, Salem, MA


December 2, 2013

Letter: In defense of Christmas


That does not change the fact that Dec. 25 is Christmas.

If a person is not a Christian and does not want to refer to this time of year as such, that is totally fine with me. They can celebrate whatever they want. Frank Costanza (George’s hotheaded father on “Seinfeld”) celebrated Festivus. God bless him!

Jews celebrate Hanukkah. Members of the Western African Diaspora celebrate Kwanza. Mr. Costanza celebrates Festivus. Great! None of them should be ashamed to do so, nor should they feel mortified because their holidays — which are in no way offensive — somehow upset others.

The same is true of Christmas.

I do not see how people can be offended by a holiday that is celebrated by members of a specific religion to which they do not subscribe. I am not offended when my friend Lauren wishes me a Happy Hanukkah. In fact, I love it. If my friend Brandon, who is black, wishes me a Happy Kwanza, I say, “Thanks, man! Right back at cha!” I also do not hear anyone in our secular culture trying to change the names of Hanukkah or Kwanza. Trying to do so would be “offensive” to Jews and African-Americans — and rightly so! That is their holiday. Do not co-opt it and change its name because you do not celebrate it, but you want to receive presents from grandma on those days just the same.

If you do not like Hanukkah, then don’t light the menorah. If you don’t like Kwanza, then do not share the Kikombe cha Umoja. If you do not like Festivus, then do not participate in the Feats of Strength. And if you do not like Christmas, then don’t sing “Silent Night.” That said, do not tell me what I can or cannot celebrate. (I am sorry, but you do not have that right. I will determine what holidays I celebrate, thank you very much.) Furthermore, do not do the same to my Jewish and African-American brothers and sisters, although I highly doubt you ever would. You would offend them if you did — and if I were one of them, I’d be offended, too.

As for me, I am going to celebrate Christmas — and I hope you have a merry one!

John Tamilio III


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