Is it OK to wish Jews a Merry Christmas?

Like most Jews, I don’t take offense Merry Christmas Wishes when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas. I take it in the spirit in which the salutation is intended: a generic greeting that doesn’t hold deep religious meaning. I put it up there with “Have a nice day.” 

It’s a dark time of year and for me the lights, decorations, illuminated trees, and greetings of Christmas cheer are an attempt to lighten things up, that’s all. On a deeper level, the wish of a Merry Christmas means: Let’s get through the dark winter months until the sun comes back again. 

In recent years, people tend to get nervous about offending the religious sensitivity of others. Especially at Christmas. Debates circulate about putting Christmas trees or manger scenes on public land. Some attempt to mitigate the issue by saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.” 

But I have never met a Jewish person who felt seriously insulted by a holiday greeting; we understand the tsunami of Christmas and go with the flow.

Sure, there are religious decorations among the Santa-and-his-reindeer displays and inflated plastic snowmen. The crèche scenes remind Christians of the real purpose of the holiday. For the rest of us, the lights and decorations are pretty to look at. 

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