My buddy Meeko Fabulous asked a great question in a comment earlier this week, and I thought a post about my answer would be a great Public Service Announcement right now, at the beginning of the holiday season.
Would a Jewish person get offended if they were given a Christmas card? I unintentionally committed that faux pas last year and got an earful . . . Your thoughts?
I did a post that touched on this last year, but I’m too lazy to link it. First of all, I have to put the disclaimer out there that my answer is just that: Mine. My opinion may not be the same as other Jews; I’m only speaking for myself.
Generally, I believe that proper etiquette indicates that you should extend holiday wishes to others according to what THEY celebrate. In other words, if Meeko and I met for coffee somewhere in early December, upon leaving to go our separate ways, I would say “Merry Christmas” to Meeko and he would say “Happy Hanukkah” to me. That is, I believe, what Miss Manners or Dear Abby would suggest. (That, or the more generic “Happy Holidays”.)
I give my Christmas-celebrating friends CHRISTMAS gifts, wrapped in Christmas paper. Near Christmas. If Hanukkah occurs earlier than Christmas (like this year, December 11-18), I don’t give my Christian friends their gift during Hanukkah unless I won’t see them again before Christmas.
That said, and finally touching on the answer to Meeko’s specific question, NO, I would not get (and have not gotten) offended if I were given a Christmas card. In fact, it happens many times each year. I am one of the dinosaurs who still sends out holiday cards (they say “Happy Holidays” though, because that’s my preference) to friends and family, and of course I get some in return. Nine times out of ten, my non-Jewish friends send me the same Christmas card they send to everyone else on their list. Some of them do go out to the store in order to purchase a Hanukkah card, and I appreciate that but do not expect it at all. I don’t look at a Christmas card as a slap in the face or an insult; I just think about how nice it was for that person to extend holiday wishes to me. Do I get Hanukkah gifts right before Christmas, even if Hanukkah was over more than two weeks before? Sure. Am I insulted? Nope. I don’t expect people to keep track of the Hebrew calendar and, subsequently, the different Hanukkah dates from year to year. Again,
it’s just an honor to be nominated I’m just appreciative of the thought.
To me, this whole thing goes along with being tolerant of other people’s beliefs and considering others outside of your own little bubble. And no, not everybody does that. I feel like it’s safe to say that a minority (like me, a Jewish person) might be more attentive to something like this, much like I try to be cognizant of how others spell their name because I have an unconventional name spelling. It’s totally understandable how someone who celebrates the same December holiday that 90% of other Americans wouldn’t always think about the other holidays, just like someone who is named Jane might not be as good with unusual name spellings as someone named Jayne.
So that’s about it, Meeko. I would not be insulted or offended if you did send me a Christmas card, and by default that also means that you would not get an earful from me either, which I think is a little rude, by the way. Have your friend call me so I can scold them, would you?
Does anyone want to add anything?