This I Believe

Lawrence - Mililani, Hawaii
Entered on November 10, 2007

Apparently, Christmas has now entered the realm of the politically incorrect. That’s right; implausible as it may seem, there are those who would tell me that it is no longer appropriate to call Christmas, “Christmas.”

Now, I struggle with this, not because of any strong traditional values—the season, after all, has only been called “Christmas” for several centuries—nor because of any strong Christian leanings. Rather, I struggle with this because, in the interest of a true logical progression, any change in nomenclature for Christmas would have to be applied summarily to all the festive events that surround this particular occasion.

What does that mean? Well, I believe that if the Christians cannot call Christmas, “Christmas,” then the Africans cannot call Kwanzaa, “Kwanzaa,” the Arabs cannot call Ramadan, “Ramadan,” the Chinese cannot call Gung Hay Fat Choy, “Gung Hay Fat Choy,” and the Jews cannot call Hanukkah, “Hanukkah,” or “Chanukah,” or whatever. These holidays more or less coincide; and nothing less than a complete redesignation of these festive events will suffice.

There is precedence for this, of course. I mean, to the chagrin of the Italian-American community, Columbus Day became “Discoverer’s Day,” Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays were incongruously meshed together as “Presidents’ Day,” and the venerable 4th of July has always been a.k.a. “Independence Day.” So, changing all the Christmas holidays shouldn’t be a problem. But I ask, must it necessarily stop with Christmas, or does this logical progression carry over to ALL festive occasions?

For example: A birthday celebration most certainly discriminates against all those who are not so fortunate to have that same birth date. Therefore, in order to preclude being offensive, would my “birthday” have to be redesignated as my “personal holiday?” Would my family and friends thus sing to me, “Happy personal holiday to you?”

Or maybe Lewis Carroll, whose unflappable dormouse and Mad Hatter so enthusiastically celebrated their un-birthdays, had the right idea. Of course, by celebrating my un-birthday, I would risk being offensive to those few who actually were born on that particular day.

Perhaps the perfect solution would be to do away with holidays and celebrations altogether. The logic here is simple: If no one is celebrating, then no one will be slighted for being left out because everyone will be left out. This could work I guess; although, no doubt, someone somewhere would still feel slighted for being more left out than others, and we would then be reduced to determining the degree of “left out.” In any case, for some reason, this option just doesn’t seem very appealing to me.

In the end, I’m stuck with a dilemma. Should I celebrate the Christmas season, with its accepted connotations of peace, love, and gracious gift giving; or should I begin celebrating a generic, non-offensive holiday season? Perhaps I am being a little unfair; but changing the name of a celebration that has existed for centuries does not seem to make much sense to me.

Therefore, in conclusion—and despite those who would have me do otherwise—I wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Consummate Columbus Day, Wonderful Washington’s Birthday, Fantastic Kwanzaa, Superb Lincoln’s Birthday, Happy Hanukkah/Chanukah, Uplifting Ramadan, Gung Hay Fat Choy, and Glorious July 4th.

And, of course, I can’t forget to wish you the happy celebration of your birthday whenever it may be.

Thank you.