The correct response to Happy Chanukah is not “Oh, yeah, and Happy Kwanzaa or whatever.”

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.

4 thoughts on “The correct response to Happy Chanukah is not “Oh, yeah, and Happy Kwanzaa or whatever.”

  1. It’s really simply. A person wishing you a Merry Christmas is thier intention to wish you a happy and joyous time and day. A day in their belief that is held in great joy and revoeance. There is no more statement being made. If in fact you do not share that belief, it would be a
    Very appropriate, tolerant and appreciated to wish that person a similar expression of joy and revoeance in your belief. The age of the celebration has little to do with the deep meaning or feeling. There is no need to make a statement!

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  2. Pingback: Happy Holidays | David's Commonplace Book

  3. Well said. I would wish you Merry Christmas and wish you Happy Chanukah because I respect those holy days and appreciate how they were created.

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