A few thoughts on holidays and merriment:
I live in a part of the country where the population is very diverse. Jew, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Bahai, and every denomination of Christian. You name it. Thus, around this time of year, you hear a lot of "happy holiday" greetings, and not a lot of "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hanukkah," and so forth.
Now, I'm all for inclusiveness and consideration, but I'm struck by how silly all of this can get. After all, the day is what it is. In my mind, they're all an opportunity to party and have fun, and can't we all use more of that?Do we not say "happy new year" on January 1, despite the fact that the Chinese and Jews and the Bahai, among others, celebrate the new year on other dates? Let me tell you, the Chinese know how to throw a new year's party, so why not have two new year's parties and celebrate with them. I mean, with this agnostic logic people are throwing around, no-one would say "happy birthday" to anyone but themselves or someone else who was born on the same date. So, really, what's wrong with saying 'happy whatever' on the right day?
Another thing: Santa Claus. Around this time of year, you inevitably hear some psychologist on the TV or radio talking about the right time to tell a child the truth about the jolly fat man. Should a parent tell the child before classmates do? How do you tell them?
So many questions, and so much tsimmis. Seems to me that the answer to the Santa question is simple. Who's questioning a stranger who leaves you presents with no expectation of the favor of a return gift? Sure, he sneaks into your house, but who cares, as long as he doesn't walk off with your Playstation? What's so bad about letting kids believe in that as long as humanly possible? There's a Jewish saying about one of the highest forms of charity being a gift where the recipient doesn't know who the giver is. Seems to me that the concept of Santa Claus helps perpetuate that concept. It's a pretty darn nice one, I think you'll agree.
Parents will tell you they might as well fess up because their kids are smart and will easily figure out that it's Mom and Dad who are leaving the toys under the tree. I submit that those are exactly the kids who are going to keep the faith in Santa for as long as possible in the hopes of getting more and more interesting stuff from the jolly fat dude. I mean, why question it? It's just more fun to keep up the charade.
And it also means that you get it all for the price of putting out some cookies and milk. Not a bad deal.