How Do You Celebrate? (Markus McDaniel)

December has crept up on us again. Hopefully it won’t be the last – you know, because the world is supposedly going to end. I’m sure it’s just a farce, like how all the computers were going to shut down at the turn of the millennium, yet it’s still morbidly fun to bring up.

Whether it’s the final December, or another one where we claim survival, it should be made a memorable one, for whatever you may be celebrating. The best way to do that, is to call it what it is, rather than have it be lump summed in the phrase Happy Holidays.

I understand the concept of being politically correct, but when it comes to festivities and merriment, I don’t see how being politically correct applies. If you are going to enjoy your birthday, or New Year’s Eve, or Thanksgiving, you don’t call it something different. Sure, you might want to call them Give Me Attention Day, or Party ‘Til The Sun Rises Day, or perhaps Avoid The In-Laws Day, but then how would others know what event you are actually referencing? The idea of not naming the holiday you celebrate by its rightful name is in itself offensive.

So, why don’t we say what we are rejoicing this December? Perhaps you’ll enjoy the eight days of Hanukkah this year with a brilliant menorah, or respect the weeklong celebration of Kwanzaa. Perhaps you’ll observe Ta Chiu for spiritual renewal, or partake in the colourful five days of Pancha Ganapati. Depending on the lunar calendar, you could also be honouring an Islamic practice within December. And for those who are completely anti-commercialists, perhaps Festivus is the option for you.

Personally, I’ve been raised on Christmas, and will be enjoying my two Christmases again this year with my family. Granted, some of you may be commemorating Christmas for religious purposes, but I have grown fond of the Santa side of the event. The catchy jingles, the warm fuzzy movies, the comfort foods, the family reunions, and the gift-giving experience of it all, are what I cherish. And let’s not forget, the whole mysterious concept of a fat man fitting through non-existent chimneys around the world in one fell swoop.

Although I will be wishing people a Merry Christmas this year, I would not take offense to any other wish of kindness. For example, I’d be delighted to receive a Happy Kwanzaa salute. The principles behind this festivity during each day’s reverence are values everyone should be aware of, and practice all year round. I challenge you to learn about them, along with the other special days December shares.

So let’s abolish the generic Happy Holidays mantra, created by commercialism and politics. It’s a month chock-full of festivities that happen worldwide, each in celebration of loved ones and wishes of good health in the new year. Respect the various religious and non-religious events around you, because everyone should have the freedom to cherish their own traditions undisturbed and unthreatened. After all, it is a time for peace on Earth and goodwill towards humanity.

In my final words for this year’s Advocate, I wish you all a Joyous Pancha Ganapati, Merry Chrismukkah and Happy Oshogatsu! Here’s to a prosperous and an existential 2013! Kanpai!

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