Thursday, December 22, 2005

Happy Holidays 

I've been trying really hard not to pay attention to the recent U.S. controversy over using saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas but it's really starting to irk me.

First of all, let's set the record straight, most of us say "happy holidays" because there is another important holiday during this period: New Years. We are celebrating the holiday season which runs as far back as Thanksgiving through Christmas and onto New Years (and for me the Italian holiday of Feast of the 3 Kings on January 6 and for others their own holiday traditions).

Second of all, there is not some grand conspiracy to eradicate Christmas. It is still completely in your face in the states (something I've really noticed this year by spending the holiday away).

Whether we take this season as a time to celebrate the birth of Christ or just spend good quality time with our families, Christmas is alive and well. Frankly, this controversy will do more to turn people off of Christmas than a little "Happy Holidays" greeting ever would.

I've got to give the Jordanians credit on this front. For an Islamic Country, they do Christmas with class. The whole country gets Christmas day off. All the supermarkets and hotels put up big, decorative christmas trees, and Christians go to church, have nice dinners and spend all day visiting different family members and drinking wine together. Even many non-Christians get into the spirit. For example, my office had a "holiday party" to celebrate the whole season and even played some Christmas tunes.

Let's not forget that the U.S. is a diverse country and that is something we should be proud of (it has certainly been a source of pride for me living over here). Just like the Arabs respect the Christians during their holiday, American Christians can respect that everyone does the holiday season a bit differently.

I don't even know why I have wasted my time giving this debate credibility, but it's clear that the tolerance of Xenophobic and Totalitarian ideas are thriving again under the banner of fear and it's scary to think about what has happens historically when this kind of thinking goes mainstream and largely unchallenged.


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