to wish someone the holiday of their faith even if you are not of that faith. i wish my jewish students happy hannukah and they are pretty appreciative that i even remember! a few jewish students have even given me christmas cards and/or gifts.

i agree with your friend barbara too. :) some people also need to get sticks out of their collective asses and lighten up.

that being said, the word ver is:


J at said...

Oh god, I sure hope it's OK. I'm an atheist, and I celebrate Diwali, Hannukah, St. Nicholas Day, and Christmas. I send out Christmas Cards vs. Holiday Cards, because I don't think it's as much of a tradition in the other cultures. Not because I think Christmas is more important than the others.

I agree that wishing someone Happy Holidays is the best way to go...covers all bases. Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Diwali, Christmas, and New Year. It doesn't diminish Christmas for Christmas, but it makes room for others.

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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