I had a conversation last week about how we “exclude” groups of people by talking about things we’re involved in (that they aren’t), food that they enjoy (that we don’t), and even holidays that we celebrate, that they don’t.
In a few short decades, most of us have moved on from the “You’re in Canada, be like us” to embracing all cultures and adapting so that we all fit in together.
But I think in some ways we’ve overdone it. We become so concerned that by celebrating our own heritage that we exclude others, we try and hide or downplay the things that we were raised to enjoy and treasure.
And I have to interject here that as a vegetarian of almost 20 years, your energetic promotion of burgers and bacon and chicken wings and ribs, etc., leave me right out of your conversation. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that my brain goes somewhere else and starts thinking about work while you’re drooling over your dinner options. But that’s not to say that I want you to give up meat and become a vegetarian. That’s not the point. How lame would that be if we were all the same?
Over the last 20 years or so we’ve argued about whether we should be wishing others’ a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holidays, because we don’t want to offend those who don’t celebrate Christmas.
As Susan Swan says in her column on p. 20, greet me with any happy occasion that you like and I will return it to you with all of my best wishes.
We don’t need to pretend that we’re Spam to prevent offending anyone. It’s a big planet, with lots of room to celebrate all special occasions that are as happy and positive as Christmas.
There are plenty of ways to “include” cultures that don’t celebrate Christmas. Cookies and goodies are generally not turned away by most people – until health conditions dictate they must. In that case, perhaps an invitation for a night of tobogganing or some other fun activity.
And don’t be shy if they wish to reciprocate by inviting you to join with them in celebrating their own holidays. You might even have fun!
Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal