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Home > Blog > Merry Christmas
Out of Our Minds
Friday, December 24, 2004 1:07 PM
Merry Christmas
David Weinberger on Culture

I'm a Jew. I like saying 'Merry Christmas' to Christians. I actually don't like it when people say it to me. I don't say anything about it because I'm a nice boy, but the muttering part of my brain says, 'We're not all Christians, you know.'

So, to you Christians I say a hearty, 'Merry Christmas to your entire mispochah.'


13 comments

Christian - 12/30/2004 5:54:20 PM
I'm a non-practicing Catholic who married a Jewish girl. I find myself, almost entirely surrounded by a circle of Jewish friends who have no problem cracking Jewish jokes amongst themselves. But if I, inadvertently, wish a Jew a Merry Christmas, all hell breaks out!!! To me Christmas is not necessarily a religious event as much as a state of mind. I long for a peaceful Norman Rockwell Christmas with snow, a fireplace and good friends. I fear that it is best to never wish anyone Merry Christmas ever again and simply replace that with the boring politically correct Happy Holidays? This world has become so cautious and concerned of offending that I fear it will have the opposite affect.

Happy Holidays!
Eric Rice - 12/29/2004 1:28:56 PM
And if you're not Christian (nor Jewish), yet celebrate Christmas (and say it), what happens them?

Or do we resign ourselves to the fact that the 'Merry Chrismahannakwanzaa' is only funny because it has come down to that level?
Frank Paynter - 12/28/2004 5:58:14 PM
I am generally sensitive to seasonal so-whatism of the type Dr. Weinberger shares with us above. Since I lack any personal attachment to Jesus of Nazareth and the stories surrounding his birth, yet retain a fondness for the seasonal celebration, I hope I can be forgiven my observation that Dr. Weinberger himself has a very seasonal sounding blog...

Johoho... jolly blogidaze!
Reg Cæsar - 12/28/2004 1:42:53 AM
A few years ago there were some young Lubavitchers living in my apartment complex. One December night they wished me a happy Hanukkah as I walked past their door. Fine with me. But then some doubt arose, as they asked me 'Are you Jewish?' (I've been known to pass.) 'Well, no...' I replied, and was tempted to add '...but I'll take the Happy Hanukkah regardless!'

It reminded me of the old joke where the gas station attendant asks an old couple who've just driven up to the pump: 'Juice?' The driver replies, 'So vut if ve are? Don't ve get no ges?' Well, don't I get a happy Hanukkah, too?

(Also, I hope your blogware doesn't do to my ligature what it did to Mr. MartÃÂúÂÂúnez's accent.)

David Weinberger - 12/27/2004 11:29:00 AM
If you want to wish me joy, happiness and a peaceful new year, I thank you for it and wish the same for you. But hoping that I have a merry Christmas is like my hoping you have a truly penitential Yom Kippur; it assumes you are of a particular religion. Especially when a significant part of the electorate thinks that this is obviously a Christian country, it'd be nice to honor our differences. (Christians are not in a symmetrical relationship with people of other religions in this country.) So, I hope my Christian friends had a joyous Christmas - it seems like a wonderful family celebration - and that we all have a happy and peaceful new year. (BTW, Chanukkah was ok this year, as always, but it's not a big deal holiday.)

I repeat: Getting Christmas wishes isn't a big deal to me. Not even worth mentioning to the well-wisher because I know s/he intends to be pleasant by including me in Christmas' warm embrace. But, it's worth mentioning in a blog. IMO.
Kevin - 12/26/2004 9:57:15 AM
Next year will be REALLY interesting: The first night of Hanukkah is Dec. 25! That ought to mess with Weinberger's head, right David?

And thanks for introducing us to that great Yiddish website. Now, we can drop cool phrases till we plotz.
Jo Ann - 12/25/2004 3:25:45 PM
The phrase 'happy holidays'
was something that emerged
in the Nixon era. This
era also did not have a
death penalty in the US.

I am becoming nostalgic
for the Nixon era. We
are indeed moving backwards!

Peace, and thanks for all your
efforts
Jo Ann
sam - 12/24/2004 10:38:50 PM
merry christmas to you...whine all you want. maybe there is a more PC way to say happy holidays too? i don't like the word holidays, it segregates all of us who don't celebrate anything. i hide in a hole and mutter about like a wretched, miserable chump while real things happen all around me. from one human to another, 'grow up'
Mark Sicignano - 12/24/2004 6:33:08 PM
Kath said:

>it’s all about sending out good wishes and good karma…

Well, I guess if you're a Buddhist, but should you send good karma to a Christian or Jew? They might be offended. :-)
Kath - 12/24/2004 5:35:25 PM
As a former Catholic, current Jew I love saying Merry Christmas to everyone and anyone...and love having it said to me...it's all about sending out good wishes and good karma...the operative word here being 'good'.

What means the absolute most to me, however, is when my 100% Catholic family wishes me Happy Hanukkah. It took them all awhile to come to grips with me 'no longer being Catholic'. But now, it's all good! Again, operative word being 'good' :-)
Dave - 12/24/2004 5:21:39 PM
You choose to get offended when I say 'Merry Christmas' to you - even though I'm trying my best to wish you goodtidings and happiness during this time of year.

And I choose to get offended by your pious way of telling me how to act - even though you feel you somehow know why I choose to say the things I do.

I guess we're even. Except that we aren't, my dear sir. Because you see, if your words offennd me - it's only because I let them. And I refuse to let that happen. I refuse to let a grinch such as you steal my Christmas from me.

Who's being more close-minded here? Me? One who might cross some line because I choose to wish you happiness in your life? Or you? Because you have decided to (yet again) lecture me about my sins against you?

You posted about how - and I quote - you keep quiet because you're a good boy. Yet have you? I read your post... I read your words... and they end up coming off to me like someone who has no clue as to what I really have meant when I wish:

Merry Christmas. Peace to you all!
Juan Pablo Martí­nez - 12/24/2004 4:44:38 PM
I see your point, and I understand you, but I can't agree with you. Though I'm not jew strictu sensu, I have a close vision and spirituality of jews; two of my brothers and my sister are jew, because their mother is, and I've been raised with them sharing their religion.

I remember a Christmas many years ago, when a kid from town came to our house and said 'Merry Christmas!'. We kids answered 'But we are jews!'. My brothers' and sister's mother then told us 'It doesn't matter if he says Christmas, Hannukah, or wathever. He's wishing us joy, peace, happines, and that's the important.' Needless is to say that I keep those words, and I live by the lesson she gave us that day.

So to you, and I don't mean any offense, 'Merry Christmas!', and a 'Happy Hanukkah!', and also a 'Happy Kwanzaa!'. I also wish you joy and happiness in every language and a happy sacred time for every religion I don't know!
Mark Sicignano - 12/24/2004 3:36:51 PM
Happy whatever to all of you!

I've enjoyed the life lessons I've seen in this journal thoughout the year.

The CEO in my last company was talking about the 'Christmas Lunch' and the HR person said, 'Did you mean the *Holiday* party' since not everybody here celebrates Christmas?

With a sneer he said, 'No, I'm having a Christmas Lunch. *I* am celebrating Christmas'.

I kid you not! It was typical of his 'my way or the highway' style of dictatorial rule.

In the meantime, I've found my internal compass and have gone on to pursue a happier work experience and I feel much better.

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