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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
30 Rock


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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

It's A Long Way Down To Holiday Road

So, the presents have all been unwrapped. The stockings no longer lay by the chimney with care, but instead with reckless abandon. Now it's time to survey the damage.

In the spirit of giving, a random honor was bestowed upon me yesterday. Red Orbit chose me as their blog of the day. Apparently Red Orbit is a site primarily devoted to space, science, technology and health. I was a shoo in. Kidding. I honestly have no idea where that came from. Yet with all the nominations flying around these days, I was excited to be chosen anyhow.

But enough about me, what about you? What is the best gift you got this year and just to add a little spice to your eggnog, what it the worst gift?

Lately there's been a lot of hubbub about the holidays. Can we say Merry Christmas? Should we take the word Christ out of the equation? Should we make our greetings more generic? What if we are talking to someone who doesn't celebrate holidays, period? AHHH!

I am fortunate enough to be somewhat removed from the mass hysteria. I work in a public school that simply does not bother with all of this nonsense. Why? Well the answer is simple. I don't think there are any students in my school who do not celebrate Christmas. In fact, I'm willing to place money on this. So, besides the teachers themselves, there is nobody who would protest about not being catered to, and really, isn't that what the whole fight is about anyhow?

That's why during read aloud time last week, I decided, in attempt to bring goodwill toward men, to read my students a little bit about different holidays. One day I read a book about Hanukkah. A few days later I read a book about Kwanzaa.

To say they were intrigued by Hanukkah would be putting it lightly. They had a lot of questions about the clothes they wear and the things they've heard and were amazed that Jews were among them, in their very school, working. I think I lost them the teachable moment though somewhere after "they get presents for eight nights". I can't imagine why.

During the Kwanzaa reading they were much quieter. Which brings me to my next question. They had some questions about Kwanzaa I really couldn't answer, although I was clutching the book that offered next to no elaboration. This is when it occured to me:

When did Kwanzaa become one of the big three, in the trifecta of the holiday season?

Growing up the battle for power (as sad as it sounds) was clearly between Hanukkah and Christmas. In my town, Hanukkah won hands down. In the world though, Christmas still seems to be reigning supreme and fighting a good fight. I mean it's like deciding who you like better, Jessica Simpson or Britney Spears. Do any of us really want to choose? Can't we just hate them equally?

But then, out of nowhere, you add say, Mandy Moore to the equation. No one knows what to make of Ms. Moore (the Kwanzaa in the scenario). Where did she come from? Where has she been all of her lives? You mean there have been people who have been fans of hers for years?!

And... scene.

That's not to say I'm down on Kwanzaa, it just seemed to have creeped up on me. And then, just when I think I've gotten used to Kwanzaa, the holidays go and say, guess who else is coming to dinner? Yes it's our new friends, Winter Solistice and Three Kings Day! Huh? What? Where were these guys hanging out before? Do I have enough fruitcake for everyone?

It is for this reason and this reason alone that I can understand the movement towards wishing everyone a happy holiday. I don't know when and I don't know why, but things have changed. A simple Merry Christmas just does not cut it anymore. Not only are there people who seem to celebrate all different things, there are others who seem to celebrate everything. I mean really, Christmukah anyone?

So that being said, I'd like to wish you and yours a happy holiday season, even if your holiday is just taking a break from the holidays. After all, that's what the Brits call it. Everything is going on holiday.

Heh. Maybe they don't just sound smarter after all.



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