We’re not religious/spiritual/churchgoing/believing kind of folk over at our maison, but we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas because, hey, the more one celebrates, the better your chances of being happy, right? And yeah, atheists can celebrate holidays without getting all bitter about the religious significance of it all. Alas, sometimes the opposite isn’t true. That is to say, there are many who can’t respect the perspectives of those who don’t believe in the religious aspect of these holidays, and use a lot of smoke and mirrors to gin up conflict in such a way that resentment becomes the mood of the season (See, “The War on Christmas”). Thankfully, most folks ignore the resentment and concentrate on being with their families and friends during the holidays.
Like I was saying, we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas, and since last night was a beginning of Hanukkah, we lit our Menorah, sang a little song, drank some wine (with my bother Steve) ate latkes and even had gifts (Mine, by the way, was the “expanded” DVD of Total Recall). It was all very nice. However, yesterday Julie went to the store to get candles and said: “You know, the amount of Hanukkah stuff at the store is minimal. Sure they had candles, but no cards or all the other stuff of the season. It was all Christmas.”
Now I know that Hanukkah is a minor holiday, but it’s become a major one in the U.S. because, well, we’re supposed to be a pluralistic society. But tolerance for pluralism is tested this time of year when there’s attitude like: “Oh yeah, it’s Hanukkah … What’s Kwanzaa about … Eid’ul-Adha … Boxing Day? WTF!” If you look at a calendar of holidays during this time of the year, there are quite a few that even many mainstream Christians don’t bother with. And, as an aside, look how Easter has receded into a kind of minor holiday status as Christmas becomes all important.
So this is a roundabout way of saying that when people say “Happy Holidays,” it’s not because they hate Christmas, perhaps it’s because they know that there are other events to celebrate during this time of year — like Julie’s birthday on 12/31! Oh wait, there’s another event that day, right? 😉
Tunes for the season
“Have a Swinging Hanukkah,” Fountains of Wayne (Download)
“Oh Hanukkah Groove,” Frank London Big Band (Download)