Oxymoron & the Holiday Concert

By definition an oxymoron is a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.


Secular: denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis.

Christmas: the annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth, held on December 25. (italics mine)


Thus I give you: Secular Christmas


There is no such thing as a secular Christmas.  I should think one wouldn’t be wanted if what is being celebrated is the very foundation of the religion.  “Reason for the Season” and all that.

Santa Claus represents Christmas.  No matter how commercialized the figure has become, his entire basis of being is Christmas, the religious holiday.  Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick appears at no other time of the year other than Christmas Eve, which apparently starts the day after Thanksgiving these days.

A Santa hat represents Christmas, not winter.  Ask any kid.  And any adult who says otherwise is attempting to skirt the issue or possibly from The Netherlands.

Now, before anyone gets their knickers in a knot, let me say this; I was born into a family that celebrated Christmas, they still do.  My daughter Nenè celebrates Christmas.  There are many Christmas songs/hymns that I truly love.

I am not antiChristmas.  I repeat, I am not antiChristmas.

What I am is Jewish and a supporter of equal representation in public institutions that are supposed to be separated from religion in the first place, at least here in the States.

I will also add that Bashert and I love our son’s school.  It is a public school that prescribes to the International Baccalaureate system of world inclusion; global thinking.  It’s one of the few remaining public elementary schools in our area that has a fine arts program and full time foreign language program. The principal is a fantastic woman, educator and administrator who stands up fiercely for her teachers, students and school.  The teachers are wonderful and creative (many of them have won teacher of the year several times over).

So why bring this up, this secular Christmas?  I’ll tell you why since you asked.

This was the description given to Bashert by Yoda’s new music teacher in regards to this year’s school holiday concert.

Don’t worry about your Jewish child being excluded because we are only singing secular Christmas songs.  Not secularly themed songs about winter time, but secular Christmas songs.

And by the way, Yoda will need to bring a Santa hat for costuming.

Excuse me?

That’s pretty much tantamount to me telling your Christian child that he needs to bring a kippah to school so that he can participate in our High Holiday concert, but its okay because we are only going to be singing prayers that the Jewish religion is based on.

The crux of the matter lies in the blatant disregard for our son’s significance and the simple minded arrogance that assumes that it just okay to have everyone conform to the same belief system.  Really, what harm is wearing a Santa hat, while singing Christmas songs, right?

In real life I work for a multinational corporation and yet every Monday and Friday now until Christmas, I am being forced to listen to Christmas holiday music via the satellite feed.  Every year I have to write an official letter reminding the powers that be, that as a multinational corporation we need to be mindful that not all cultures celebrate or appreciate the holiday of Christmas (the same music plays when someone is placed on hold).  And every year I get the same response that it was agreed upon that the music would play during the prescribed times only.  Big whoop.  I’m just the Jew in the ointment spoiling everyone’s holiday cheer.

I guess what it all boils down to; arrogance, assumptions and significance.

Every kid matters.  Every kid deserves to be seen as significant.  Every kid deserves respect.

Perhaps if we started really practicing this at Yoda’s level, I wouldn’t have to write a letter every year.  But until that happens, Yoda won’t be wearing a Santa hat during any song at the holiday joy night concert and I will keep writing my letters each year.

Perhaps someday, in his lifetime Yoda will see the true spirit of this season.

And maybe all of us won’t have to suffer the effects of Christmas music burn out two days after Thanksgiving.

My Friend Phat

The American holiday of Thanksgiving — the perfect day to introduce my friend Phat.  Phat and I go way back.  We’ve been close friends since childhood.  Oh, we lose touch every now and then, but we always hook back up at some point.

Phat has seen me through some pretty thick and thin times.  Sometimes we have belly laughs to rival those giggling babies on You Tube.  Other times we sit in the dark contemplating our belly buttons, wondering how life got this way.

I remember once, due to some unfortunate circumstances, I lived in a house with no central heat.  Phat was there to help keep me warm that winter.  Phat made a gradual exit that year after we chopped many a tree for the wood stove.  By spring Phat was gone and my really illusive friend Phit came to visit for a short while.  (Phat and Phit rarely visit together – they tend to get under each other’s skin.)

Sometimes, Phat sneaks up on me, that devilish prankster.  Now is a perfect example, seems like I turned around and bam! there’s Phat hanging around in places I’ve never seen before.

As I’ve grown older, I find that Phat has grown more obnoxious.  Or maybe Phat has always been that way and I’ve never taken the time to really notice.

Oh, people have told me Phat is really no good for me, that I’m being led down a path that leads to ill being.  I suppose they are right.  The times I’ve lived without Phat do tend to be more enjoyable all around.  And if I think of it hard enough, I see that Phat does have a rather abusive personality with lots of boundary issues.

It is a classic cycle.  Phat gets me all out of shape, I pull away and try to find a healthier lifestyle then Phat returns bearing sweet gifts in order to wiggle back into my life.  Why even this morning I’m being plied with sweet rolls with Cinnabun icing.

Ye gads, they are right!

I am going to call Phit this very day and see if we can go for a walk and do some talking.  We need to get better acquainted again.  I have the number around here somewhere.

Just let me clean up these rolls and I’ll get right on it.