Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happy Hanukkah

I am a Christian. And all this "Happy Holiday" crap at the grocery store gets under my skin: life is too damn short for unrealistic political correctness and living in fear of offending everybody. Just last week I saw the phrase "Merry Christmas" at my local Target and did a little happy holiday dance.

No pun intended.

We live in the Home of the Free and the Land of the Brave, and I'm proud of that. Sure this current nation of America was founded by Christians, but we were also born of a need for a place where we could all worship whomever and whatever in whatever manner we wish. And this land on which we live has been occupied by countless religions over the centuries, waaaay before Europeans came along. I'm glad everybody is free to worship as they please, but there's no way we can make everybody happy all the time. Maybe it's easy for me to say that, as I believe one of the most popular religions of my locale.

Religion is kind of like a wedding: somebody's feelings are going to get hurt, and usually it's the unreasonable great-great-aunt who takes life way too seriously.

Having said that, obviously I am not the most culturally sensitive person around. I remember working at the jewelry store in college - around the holidays I would always cheerily wish Paul and Saul, our diamond merchants from New York, "Merry Christmas!" simply out of habit and the desire to wish them a seasonally-appropriate pleasant day. To which they would grin and reply, "Happy Hanukkah!" I would cringe at and apologize for my own faux pas, learn my lesson, and move on.

I order our Christmas cards sometime in late October to be sure they have plenty of time for printing. They have Christian motifs all over them and always include a Bible scripture, usually from the Gospel. That's what makes me comfortable and happy, and I want to spread that joy to family and friends who I know share our beliefs.

But we also have good friends who are Jewish. That's their religion, and I'm so glad they find joy in it. I didn't want to shove my personal religion down their throats, so I figured surely, with all this political correctness around, I could find some Happy Hanukkah cards at the grocery store.

I thought wrong.

Do you know there isn't the first Hanukkah card in our personal bustling metropolis in the Bible Belt of Mississippi? I spent FOUR HOURS looking for something acceptable. No Happy Holiday cards either!!! I had to settle for the most lame card imaginable: Happy New Year. Ugh. I'm embarrassed even admitting that I sent those out.

But I turn the corner in our Kroger and see Menorah paper plates, disposable cups, and napkins.


Could somebody please explain that to me?

So if I want to send our Jewish friends some holiday cheer, I have to either special order or wrap up a PAPER PLATE and send it in the mail?!? Let's take it a step further: I have a deep respect for our religious symbols, and I'm just not sure how comfortable I would be eating off a paper plate or wiping my mouth on a napkin that has a Cross on it.

I don't mean to offend anybody with this post. To break it down: I'm Christian. Yay other religions. I don't understand holiday marketing.

Photo courtesy of Kumah.org.


Unknown said...

I was at a Christmas party this weekend and someone brought Hanukkah cookies. Being the cheeky little monkey that I am, I checked to see if they were certified kosher. They weren't. Target usually has a nice selection of Hanukkah stuff.

Anonymous said...

It's my understanding that Hanukkah isn't really a major holiday on the Jewish calendar. It gets inflated in the media because it is so close to Christmas, as if everybody needs a big ol' December holiday. Personally, I'd love to be greeted with a "happy ___," according the speaker's religion.

I had a Hindu friend who invited me and a bunch of other Christians over for a religious celebration because it was customary for her to invite lots of visitors, and almost all her friends in America were Christians. She explained the religious meaning of the festival and then fed us POUNDS of fabulous food. It was delightful. Wish we were all so comfortable in our own skins as she is.



Katy Agnew said...

I agree with you 250%! Merry Everything!

L said...

Check at your local Hallmark store. They usually have a great selection for all religious backgrounds, including Hannukah and Kwanza.

Kim Borkert said...

You are right, we all need to chill. Why is it that we need a winter holiday to make us feel goodwill toward mankind? Why don't we just care about others and respect them as individuals with personal beliefs year-round?
Loved your overly-serious great great aunt reference. Everybody's got one of those.


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