Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Happy Holidays?"

Happy Hanukkah from Santa? o_O

First of all, I think the "Merry Christmas" versus "Happy Holidays" debate is stupid. Businesses have all the right in the world to expand their target audience during peak shopping season to people who are buying for holidays other than Christmas, and I'm not one of those Christians who fears losing ruling status in America. Really. I don't think it's Biblical. Basically, I thought the whole "War on Christmas" thing was dumb—until I thought harder about it.

Here is the irony of this liberal schtick. Unless you actually mean "Happy Holidays," it's not fair to people who celebrate holidays other than Christmas, because most of the time, what people actually mean by "Happy Holidays" is "Merry Christmas." How many plates and cards have you seen that say "Happy Holidays" that clearly have Santa, holly, and poinsettias printed on them? Why do we stop saying it after December 25th, even though Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st and Hanukkah (this year) goes until the 28th? Would a Jew listening to the Christmas radio station hear "Home for the Holidays" and think, "Oh, good, my holiday is covered"? No. It's just another way for people to feel like they're being culturally sensitive without actually being culturally sensitive. And they only get a pat on the back from people who also celebrate Christmas (or atheist Christmas or whatever), while simultaneously depreciating all holidays equally, including their own.

Don't believe me? Why, in every school I've ever been in during the month of December, is there something hanging up that painstakingly, equally denotes every December holiday, including Ramadan, which is in the summer? 

My grandmother—culturally, a Christian—married a Jew. Religiously, they don't believe much, but they celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. For them, I can say "Happy Holidays" and actually mean it. A vague "Season's Greetings" card usually suffices, but I always add in, "Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!"

All I'm saying is, be specific. I would never say "Happy Holidays" to someone who I knew celebrated Christmas, nor would I say it to someone who I knew was anxiously awaiting Kwanzaa with their family (even though I've still never met anyone who celebrates Kwanzaa...riddle me this). "Happy Holidays" is convenient when you mean it or you're unsure, which is why it's good practice for businesses and government. But in general, isn't it worth a little extra effort to acknowledge the holiday someone celebrates, recognizing each holiday instead of depreciating them all equally by really meaning "Merry Christmas"? Can we be a little more educated about the December holidays that are going on instead of ignoring them in the name of the hypocritical new religion of Feelygood PC™? I mean, there are only three. It's a learning opportunity. Christmas and Hanukkah are over, so if you happened to mistake me me for an African and wished me a happy Kwanzaa right now, I would simply thank you and return the greeting. (Just do me a favor and only wish me a "Ramadan Mubarak" in August, ok?)

It's not a huge deal, but I can't help but think that maybe this is just a way to lump all of the religions together and tone down Christmas because people don't like religion.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas in Western New York

My husband and I just returned from celebrating Christmas with my mom in Western New York. I got a couple of nice shots of Niagara Falls:



The weather was in the 30s for most of the time we were there (about 18 deg windchill at Niagara Falls). It snowed on Christmas Eve, but it only stuck at higher elevations, so we went "looking" for a white Christmas!

Tubing and snowball fight at Holiday Valley

I'm a Floridian, so snow to me is purely recreational. I don't shudder to think of shoveling, being chilled to the bone and waiting months to see the sun. Thank goodness.

75 degrees the day we got back. Ahh...

Home, sweet home. And I got a cool gift from the in-laws, which I will be adding to my reading list:


Hope you had a good holiday, whichever one you celebrated! Excited for the primaries yet? Florida's is January 31st!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Graduated!

So in case you guys have been wondering where in the world I've been (both in blogging land and in real life), it's doing this:


Out in front of the USF Psychology building

Yes, I just graduated with my degree in psychology! Woo hoo! I think, in the course of the last 3 weeks, I have written upwards of 24 4-6 page papers for Gordon rule classes, read 6 books, and taken 3 exams (two for school and one to test out of Spanish). I was tired, to say the least (and I sympathize with anyone in law school. Do you even have time for church?)

I have to give a BIG shout-out to:




Publix paid for my education in full. Not only are they a great (employee-owned) place to work, but they are very charitable to students who are strong academically but are in great financial need. If you are reading this, shop at Publix, because they run their business right.

In other news, a journalism major used me in an article about students who get married while in college, which is well worth a read: First comes love, simultaneously education: USF student talks marriage and college.

People keep asking me what my plans are now that I've graduated. My answer is simply that I'm considering a multitude of options. Thomas Jefferson's quote keeps floating through my head every time someone asks: "Don't talk about what you have done or what you are going to do." Similarly, James 4:13-16:
 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.

I truly have no idea what my long-term plans are, because they also must include God and my husband. But I have a few ideas, and perhaps you will know when these plans are under way (they do include graduate school, whether now or later).

Thank you to everyone who has supported me these last four years. Thanks also to my mother-in-law, who threw me a wonderful graduation party.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas is Almost Here!

As you, dear reader, have probably noticed, I haven't posted in, like, months. That's because I'm graduating! Yay! This time of year is always rough for students, but it's even more so for me right now. SO...I will continue to take a blogging break until I'm done. But while you're here, please enjoy these pretty pictures that remind me of Christmas. Needless to say, it's a holiday I am eagerly awaiting.














See you soon. And Merry Christmas!