Christmas and the assumption that everyone celebrates it

OK, I’m first to admit that being a non christian, I’m already walking on eggshells during this season.
I was in the bookstore this morning with my little guy. They have a train set that he plays with while me and my wife take turns shopping, one watches him, the other goes off and finds stuff. Well, i was sitting there, when this other couple came up and thier kid started playing wtih the trains.
The woman said “boy I bet he wants that for christmas”
As I have to do every day “No, he doesn’t celebrate christmas, we are jewish”
“Oh, you will be celebrating it when he reaches school…ha ha ha”
Um. Huh. My first reaction was can I fucking kill you now? I mean what do you say? Look you dumb shit, we are not christian…why would we celebrate christmas?
Sure, Santa is cool, the whole North Pole thing is neat, love the Father Christmas letters by Tolkien, but no. No Chanukah bush. No Chanukah Harry. We are not christians. Period.
Maybe I’m even more sensitive to this this year after that born again got elected again i don’t know.

Oh, like Christmas is a Christian holiday anyway for most of the people who celebrate it.

Most of the symbology is pagan, not Christian. (Trees, Santa both come from pagan tradition, as is the timing of the holiday itself – apparently Christ’s birthday is pegged at being at a totally different part of the year.)

And the central tenet behind Christmas has long been coopted to center on the economy and the Rules of Acquisition.

Just lighten up and call it Giftmas. :)

As a Buddhist (although one without kids), I understand your frustration. For some reason, it bothers me the most when the person I’m speaking to keeps using the word “celebrate.” If they simply say, “oh well, at least it’s a chance to see relatives & buy presents,” I’m fine with it. But if they keep saying “you must celebrate it a little…it’s America, after all,” my eye starts twitching as I visualize symbols of compassion & tolerance.

If you want to playfully screw with people, you could say something like “We have to check with the commune’s leaders to see if little Timmy will be allowed to go to school.” If nothing else, it’ll end the conversation.

Ok, as a Tim, I want to know why is it always little Timmy? What the heck. As a father who has a little Timmy, I get a little pissed. Why can’t it be a smallish Johnny or a dimuative Joey? No, no. It’s always little Timmy. It speaks poorly for all Tims everwhere.

I agree with DennyA. If it’s the final vestiges of a Christian overtone that offend you, fully embracing the “Christmas spirit” of rampant consumerism can only help beat the final, recalcitrant spirits of Christian theology that still linger on this now-secular holiday.

Personally, I’ve moved away from the bland, suburban Christianity practiced in mainstream America today towards a more football-centered Christianty which focuses on Sundays and Monday Nights, and sees Super Bowl Sunday as the holiest day on the liturgical calendar. I fully expect that in a few hundred years Super Bowl Sunday will have replaced the pagan practice of a mid-winter feast as the foundation of Christmas. Instead, I’m expecting a universal religion of trees decorated with little footballs, stories of Jolly John Madden, and overbudgeted half-time shows that the whole family can enjoy.

Hey, as a Tom, I get “Tom, Dick and Harry,” which and the names your boss uses when he doesn’t want to mention the names of the real assholes where you work so everyone looks at you and does that fucking giggle and your boss chuckles and then you end up hanging youself. Plus I have red hair. You don’t know my pain.

At least you can share your pain with Dick and Harry.

Also, Tom, couldn’t you come up with an Internet handle with a little more orignality than tromik. :)

If it makes you feel any better, the little kid that gets eaten by the monster in the first reel of every horror movie ever made is almost always named “Kevin”.

Mazda b-series (international) picture

Yeah, the other day at the park while pushing my kid on the swing someone said, “Don’t you love the pleasant winters in Alabama?” Like, they just assumed I called it winter and liked it cold. I said, "Fuck you! We call it the dormant period. Get out of my face or I will kill you. I hate it when people try to make small talk in public places. Couldn’t they see I had my super silent force bubble around me and did not want to be bothered?

As mentioned elsewhere, it’s strictly an annual gift-giving affair in my family.

Ty- you miss the point, small talk and the ususal fine…but the ‘Oh you will celebrate it when he goes to school…mwahahaha’…come on, that is stepping over the line.
I guess I’ll stop having a kosher house when he discovers bacon too.

Oh c’mon Elhajj. You know you want to say it …

Just one little, “God bless us, every one!”

Yeah, I got something like that at work a while back, too. Some guy just couldn’t believe that we don’t do Chrsitmas stuff with the kids in my house–after all (he said to me), it’s a completely secular holiday. The odd thing was, he ended up being pretty upset at my refusal to do things like put up a tree in my house.

I find I get less grief from comitted Christians about not wanting to get into all the Santa Claus stuff and what-not. (That’s not to say that we’re rigid about it–I take my kids to see the “Nutcracker”, and I love Handel’s “Messiah”, but we’re just choosy about what Christmas stuff comes into the house).

Tyjenks, I don’t think anyone here is talking about getting upset at the standard “Merry Christmas” stuff everyone gets; it’s the more niggly stuff where people just tell you that you should be doing stuff (like the guy in my first paragraph), because otherwise you’re missing out on an essential part of American culture. There’s not much of it, but what there is rankles a bit.


did anyon read the movie review of “chrismas with the kranks” on salon? basically with an empty nest they want to just dump the xmas annoyances and take some time together on vacation and save $3000 to boot. the salon article mocks the people who wind up forcing the couple to have a commercial christmas instead of doing something that they would like and more in keeping with the true spirit of the holiday.

also: there are almost never any movie heroes with a first name of russell.

Try being named Geoff. It’s like Chaucer never existed, I swear… I’ve been called jeef, jee-off (most common), gay-off, and even more commonly: gary, george, greg, etc. I think like three people in my life that weren’t related to me have been able to pronounce my name unassisted.


You could always be “Wayne” that way you get “Mr King” “Kingwell” “kinghard” or the ever witty “Wayne’s world ! Wayne’s world! party time! Excellent!”

My bus driver was a dunce and called me “Whyan” … I don’t know how the hell he did that.

Topic at hand - I have a friend that doesn’t celebrate Christmas because his religion doesn’t believe Christ was born on that day. If people don’t want to partake in it that’s fine by me :D .

Erm, so how is it pronounced? Is it “jeff” or “joff”? I’m never sure about that name…

As far as I’m aware, “Jeff.”

It boggles me that anyone would not know how to say it, but then I’m reminded that I’ve got an uncle by that name.

I miss the candlight services and some of the plays and stuff associated with Christmas since i stopped attending churches, to be honest. It made the holiday feel special. In fact i kind of miss the social elements of going to church altogether, although only in passing. I think emphasing the social parts of holidays is still important, whether non-believing or not.

Erm, so how is it pronounced? Is it “jeff” or “joff”? I’m never sure about that name…[/quote]