Celebration, Come On!

Two For ChristmasThe last thing I want to do in this joyous season is start an argument, but in order to proceed with what I want to do here, which is wish everyone Happy Holidays, I feel the need to point out that there’s a reason many people say “Happy Holidays” rather than simply “Merry Christmas.” There’s a lot going on this time of year. Let’s break it down a bit:

Chinese New Year
Winter Solstice
New Year’s Day (Western)
Bodhi Day (Buddhist)
Pancha Ganapati (Hindu)
Soyal (Zuni & Hopi)
Hogmanay (Scotland)
Quaid-i-Azam (Pakistan)
HumanLight (Humanist)
Dōngzhì Festival (East Asia)
and yes, Christmas.

And that’s not everything by half. So here’s the thing, and it’s got nothing to do with either being “PC” or any imagined “War on Christmas.” To automatically say “Merry Christmas” to someone whose background and customs you may not know is an example of unexamined priviledge and cultural assumptions that are as likely as not unwarranted, not to mention just plain rude. Sure, I’ll say “Merry Christmas” to family and friends in person, but even then only when I know we’re on the same page, which is not always the case. To say it here, on this blog, when I know darn well that not everyone reading this shares either my background or beliefs is to use the season as a club, not a hug. Sometimes I am a jerk, but I try not to be, and that’s the beginning and end of it.

So Happy Holidays, everyone, because no matter what those holidays are, they should be happy, and that’s what I wish for you all.


Scenes From a Marriage

At the last writer’s group I scribbled a note to myself on the back on a manuscript I was working on. First reader saw it lying face down on the printer with the note clearly visible.

She: “What’s this? ‘VooDoo Christmas’? Is this what this story’s about?”

Me: “No, that one’s not ready to show yet. The note is my assignment for next week. 500 words on the theme ‘VooDoo Christmas.’”

 She: “You mean like Papa Legba meets Papa Noel?”

Me (Having that flash of RECOGNITION in mid sentence): “No…I mean YES! That’s it exactly!”

And it was. “Cold Christmas,” finished this morning. Only it was 1300 words, not 500. Whatever the story wants, the story gets, but still pretty short for a story from me. But all kudos to First Reader. My story, but her idea.