For the past few weeks, I’ve come across a lot of debate over what greeting we should use during this time. The contenders are: “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays” and the absolutely passive “Cheers”. People have been tip-toeing around the holiday as if saying the word would be uttering a curse that your mama would not approve of. That’s right, I’m referring to the big “C”: Christmas!
While Canada prides itself on being diverse by being accepting of all religions and cultures, it seems that there’s been a shift towards not acknowledging Christmas on the basis of being politically correct and instead referring to it as this vague “holiday”. Just as a simple observation, most stores, banks and facilities are decorated in Christmas swag: Santa Clause, Christmas trees, reindeer and the works. These are all items and personalities that are associated with Christmas, not Hanukkah, not Ramadan, not Kwanzaa or any other holiday. During the month of Ramadan, I certainly don’t greet people with “Happy Holidays”. It’s “Ramadan Kareem” and people who do not participate in Ramadan greet me in that way as well, or the hesitant greeting usually extending the last few letters making it a question: “Happy Ramadaaan…?”
City Halls have apparently dismantled Christmas trees and some have banned Christmas street parades. Who died and let the Grinch be boss? While I absolutely believe that we have a lot of work to be done in terms of genuinely being inclusive of everyone—culturally, socially, and politically—I’ve seen the Chinese New Year Parades, the Diwali shows, the Ramadan mentions. Yet, for some reason we can’t celebrate Christmas in the hopes of being “politically correct”? Aren’t we only excluding a group by attempting to include another group? In fact, we should all oppose taking down the tree and demand that for every upcoming holiday, City Halls deck out the buildings in decorations associated with the celebration. Festive year round!
As someone that does not celebrate Christmas, (and no, I do not have a “holiday” tree nor lights up in my house), I can tell you that I rather enjoy the season. I sing along to Last Christmas, I bake Christmas cookies, I attend Christmas themed events and you better believe I’ll be catching the Home Alone marathons. While I don’t subscribe to the religious background of it, I respect those who do and I absolutely wish them merriment and happiness during this time.
Not to use clichés, but unity does not mean uniformity. While this season does include Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, giving each celebration its due respect is essential to creating a cultural space of inclusivity and diversity.
Enough with the “Bah! Humbuggin'” and a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Joyous Kwanzaa to you all.