Ahhhhh. Yes, you read right. Ahhhhhh. I am off for Winter break for the next two weeks. I plan to relax a lot and hopefully make a trip to the Christmas Market in downtown’s distillery district. I went last year and had a nice time sipping on hot cocoa and spiced-mulled wine. I love my job, but it can get very busy working with children so this break is very welcome. God bless their little souls, the children were soooo excited that Christmas is only 7 sleeps away they were literally bursting at the seams. I can’t fault them. I remember being that age and feeling exactly the same way. Giddy with excitement and feeling like Santa could not get here soon enough. Christmas Eve was the longest day ever. Too exhausted to stay up, yet too delirious to fall into slumber. Those were the days. I remember them well.
Today I had my very first “Merry Christmas” from a store clerk at the check-out counter and I was taken aback. I said Merry Christmas a few times this season, and it felt in a word odd, as the words escaped my lips. For the past few years it has been nothing but “Happy Holidays!” A few years ago, my sister Francine and I got to talking about the sudden increase of Happy Holidays in place of Merry Christmas. It almost seemed as though people were hesitant to say Merry Christmas in fear of offending someone who may not celebrate. Concerts in schools across the city changed from Christmas concerts, to Holiday concerts to Winterfests. One school scraped all three completely and went with a dinosaur concert to avoid being politically incorrect. I mean, personally I am totally fine with all these titles minus the dinosaur concert. What on earth do large prehistoric lizards have to do with the holidays?
Inclusiveness is a beautiful thing and that is what I love about the city of Toronto. If craving some pancake latkes and taking in the lights of Hanukkah, I need look no further than go to the Bathurst and Lawrence uptown area of the city. To see the lovely lights of the Hindu festival of Diwali in early November Gerard street east is the place to be. If you like Indian food, you can get your fill of Tandoori, curries and daal, all while taking in the lights. There is no shortage of places that sell Halal meats, or Christmas fruitcake or Figgie pudding if you are so inclined. Want to learn about the seven principles of Kwanzaa? The Hariett Tubman centre offers lessons in the meaning behind each candle, as well crafts and spoken word from local poets. In the beauty of inclusiveness, I don’t think there is a reason to exclude Christmas and all that makes it a wonderful time of year, in the Biblical sense and for those who only celebrate the commercial side in fear of offending others. I have a few Hindu friends, and a good Muslim friend I used to work with. None of these ladies are offended by trees, ornaments or carols that mention Santa or angels. In fact, one of my Hindu friends even puts a tree up in her house. Although she does not celebrate Christmas, my Muslim friend usually gives me a little present and a card and she never missed the company Christmas party. This city celebrates diversity and the cultural mosaic that makes it the great place it is. Yes, respect boundaries and requests, but I don’t feel it is necessary to assume others are so troubled by the word Christmas.
In a time of much conflict and terror in our world, remembering peace and goodwill whatever holiday you celebrate is the message where all religions find a common ground. The Dalai Lama, the late Mahatma Ghandi and The Qur’an spread the message of love and peace toward your fellow man, as did my God, Jesus Christ in The Holy Bible. However you say it, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas, I wish you all the very best. Let us celebrate our differences and more importantly let’s celebrate our similarities.
Trex-to-Tigress will make a roaring come back in 2016 talking more health, fitness and wellness. (Yes, I plan on lifting during my break God willing.)
See you next year my friends. Thanks for reading. xoxo