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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah

•••••••••• December 20, 2022 ••••••••••

It wasn’t until I was in my teens that I learned that Christmas had something to do with religion.  What was the clue?.

  1. Santa Claus?
  2. Reindeer?
  3. A gingerbread house?
  4. Hot chocolate with marshmallows?
  5. Presents under a tree.
  6. Christmas wreaths flickering in windows?
  7. Mulled wine?

Our house had a menorah and a Christmas tree. We exchanged cards with a multitude of messages: Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Best wishes for the season.  Most of the cards featured snow covered bridges or pictures of St. Nick in front of the fireplace.  There was the occasional pudgy baby picture in a card decorated with gold trimming. I had no idea why.

I sang Silent Night without a clue.  Jingle bells and Jingle Bell Rock.  Oh, come all ye faithful.

quote marks

Alas, America’s great melting pot was not like a grilled cheese sandwich. It was more like a cheese fondue with little pieces of white bread not always sticking together.”

Breaking the myths of childhood can take time.  I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus underneath the Christmas tree last night.

Things are not always what they seem.

Not being able to go to a swimming pool where friends went in the summer. Finding out that some housing in college was not open to me. What’s this all about? These seemed at the very least unneighborly.  Love thy neighbor as thyself.

Alas, America’s great melting pot was not like a grilled cheese sandwich. It was more like a cheese fondue with little pieces of white bread not always sticking together.

I reminisce about this because I thought —and hoped —we had moved past that.

The early European settlers in America came in search of religious freedom. That ideal is enshrined in our constitution: the state cannot favor one religion over another.

  1. When I hear politicians saying “At last, we can say Merry Christmas again,” I am appalled. 
  2. When Congress has to hold hearings to examine the ongoing threat to American democracy posed by white supremacist  ideologies, I am appalled.
  3. When Americans are bombed in houses of worship, I am appalled.

The problem is so concerning that the President is establishing an inter-agency group to counter antisemitism, Islamophobia, and related forms of bias and discrimination within the United States.

This has gone way beyond teen-age boy immaturity. America: grow up!

It’s time for the great American Time Out. Time to start anew. Time to respect freedom of religion. Time to end discrimination based on a person’s religion.

This is the season to share love and gratitude and good wishes to all religions and all ethnicities. Starting today and onward, let’s practice what we preach.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah

Carol Kocivar is a children’s advocate and lives in the Westside. Feedback: kocivar@westsideobserver.com

December 20, 2022


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