I’m always astonished when people get up in arms about the term “Happy Holidays.”
Apparently some people still haven’t received the memo that Christmas isn’t the only faith-based observance in winter. Hanukkah, Eid, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice are also celebrated by people of other religious affiliations. In many families there is often a blending of these traditions. Such is the case in my own home.
Still, it can be a difficult season for those who don’t celebrate Christmas, especially if it is used to promote an agenda of intolerance.
Last week Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky asked the Port of Seattle, which manages SeaTac Airport, to include a menorah, a symbol of the Jewish celebration of Hannukah, with the airport’s holiday decor — decorated evergreen trees. Bogomilsky’s attorney, in an attempt to persuade the Port, suggested a lawsuit could follow if the request was not addressed.
The Port’s response was to have all the trees removed.
Port officials certainly had a reasonable explanation: in the middle of the airport’s busiest season of the year, there wasn’t time to track down and install a menorah that would fit into the airport’s display. It was easier to take the decorations down and revisit the issue next year.
But all these facts fell by the wayside when the “War on Christmas” contingent grabbed hold of the story. Suddenly it became an opportunity to rant about the “secularization” of Christmas. It was also an opportunity to stir up some virulent anti-semitism. How lovely.
How can there be a “War on Christmas” when Christians are said to be in the majority in this country? Yet every year this secular boogyman gets carted out to scare decent churchgoing people into believing that Christmas is somehow in grave danger of being extinguished.
If you read this newpaper during the month of December, you’d know that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The spirit of Christmas is indeed alive and well, as are those of Hanukkah, Eid, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice. In fact, each of these traditions share a common thread: they are celebrations of faith and family, of inclusion and not exclusion.
Remember that, and the term “Happy Holidays” fulfills its plural intention.