Happy Chanukah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas, Happy Winter Solstice, or just plain ol’ Happy Holidays. Say any of the above to me around this time of year and I will feel a warm glow and be happy. Hand me a Peppermint-Mocha Latte with an extra shot of espresso, I will be happy as a lark no matter what cup it is served in. Sing Frosty the Snowman, Winter Wonderland or Ave Maria … I can appreciate any of the above so long as you don’t warble or squeak. Put a nativity scene, a pink flamingo or a Star of David in your yard … it’s cool. Celebrate the holidays in whatever way you wish, follow your family traditions, and spread good cheer and joy. About the only thing I am not okay with is spreading hate or judging others for the manner in which they choose to celebrate. Christmas is no longer only a Christian holiday, if ever it was. I have Muslim friends as well as Jewish friends who celebrate Christmas complete with decorated tree, lighted windows and gifts. Yes, Christians celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th, though nobody knows when Christ was actually born, but December 25th is as good as any date. However, does that mean that others cannot celebrate the holiday also? Chanukah and Kwanzaa also fall right around this time, and as we all know, the “Christmas Season” lasts for some 7 weeks, from October 31st through December 25th! Isn’t the whole holiday thing supposed to be about sharing, caring, spreading joy, love, peace and goodwill toward men? Just under 71% of U.S. citizens identify with the Christian religion. So, the other 29% … should they be scorned for not repeating “Merry Christmas” to everyone they meet? Why can’t we all say “Shalom” (Hebrew for peace)? Why can’t we all say “Happy Holidays”? What does it matter what we say, so long as we say it with kindness and good intentions? And what the heck does it matter what the cup our java comes in looks like, so long as it is clean and doesn’t leak? Here is my challenge to us all for the next six weeks or so:
• Drink your coffee, buy an extra for somebody who doesn’t have one, and forget what the cup looks like
• Say whatever kind thing comes to mind, and thank anyone who wishes you peace and joy in whatever language
• Do something nice for someone every day
• Instead of spending so much money that you are in debt for the next six months, give of yourself, your time, your heart
• Have a great season, celebrate as you wish with friends and family, and let others do the same
Happy Holidays … Merry Christmas … Happy Chanukah!