Today I’m posting some pictures I took on Friday in downtown Glendale, AZ, with all the trees lit up. Every year around this time they have a festival called Glendale Glitters with vendors selling foods like hot chocolate and caramel apples. We had thought the vendors would be there on Friday night, but they weren’t; it was just for Saturday and Sunday. Still, the lights were up and there were hundreds of people there walking around the park. There were musicians on the corners playing Christmas carols, so the atmosphere was very festive even without the food.
While I’m on the topic of food, while I was driving home yesterday from some last-minute shopping, I heard Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani on the radio. He was talking about the differences between holidays in Iran and in America. The Iranians, he said, celebrate the Persian New Year called Nowruz in March. It’s a two-week festival which is like all American holidays rolled into one, with gifts, begging for candy, colored eggs, and fireworks. His family moved to America when he was seven, where he fell in love with Santa Claus and the Christmas traditions, though his parents refused to celebrate that. He said his own kids got to experience all the American holidays, such as Christmas, Easter, and Halloween.
This is why I like to say “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays,” because I mean to be inclusive rather than exclusive. I would never mean to imply that “our holidays should replace yours.” No, the more holidays the better! We shouldn’t be like the grinchy parents of that Muslim kid in Germany who (in)famously forced the school to stop singing Christmas carols for the first time in 600 years. Of course I also advocate appropriating the holidays of other cultures, but fellow goyim beware: Hanukkah ended several days ago, so no wishing Happy Hanukkah until next year!
Merry Christmas, and a Festive Festivus for the rest of us!