“You eat what you like, I’ll eat what I like.” –Yukon Cornelius
This great quote from Yukon Cornelius is, of course, from the great classic Christmas TV show, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He announces it in response to being corrected by Hermey the elf when Yukon changes the well-known idiom to “Fog’s as thick as peanut butter.” (Hermey corrects him, “You mean pea soup.”)
Let’s apply that to the celebration of the holidays as well, shall we? “You celebrate the holidays how you like, I’ll celebrate how I like.”
As a Christian, I’m going to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Yes, I am aware that Christmas started out as a pagan holiday; that Christianity borrowed the symbols and traditions of the Romans and Celts, and adopted them as its own. I acknowledge that the tree, mistletoe, and gift-giving, have nothing to do with Jesus Christ and everything to do with festivals dedicated to celebrating the winter solstice. I recognize that December 25th is probably not the actual birthday of Christ.
Does it matter? Not to me.
It also doesn’t matter to me if you DON’T celebrate the same way I do. Maybe you’re an atheist. Maybe you’re Jewish. Or a Druid perhaps? Maybe you celebrate some aspects of Christmas and not others. Perhaps you celebrate an entirely different holiday: Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Festivus?
Maybe you partake in a festival to welcome the winter solstice, that glorious day of the year when our nearest star begins spending more time with us. (I think we can all rejoice in the longer days, am I right?)
That’s awesome. I appreciate the variety of holidays this time of year and the diverse ways that folks celebrate. Because there is no wrong way to celebrate this warm and loving time of year.
And just as it doesn’t matter to me how you celebrate, it shouldn’t matter to you how I celebrate. We’re all going to do things a little (or a lot) differently from each other because of our inherent uniqueness, and that’s OK. In fact, it’s better than OK.
Let’s share our celebrations with each other. Let’s learn about each other. Let’s not be offended or fearful because someone’s traditions are unlike ours.
I’m happy to share my beliefs and traditions with you. And I’m curious and excited to learn about yours as well.
Every person is a new door to a different world.
Tell me Happy Hanukkah. Wish me a Happy Kwanzaa. Or Happy Holidays. I’ll love you for it because I know that what you’re truly doing is wishing me well and extending your kindness. If I tell you “Merry Christmas,” take it as an extension of my kindness toward you.
The words don’t matter. The sentiment does.
Because isn’t that what this time of year is all about anyway? If you look at the base principles of any of the holidays that abound this time of year, they are all about love and compassion and kindness for one another. Celebrating the New Year. Light and happiness and joy and spending time with family and friends.
So, whether you’re lighting your Menorah, or celebrating the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa or erecting your Christmas tree, I wish all of you the very best this holiday season.