Thursday, 24 November 2011

My Christmas Wish

I love Christmas. It's, hands down, my most favourite holiday. I love the lights, the music, the decorations, the candles, picking out presents for family and friends, writing cards, receiving cards (and finding out how friends and family have fared over the previous year), baking, and spending time with family and friends. I've got bins of candles and decorations. Each year I swear I'm going to wait until November 25th before I start decorating. Each year I cave about a week early.

But what I love the most about the holiday is the spirit. I love how this holiday brings everyone together no matter what their culture or religion. I'm sure there are people out there who hate the holiday but I have yet to met one. I've got coworkers who come to work one week with their hands decorated for Eid and the next week they're oohing over Christmas ornaments and which ones to get. I've got friends who go right from celebrating Hanukkah to stuffing stockings for the kids. Christmas is ingrained in our culture.

The only thing I hate about Christmas are the emails and messages determined to turn the holiday into an "us against them" situation. The mildest are the "show you're going to put the CHRIST into CHRISTmas" forwards and shares. I know Christians celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25... even though it wasn't the actual day of his birth. If someone wants to celebrate Christmas with minimal fuss and decorations, remembering Christ as their saviour, and attending church during their holiday, that is their choice and I respect it. What I don't respect is the underlying divisiveness. Show that you put Christ in Christmas (unlike some others). I thought it was part of the Christian religion to be meek and never boastful about your faith. To pray quietly and privately. Giant shout outs to prove who celebrates Christ the most seems neither meek or private.

The emails that bother me the most are the truly divisive ones that start off announcing they don't care who they offend and usually end with an "if you don't like this, move back to your own country". When on earth did prejudice and racism become part of Christmas?

I don't know anyone who refers to a Christmas tree as a Holiday tree. The emails go around constantly every holiday season yet the only time I've ever heard of a "holiday tree" was years ago in Toronto. And, from what I remember, it was a group of white Christians who were worried they might offend others if they called it a Christmas tree (despite the tree standing without complaint for years).

I know that some schools have Holiday or Winter Concerts instead of Christmas Concerts. Our elementary school was very multi-cultural and had a Winter Concert. We still had a bunch of kindergarten kids singing "Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer" (if they weren't talking to each other, waving at family, or picking their noses), grade one kids singing "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" and grade two kids singing "I'm getting nutting for Christmas". Somewhere, I think there's a law stating those three songs are mandatory in concerts. I've heard that some schools don't allow any Christmas carols at all in the concerts. I think that's a shame. A winter concert should have songs from all sorts of cultures... and that includes Christmas carols.

As for people who look at advertisements to *prove* Christmas is turning into a generic holiday season... just pardon me while I laugh for a minute...

... okay... advertisements are written by people who want to sell products. They don't really care who's buying the product. They don't care if you're buying that doll as a Christmas present or a Hanukkah gift or for Kwanzaa... they just want the darn thing sold. I spent years teaching my kids not to look to advertising for facts, only to find out there's adults who look at Wal-Mart ads to find proof of how their holiday is celebrated.

And then there's the people who believe they own Christmas and list demands of who is allowed and not allowed to celebrate *their* holiday. How on earth could my tree, stockings, and decorations offend anyone? Scroll up... do they look horribly offensive?

So my biggest wish this holiday season is for my friends to celebrate which ever holiday (or holidays) they choose and to have a great time. Spend time with the people you care about... show them you love them... and stop frigging worrying about whether everyone else is celebrating the same way as you. Let them celebrate the way they want. I assure you that your own holidays will be a lot more enjoyable.

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