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Editorial: Don't let humbug trump holiday happiness

 

Saturday marks Christmas Eve for Christians and the start of Hanukkah for Jews. The concurrence of these two major holidays celebrated by two of the world's major religions has happened only four times in the last 100 years.

That it is happening this year -- a year of election outcomes both national and local that have left many shaking their heads in amazement and fearing the future -- is an interesting turn of events.

The season's "bah humbug" started early this year with an election that will likely go down in history as one of the nastiest and most divisive. Even local elections and issues pitted neighbor against neighbor.

We're all a little shell-shocked, and some people who are perhaps angry at the outcome of a particular race or ballot measure are going out of their way to find reasons to be offended.

Everyone deserves and should be treated with respect. However, it should be obvious that there is a distinct difference between, for example, finding racial slurs scrawled on a high school wall -- which is appalling and offensive -- and being told to have a Merry Christmas.

The fact the latter can bring as much outrage as the former is unimaginable and unfortunate.

Many people find it easier to not speak at all to those who don't look like them, speak like them or worship like them, because then there is no chance of offending them. They don't share views or information for fear of offending someone.

This lack of communication is a symptom of the problem, but also perpetuates it. We need to communicate with people who are different from us to learn and understand them. We need to voice our views and opinions to be able to bring new information and ideas to light. This is critical to our relationships, our democracy, our society.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or even Festivus, we encourage you to give the gift "unoffendableness" this year. In other words, don't sweat the small stuff.

Do not become offended when someone asks you a question about your manner of dress or speech. Let it go.

Do not become offended when someone shares his or her views on a subject, even if it is the polar opposite of yours -- and you have facts and statistics to back it up. Let it go.

Do not get offended when someone says "Merry Christmas" to you. Let it go.

Unoffendableness is good for both the recipient and giver in that it allows for a less stressful, more joyous celebration for all. Eggshells are garbage and nobody should be made to walk on them around family and friends.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa to your family from ours.

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