01 December 2006

So Here It Is Merry erm... Winterval, Holidays erm Yule

Of course it's the holiday season, there is Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, Bohdi Day, Kwanzaa which is a cultural festival rather than religious, Winter Solstice and Eid Al Adha for starters all in December. So while the UK may be majority "Oh I suppose I'm a" Christian it isn't exclusively and really it isn't polite to wish someone a happy Christmas when you know full well that they actually celebrate Bohdi Day, so if you are not sure what if anything someone celebrates saying "Happy Holidays" although an awkward construction is a safe way of acknowledging there is a holiday in the offing.

But on the flip side we are a multicultural society but to assume that non Christians would take complete offence at being wished Happy Christmas is daft. Most people don't I'm an atheist to my knowledge I've never thrown a strop at being wished happy Christmas. I've never met someone who complains about a free day off. When I lived in the states Yom Kippur was a day off from school, I wasn't offended.

Often, rather than actually talk to someone who is different from ourselves we make assumptions about what will or will not offend them, because it's easier than actually engaging with people who might actually be a bit different from ourselves. That is the truly daft thing.


  1. There's nothing worse than people who are offended on someone else's behalf, when the people who are apparently being offended don't care one way or another.

    I send, and receive Xmas cards to and from my Jewish side of the family, and nobody gets offended there.

    So happy Chanukah and merry xmas and every other related winter festival of light that all strangely take place at the same time!

  2. My Hindu friends in India send me a Christmas card.

  3. When I was quite young, I had a friend who took offense when I got her an xmas present, because she celebrated Eid. It wasn't the xmas part, it was that she felt guilty for not reciprocating. The next year she got me an xmas present, and I got her an Eid gift. She didn't know I was pagan.

    I wish people a Happy Yule, they wish me a Happy whatever. What we're really saying is "I hope you have a good holiday". It's the spirit of the gesture, not the words that count.