What is the norm for season’s greetings when it comes to this time of year?
The age-old phrase: “Don’t assume. When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.” Aww so cute. Realistic? No. How is that preventable? It’s part of being human to assume. I assume that if you’re in the store buying Christmas lights or a Christmas tree, that you are Christian and celebrate Christmas? But it’s still not my place to wish you “Happy Holidays”, let alone “Merry Christmas”. Most adults, especially in a professional setting, always try to be politically correct, which leads to the common “Happy Holidays”. Which in turn leads me to ask myself “Do they think I celebrate Kwanzaa?” But it’s the tone that the season’s greetings are given. It’s always the questioned tone at the end, the “Happy Holidays?” Seriously, ‘google-images’ the phrase and see what comes up. Google-image ‘Christmas’ and you’ll see how the tree trimming/Santa aspect is praised, and how very rarely the Christ part presents itself. Google image ‘Kwanzaa’…yeah, I know. Google-image ‘Hanukkah’…sigh.
Seriously though. I’ve had people wish me “Happy Kwanzaa!”. Both of my parents are Nigerian, born and raised, which makes me 100% Nigerian, and a first-generation American. I have no idea what Kwanzaa is. I don’t even think it was invented or is even celebrated by “straight-up” Africans. The first time I even heard of Kwanzaa was when I first joined chorus in the 4th grade. We had the “Holiday” Concert coming up and we were to sing “It’s a Kwanzaa Celebration”. I’m sure you’ve heard it. One day, after learning the song in chorus practice, I remember going home and asking my parents “What is Kwanzaa and why don’t we celebrate it?” My parents just looked confused and were like “What is Kwanzaa? We’re Catholic, so we celebrate Christmas.” And that was that.
I remember while growing up, adults made even my childhood politically correct. We always had the homeroom ”holiday” party, could only give out “holiday” cards, and weren’t allowed to watch movies such as ‘A Christmas Carol’ (the animated one). I don’t know what 8-year old ever got offended when someone didn’t realize he’s Jewish and celebrates Hanukkah. Although my elementary school was great, extremely diverse, and stressed the importance of learning about different cultures and religions (which I will always appreciate), whenever holiday decorations went up, looking back, I’m positive that they were extremely absurd. Kwanzaa was represented by a little black boy wearing an African dashiki and the accompanying African hat, Hanukkah was a little Jewish boy with the yarmulke and the accompanying menorah, and then Christmas was the white, blonde-haired girl by a Christmas tree. So wrong. I think it’s these images that are instilled in people’s heads from childhood which causes people to still make stereotypes in their adulthood.
“Happy Holidays” is just awkward and I never prefer to say it, minus when I’m writing “Holiday” cards to friends.
See what I did there?