Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Rabbi Implores: Bring Back Christmas!


I do not even know where to begin with this one. It's from a conservative weekly site that features august learned sages such as Ann Coulter. Which of course is why I visited it, just to get myself all worked up in time for Thanksgiving. This piece is long and boring and, well, stupid. It's written by a rabbi in The Future longing for the halcyon days when everybody could celebrate Christmas, unlike now when Christians must worship in secret because the Left has made their love for Jesus unacceptable, and he--oh self-hating Jew (or in other words, a far-right conservative Jew), wishes he could walk past all the lovely nativity scenes at city halls across the land. {Yeah, I know I'll get flamed for saying that, but I liken very conservative Jews to very conservative gays: what's up with happily being part of a group that thinks you're going to go to hell but is just too polite/savvy/strategic to tell you so?}

But back to the article: I don't know where to start in my critique of it, beside the fact that the writing is so very sophomore-year-English-class-at-8:30-in-the-morning-on-a-Friday. But it's also ludicrous on its face. The notion that somehow being sensitive to people who don't celebrate Christmas is tantamount to being an unpatriotic coward; that's just stupid. To be fair, I do feel bad when people apologize profusely for saying Merry Christmas to me. It's a social nicety that does not bother me, any more than if someone walked past me and said, "Happy Birthday!" I wouldn't think, "You f'ing jerk! It's not my birthday!" Most people are genuinely trying to say something akin to "Have a nice day" when they say "Merry Christmas." I don't expect them to know whether I will indeed have a Merry Christmas any more than I expect them to know whether or if I will indeed have a nice day.

I do therefore find it unfortunate that everyone talks about The Holidays now rather than Christmas. Because let's be honest: we ain't gettin' two days off work for Chanukah and Kwanzaa. I'm comfortable with that; so why aren't the people who celebrate Christmas? I probably posted about this before last year, but it bears repeating. Chanukah is a minor, minor, minor holiday in the pantheon of Jewish holidays. It has only taken on the role of "The Jewish Christmas" because people who are uncomfortable with being different (which I would argue is one of the fundamental and central tenets of Judaism--that you should be different), don't want their kids to be the only ones in school who don't celebrate some kind of Big Gift Holiday, and because people who are uncomfortable having a Big Gift Holiday in front of someone who isn't, really want to find you some kind of equivalent so they can feel better about the conspicuous consumption going on.

So let me declare this day from this place and at this time to all who may hear these words: Go Forth And Enjoy Christmas. As long as you don't make me be the only person at work who can't participate in something like [this really happened in 2004 at a major DC organization] your Christmas Tree Ornament Gift Exchange or as long as you don't make me look stupid for not celebrating Christmas, I'm cool. It's your holiday; enjoy it. And please do invite me to the parties and the Big Dinner. As long as I don't have to sing Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel for your parlor game amusement, it's all good.

Having said that, there is no substitute for good customer service and/or manners, during "The Holidays." The one time something pissed me off was at a Mailboxes Etc a few years back. I was buying stamps for my Chanukah cards, so I stipulated that I'd like the american flag stamps rather than the Christmas cards, to which the guy replied, "What!? Are you some kind of scrooge?! Who doesn't want the Christmas stamps?!" Well, gee, a-wipe. Let's see who wouldn't want the all-important and apparently magical freakin' Christmas stamp! I don't know! Only a large percentage of the entire country, not to mention the WORLD?!! There could be any number of reasons I don't want the Christmas stamp, like maybe I'm sending sympathy acknowledgments after the death of my mother and I'm not feelin' like putting Jolly Saint Nick on the freakin' envelopes. Maybe--here's a good one--maybe I'm a very religious CHRISTIAN and I deplore the use of Santa as a symbol of Christmas. How about THAT?! It was one of those small things that I could probably have shaken off if he hadn't said it in front of a line of people who chuckled, but his snarky delivery coupled with his total obliviousness that The Almighty Christmas Stamp might not be the thing I sleep out overnight in my sleeping bag to score at first light just cheesed me off.

Merry freakin' Christmas indeed.

1 comment:

Raine said...

There's a reason they call Anne Coulter a columnist and not a journalist.