Are you a culturally sensitive gentile? If so, you’ve probably heard by now that many Jews don’t celebrate Christmas. You may have also heard that Hanukkah is not exactly a major religious holiday.
Many Jews, including Jewcy.com blogger Elisa Albert, would appreciate it if gentiles took their cultural sensitivity a bit further. A good first step would be to realize when the Festival of Lights actually takes place. (Hint: It doesn’t include December 25 this year.) Albert pokes fun at “those exclamations of ‘Happy Holidays!’ or ‘Merry Christmas!’ that turn, with squeaky awareness, to ‘…or, uhhh…Happy Hanukkah?’ when it dawns on the speaker that there’s a real, live Jew in the house.” Such corrections may be well-intentioned, but they make little sense, now that Hanukkah ended about a week ago.
A nice alternative could be to wish Jewish friends a happy Tu Bishvat, as the New Year of the Trees is less than two months away. If Tu Bishvat sounds too obviously researched, just go with Rosh Hashanah. September may seem far away, but it’s a lot closer at this point than Hanukkah is.