Dear gentiles, when you say Merry Christmas and I say Happy Chanukah, don’t cheapen it by saying, “Oh yeah, and Happy Kwanzaa or whatever.”
First, there is the matter of sincerity. Chanukah is a Jewish holiday that predates Christmas. Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday that started in 1966. I don’t know if I look Jewish, but I certainly don’t look black. When you lump Kwanzaa in with Chanukah I think that you think I am just saying Happy Chanukah to be PC, and that I don’t actually mean it sincerely. Here’s the truth: I don’t say Happy Chanukah to be inclusive or politically correct; I say it because celebrate it.
Second, there is the matter of timing. When you wish me a Merry Christmas and it’s not December 25th, it’s not actually Christmas day. When I wish you a Happy Chanukah, I am doing so on one of the eight days of Chanukah I am actually celebrating that day. When you wish me a Happy Kwanzaa, you are wishing me a happy holiday that isn’t even celebrated until the day after Christmas through New Year’s Day. If you want to wish anyone a Happy Kwanzaa, do so when it’s actually being celebrated.
The best response to Happy Chanukah? “Thank you.”
P.S. For clarification: I don’t go around wishing people Happy Chanukah, but when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas during Chanukah, I say, “Thank you! And Happy Chanukah!” Sometimes I say, “Thank you, and I’m celebrating Chanukah today.” I try various responses, but I prefer to acknowledge my celebration of Chanukah rather than just saying nothing about it. I suppose I am trying to make a statement, but I’m also sincere.