As my network of friends and experiences has grown, I have become aware of the wonderful cornucopia of reasons to celebrate the things that really matter. Many of those reasons cluster in the coming weeks. When I use the phrase “Happy Holidays,” it is not to demean or take away from what a holiday or Holy Day means to any one set of people. Rather it is to enlarge the circle of celebration to make room for all of the people about whom I have come to care.
If I were talking to you one on one, I would try to offer the greeting specific to what is important to you though I might pronounce it all wrong. When addressing a group or when I don’t know what holidays matter to you, I opt to be as inclusive as possible in my best wishes. I do this because I believe that the world needs all the joy, peace, hope, healing, and tolerance that we can spread.
So please know that for me “Happy Holidays” includes a wish for any and all of the following plus heart-felt wishes for any other holidays you celebrate in the coming weeks: Peace and Condolences to those observing Ashura; chag Chanukah sameach to those observing Hanukkah (for the record that is not a Jewish Christmas and is not a major holiday in the Jewish calendar); Solstice Blessings; Merry Christmas (whether you celebrate that on Dec. 25 or on Jan. 7 as observed my many Orthodox Christians); Habari gani to those observing Kwanzaa; Happy New Year if that happens for you on Jan 1 (including those observing the Japanese New Year) or the 23rd if you are observing the Chinese Lunar New Year). This list grows longer as my experiences and network become more diverse. (note: order of holidays is based on occurrence not any perceived importance)
So whatever you are observing: Happy Holidays and if you happen to have a birthday in the near future Happy Birthday too! I hope your special days help you reconnect to family and friends, to meaningful traditions, to your most heart-felt beliefs and that they provide blessed memories for you to carry forward.