There was an "only in America" moment last night at Backstage Bar in Culver City. After some friends and I (all Jewish) karaokied Jingle Bell Rock, I said into the microphone..."And guess what?...We're all Jews!" The bar moderately applauded, in what was a mixture of amusement and indifference. First, that religious Jews feel comfortable singing a Christian song in a karaoke bar in Los Angeles is amazing. In the span of human history, one religion openly celebrating another religion's holiday is a phenomenon--even more so that its Jews who feel comfortable honoring the celebration of Christmas.
Second, I think it's fair that with Chanukah in the rearview mirror, "Happy Holidays" really means "Merry Christmas." Before and during Chanukah, if you were interacting with someone whose religion you didn't know, "Happy Holidays" covered all your bases--both Christmas and Chanukah, and even Kwanzaa or, for secularists, the winter solstice (whatever that is).
But with Chanukah over, we Jews should be able to take the leap to "Merry Christmas." The vast majority of people we interact with in public will be celebrating Christmas. And for the few that aren't, this country so celebrates religious holidays that those people are unlikely to be offended by being wished a "Merry Christmas." They'll probably just respond with, "You too."
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