Some years ago, I was making the rounds of my office saying farewell to my coworkers before leaving for vacation over Christmas.
I said to one fellow, who happened to be jealous, “Merry Christmas!”
The Director (who was one of the worst bosses I ever knew–fortunately, he wasn’t my boss) said, “You can’t say that to S.; he’s Jewish!”
S. got a hurt look on his face and said plaintively, “Aren’t I allowed?”
Jamie Katz writes in the Chicago Tribune (I suggest reading the whole column for context):
Not once, ever, publicly or privately, have I heard anyone — Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Cherokee, atheist or Aqua Buddhist — say he or she was insulted by a sincere holiday greeting that included the word Christmas.
Of course, if you’re aware that someone celebrates a different tradition, it’s nice to acknowledge that too. And if you have no idea whether he or she prefers Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or Omisoka, you can always say, “Happy Festivus for the rest of us!” or even “Happy holidays!” It’s not that bad.
But just as Americans of every stripe acknowledge English as the common tongue, we all know that a hefty majority of us profess Christianity in one form or another. As long as we are free to do otherwise, where’s the problem? Sane adults understand that a cheerful greeting is not an intolerant decree.
The phony war on Christmas has nothing to do with Christmas.
It is a strategy to foster hate in the name of the God of love, a strategy embraced by those who fear and loathe anyone who they think is different from them.