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radioactive girl tori said in December 11th, 2008 at 10:37 am

This is interesting because when we do our letter to stick in our cards (I know. I know! A lot of people are not down with the “Christmas letters” but the thing is that we send them to a bunch of people we rarely have time to catch up with. I think of it like a short blog post for friends and family so they know what we have each been up to…don’t judge me for it please!)

Anyway, when we do our letter, I have each kid draw of write something around the edges of the letter before I copy it. My 8 year old son was last to draw his and he wrote in big bubble letters “Happy Christmas”. When he handed it to me I felt a little sick. What should I do? We have a LOT of Jewish friends. Would they be offended? But the whole PC thing sometimes is taken too far. The letter is all about wishing people well, thinking of friends, sharing our joys, etc. If someone is going to be offended because an 8 year old wrote the word Christmas, then I am thinking they might be too uptight for me.

That being said, we don’t send out “Christmas” cards, we send out “holiday” cards, and I’m generally late and send them out in January anyway! I don’t see how anyone could fault a person for wishing someone else well no matter what words they use, but sadly a lot of people forget that and focus on the word “Christmas”. I personally don’t care what a person believes as far as religion, I just want them to know I am thinking about them even if we don’t get a chance to catch up as often as we would like.

I believe that you can find fault with just about anything if you look hard enough. If someone gave me a Happy Hanukah card, I would take it for how it was intended. Not as a “try to convert me to believe what you believe” card, but as a “I’m thinking of you and wanted to share my love” kind of card. Sometimes words are meaningless and harmless, but I can definitely see why you would be offended by that one example! It is one thing to say Merry Christmas, and totally another to be preachy!

Hey…I don’t comment often here (but I read) so I guess when I do I have to leave a huge comment…sorry about that!

radioactive girl toris last blog post..Dr. Doom Smells Delicious

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suze said in December 11th, 2008 at 11:30 am

Well written! I think it has more to do with the intention behind the greeting rather than the words on the card or in the greeting itself.

suzes last blog post..rambling, with no real point…

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NYCWD said in December 11th, 2008 at 12:03 pm

I think in the case that you mention with Samantha, you had every right to be offended because her intentions were not that of good will.

I still think that this issue is basically not one of religion. I think it is about perspective and the failure of people to take a moment and look at it from the other person’s perspective and their intentions before declaring it as offensive.

NYCWDs last blog post..The Most Annoying Ad On Facebook

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Dave2 said in December 11th, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Ever since reading your comment, I’ve been patiently waiting for you to address the topic on your blog before I did so on mine. Mostly because you are a far more rational and sane being than myself. As a non-Christian who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, it would be easy for me to condemn Christmas cards and all the festivities as “offensive” or “insensitive”… but, as a world explorer and embracer of foreign cultures, to do so would be hypocritical. Mostly because that’s exactly how I view Christianity… it’s just another foreign culture to study and learn from. If part of your culture is to send out cards of well-wishes for Christmas, and you choose to include me in that tradition even though you know I don’t celebrate it… then thank you for your kind thoughts during your holiday. And, yes, that would include the condescending and judgmental pricks who send the cards as a condemnation of my beliefs. I can only guess that’s part of THEIR tradition, and there’s something to learn from that as well. 🙂

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Finn said in December 11th, 2008 at 12:38 pm

Intent is everything. It IS the thought that counts. If the person is really your friend, you have to take it that way. If the person has a pattern of trying to get you over to “their” team, it’s offensive.

I wonder: Did Samatha ever pull the “doesn’t it bother you that you’re going to hell” card on you? That has happened to Mister on more than one occasion. I want to hurt those people.

Finns last blog post..Thursday Photo Lesson: Ordinary Things

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Hilly said in December 11th, 2008 at 12:45 pm

The vibe from this post is so different than all of the others. Thank you for taking the time to explain how *you* feel about it, as well as educating us on Hanukkah.* I will admit that I always thought that Hanukkah was at the same time as Christmas each year so yay, I learned something here today, which is very important.

I also think that sometimes the obvious renaming of things like “holiday ornament and lights” is blatantly obvious. Let’s just call a spade a spade. Is it offensive to call them Christmas lights when hi, they go on a Christmas tree? It’s not insensitive to call then that.

It *is* offensive to not even try to understand other cultures. You hit the nail on the head though…it’s about intenet. I’d never ever ever send you a Christmas card, but I would send one that said “Happy Winter”. And yes, ahem…I would mail that out with my bundle of Christmas cards. My meaning behind it would be that this is such a special and happy time of year for me that I want to share that happiness with you. And it’s not just a Jesus thing, either. It’s just that this time of year is beautiful and peaceful and blah blah, you get it.

Hillys last blog post..I’m Here, I’m Snarky…Get Used To It!

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Hilly said in December 11th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Woops…when I put the Hanukkah*, I meant to footnote it to tell you that I was going to copy/paste the Hebrew spelling but I didn’t want to seem all fake.

🙂

Hillys last blog post..I’m Here, I’m Snarky…Get Used To It!

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Naomi (Urban Mummy) said in December 11th, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Great post.

Personally, I love Christmas. I can enjoy the lights, and the festivities without the pressure. I don’t have to purchase gifts (although I do get my kids some Chanukah gifts), I don’t have to cook for 20 people (I reserve that for Passover) and I don’t have to worry if my kids find out about Santa Claus.

I think it’s important to learn about all faiths, and I love to share mine with others, and love to learn about others as well. I am never offended when I receive a Christmas card (got one today) and even touched when someone goes out of their way to get me a Chanukah card (also got one today).

And I love to wish people Merry Christmas!

Naomi (Urban Mummy)s last blog post..My son ate a quarter.

