Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Rant

Trees, wreaths, lights and Merry Christmas this, Merry Christmas that. What about other religious celebrations? When I was young, I cared. Then I grew up (kinda') and lost interest. Next thing I know, it’s Happy Holidays PC BS.

In an effort to try to relate this to food, here's a restaurant tale that isn’t in my book. Bonus material! The Texas Caf√© had decorated for the holidays. A tiny menorah sat on the bar virtually buried by Christmas lights, wreaths and a gigantic Christmas tree. 

A diner felt uncomfortable by the menorah and complained to Aaron, the bartender. The religious symbol bothered him and his son, who was like six years old and in the Hitler Youth.  

This diner wanted the menorah taken down because of its religious implications. Aaron pointed to the giant Christmas tree and said, “And what do you think that is?” “A tree,” the diner said. “What kind of tree?” “A Christmas tree.” “And,” Aaron asked, “What is the first part of that word? Christ, right? It’s a religious symbol, too. So sit the fuck down!” (I added that last line.) The customer grumbled, "No, it's a Holiday Tree." 

I don’t care that Chanukah receives some airtime. But it's lumped into Happy Holidays ads. I know it's cheaper for companies to run one ad throughout December rather than three separate ads for Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa.

Still, a couple things bother me about the Happy Holiday ads:

1.     The timing. The ads come out right after Chanukah ends and run through Christmas— ignoring the timing of Chanukah and Kwanzaa. Run them all month for everyone or just run Christmas ads.

2.     The ads showcase Christmas lights, wreaths, candy canes, and Christmas trees —all Christmas symbols.  Then Santa walks in, “Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy Holidays!” We know what you’re dyin’ to say, so just say it: “Merry Christmas.”
The point is you can’t say "Happy Holidays" when your ad imagery focuses entirely on Christmas. This kills off the inclusion message. You don't have to put a Jewish guy dancing around with a menorah in your ads or an African in a dashiki. Just … say what the hell you mean to say. 

A kid making a snow angel in a yard with reindeer and a wreath on the front door and a snowman with a Santa hat does not say "Happy Holidays” no matter how many times your narrator speaks those two words.  

Chanukah was early this year. To be honest with you, I didn’t even know it started until Ellen DeGeneres said so (Yeah, I watch her show. What about it?). If you don’t know when another person's holiday is, you cannot, a day before Christmas, say Happy Holidays. If Christmas is tomorrow, just say Merry Christmas.