Sunday, December 11, 2016

Inclusivity and the War on Christmas

When I was a kid, I went to school with a kid named George (not his real name) the son of our bus driver. Some days, George wouldn't come to school. Those days inevitably were the day of our Valentine's Day party, Hallowe'en party, and our Christmas Pageant.

George was Jehovah's Witness, whose faith members don't believe in celebrations like that.

Fast forward to today. The populations of the US and Canada are becoming more and more diverse, with Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Muslim, and representatives of many other cultures and faith groups. In the effort to follow two dictates, one of a separation of church and government, but also to foster inclusivity, schools no longer have Christmas Pageants, they have Winter Fests, or something like that. Stores urge their staff to wish everyone Happy Holidays, so as to include everyone, not just Christians.

And apparently, that is driving some people batty. Every year around this time people start griping about the War On Christmas. The memes start... you know the ones.

Like this:

Or this:

And there are the signs:

So, let's dissect what this is saying, shall we? To me, this is saying 'You MUST follow my dictates or you're not welcome in my home.'. Such a welcoming spirit.

I understand when adults lament that kids won't grow up with Christmas pageants and the like, but please realize... you're focusing on YOUR happy memories, not the memories they will make. In years to come they'll be every bit as fond of the memories of their Winter festival pageant.

And in the meantime? They won't be making a kid like George (and many others) feel unwelcome where they ought to feel welcome, in school, by focusing on one religion only, or any religion at all.

Tell me Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Peaceful Kwanzaa, and I will return whatever greeting you like. I'll NEVER tell you you can't say Merry Christmas if that's what you prefer. And in return when I say Happy Holidays, or Season's Greetings, I haven't joined some mythical War on Christmas, I'm just being me.

So... Happy Holidays, whatever you celebrate. I've got up a Christmas tree and will send out Christmas cards that probably say Happy Holidays to cover the gamut. And as for George? I'd wish him a wonderful day.