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Holidays are happier when diversity is celebrated

Submitted by LaToya Sergent on November 20, 2010 – 3:17 pm2 Comments

“Happy Holidays!” It’s a phrase many of us will hear hundreds of times before the New Year. While some of us may not give it a second thought, I believe “Happy Holidays” can be boring if used too much.

I realize that people want to be more politically correct, and I agree we should make an effort to be considerate of everyone’s beliefs, but sometimes it seems that trying to include everyone is actually making us miss out on the beauty of our differences.

There is nothing wrong with “Happy Holidays,” and if that’s what you feel comfortable using, then fine.  But I feel it sometimes lumps everyone together into a big ball of holiday blah. Sure, “Merry Christmas” is still prevalent, but it looks like it’s disappearing, along with other winter holidays.

When I was younger, I remember seeing a lot more diversity. One of my favorite shows, “Rugrats,” celebrated Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanzaa. I thought it was so cool to see all of those cultures come together on one show, and I learned a lot about them.

I like the thought of really being able to celebrate your holiday, and sharing it with others. As I got older, I saw less and less about the red, green and black candles of Kwanzaa. I began to forget how many candles the menorah holds, and why Jewish kids get gifts eight nights in a row. One year, I almost forgot Christmas represents the birth of Jesus (though it really began as a Pagan holiday) and presents from Santa.

Part of me wants to blame commercialism, but really, it’s our fault. We think we are being tolerant when we reduce the holidays to colored lights, gifts and a tree, but we have lost the real meaning behind it all – loving one another and having that love extend across cultures.

Had we not been open to sharing traditions, we wouldn’t even have the Christmas tree, which American soldiers learned about from Germans in World War I. We need more of that. Hanukah and Kwanzaa was only the tip of the iceberg; there are many other holidays that America can embrace, like Winter Solstice, Yule, Diwali, Yalda and more.

So this holiday season, I encourage everyone to share your holiday traditions with someone else, and let them share theirs with you. I think you will form bonds and make connections with people you never knew you would.

And like I said, there is nothing wrong with “Happy Holidays.” In fact, sometimes it is the most appropriate thing to say.

Happy Holidays, everyone!