Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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December 2, 2012

HOPKINS: Pulling a foot out of the mouth

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Sometimes after I’ve written a column, I read it the next day and say to myself, “I should have said that differently,” or I realize I neglected to mention something important. Last week’s column offered a little of both.

For those of you who missed last week’s column, I used a little “bah humbug” to voice my displeasure about how the word “Christmas” has become almost a dirty word and instead we seem to being force-fed the politically correct “happy holidays.”

First, I stand by my feelings. In this corner of the world, most people celebrate Christmas. Right or wrong, it’s the predominant holiday in December. On more than one occasion when I’ve wished someone a Merry Christmas that person has replied that he’s Jewish, or of a different faith. I’ve always immediately followed up with a “Happy Hanukah,” or a warm greeting for the holiday that person celebrates.

The problem is that I didn’t mention that in last week’s column, so it came off as a bit of religious arrogance. That certainly wasn’t my intention. I believe in respecting the religion and I simply ask for a little respect towards mine in return.

I received two letters from readers who rightfully chastised me.

The Rev. Patricia Ludwig offered her take on “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” with the following:

“There is so much that is celebrated and honored in December, including but not limited to Hanukkah, Christmas, Solstice and Kawanzaa.

“If I know people are Christian, I cheerily say ‘Merry Christmas,’ but when I do not know, like when I ring bells for the Red Kettle Drive, I say, ‘Happy Holidays.’

“To my Jewish friends, and to  part of our family which is Jewish, of course, I always say, ‘Happy Hanukkah.’

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