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Nat said in December 11th, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Our friends explained that once they had kids they felt they had to make Channukah a bigger deal because Christmas is so huge in our society. Now that the kids are older they tend to just ignore it.

The Boy’s buddy is a weird Catholic-influenced Muslim. They do it a small version of Christmas, again for the kids. (Last year eid, was on the day of Christmas pagent at school. They did the pagent rather than Mosque.)

We are agnostic/atheist who would be Christians if it weren’t for the whole Jesus thing. We do Christmas big for The Boy. More because I love the idea of sharing and coming together. I may do it for me because of the great memories I have of the time.

There is certainly pressure to get into Christmas. I have a lot of respect for folks who can just sort of roll with it. And when I send Christmas cards, it’s in that spirit of knowing that I’m sending a happy wish to you and your family. I appreciate that you can see that. 🙂

As an aside:
Did people really expect you to send Christmas cards? I find that a bit much. It would be like expecting you to buy presents too. (Although we did give their son a Bar Mitzvah card and present. I’m not sure why that felt appropriate maybe because it’s an individual thing, more akin to a wedding present.) Live and let live.

I think my point is lost even to me. oh well… there it is.

Nats last blog post..I remember…

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shiny said in December 11th, 2008 at 9:21 pm

RGT: First of all — great to see you here again! I’m actually a big fan of the “Christmas Letter” and value it highly. It’s nice to be able to spread wonderful news about your family to others in this format, and Christmas is certainly a valid time to do so.

I think the majority of people in this world are, in fact, tolerant of others. The issue comes, of course, when people start treading on the personal space and beliefs of others.

suze: Thanks. And exactly.

NYCWD: I’m really glad you responded — since I was able to see your responses to both of the other blog entries on this topic. I, too, tried to do the same thing which you advocate — namely looking at the issue from the other person’s perspective. And I’ve been doing my best to do just that — seeing where both sides are coming from.

The difference, though? I’m not calling people names should they disagree with me. 🙂

Dave2: First and foremost: if you think I’m more sane than you are, then I think we’re both in a heap of trouble. 🙂

And I suppose you have a point: there are those whose tradition dictates that their directive is to convert as many people as possible to their way of thinking. I see this in different factions of different religions, including mine. I don’t think it’s an ideal for me, but it sure is interesting from an anthropological perspective.

Finn: She didn’t use that phrasing exactly, but she made it abundantly clear that I was simply doing the wrong thing in a no-brainer situation. Se talked to me as if I was knowingly burning a big stack of money and simply watching while it went up in smoke. Ultimately she moved on to other targets…

Hilly: Bingo. And don’t even get me started on the notion of a “Chanukah bush!” (Although I always thought it would make a wonderful name for a seasonal porno.)

Naomi: You and I share similar sentiments here as well. It’s nice when people remember us, too — and we do the same when we get a chance. When I say “Merry Christmas,” or “Shanah Tovah” or “Eid Mubarak” to someone, I like the feeling that I’ve gotten to know that person well enough to know what greeting to use.

Nat: Our issue, at this juncture, is that Av turns six at the end of December. Which means his birthday and Chanukah are often at or around the same time. He’s expecting presents for both — and he’s at an age where we’ll oblige. Who knows what will happen when he gets older….

Oh — and nobody expects Christmas cards from me! Don’t worry; I haven’t been chastised for this (yet). I’ve thought about starting to send out an annual card at some time during the year which isn’t Christmas and isn’t Rosh Hashanah — just to be different. Maybe Flag Day. Or Anderson Cooper’s birthday. And we’d send out a nice photo and an update on our family. Let’s see if I actually follow through with it. 🙂

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Nat said in December 11th, 2008 at 11:23 pm

Shiny… I think you need something more random… something with 3s… like March 3 or June 6 or September 9… 😉

We have an end of Dec. baby. December is brutal… I so undertstand.

Nats last blog post..Trade on these wings on some wheels

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hello haha narf said in December 14th, 2008 at 7:20 am

i loved this. thanks.

ya know, i also love the dreidel song. my elementary school was rather diverse (white, black, indian, chinese, deaf, etc.) and we had many jewish kids. our teachers had us learn how to make potato latkes and learn the “dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, i made it out of clay” song as well as learn christmas carols while making construction paper chain link christmas tree garland. to this day the dreidel song warms my heart. probably because it was easy enough for a little kid to remember. and because it reminds me of my best friend jon who was jewish. i went to synagogue with him and he went to church with me.

wow, i also just flashed back to my first “boyfriend” – all the way back in preschool. mom realized david was jewish when i came home from daycare / preschool and told her i was getting married in a “synagarden” when i grew up.

hello haha narfs last blog post..Stripping Before the Movie

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Stacey said in December 14th, 2008 at 11:27 am

I was brought up Catholic (though haven’t practiced any religion since childhood), but Christmas, for me, has never felt like a religious holiday. I’ve always thought of Christmas as a time for well wishes, family, the spirit of giving, beautiful lights, etc. I’ve seen news specials where they’ve traveled all over the world and found non-Christians celebrating Christmas because they just like the CONCEPT of it. That’s me. I mean, let’s be honest. Most Christmas traditions have NOTHING to do with baby Jesus and the manger and whatnot.

The problem though is because very early on I separated Christmas from it’s religious context, I easily forget it’s not a holiday for everyone. I know I’ve unintentionally offended people in the past by offering cards (that said “Seasons Greetings), gifts (with snowflake wrapping paper), cookies, or whatever when really I just want to share the love and happiness I feel at this time of year. Thank goodness good intentions count for something.

Staceys last blog post..It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Smallpox

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