Why is that so many Christian acquaintances of mine try so hard to convince me that Christmas is American, and not Christian? Why the need to show me every article talking about the American nature of Christmas, its universality, its appeal to people of all religions?
It's not that I don't like Christmas -- it's just that it's not my holiday. I don't care how many Americans celebrate it or how secular it is or that its major symbolic imagery at this stage in history couldn't be more divorced from religion; it's not a holiday for Jews.
Don't tell me you know Jews who celebrate Christmas because they enjoy the spirit of the season. Don't tell me about the kid you went to school with who was totally Jewish but had a Christmas tree because she liked the smell. I really don't want to hear it.
Christmas is, at heart, about the birth of Jesus, and Jesus is hailed by Christians as the son of God. Here's the bare truth: Jews don't believe that; it's antithetical to Judaism to believe in Jesus as anything other than a human being. And you can't expect us to be participants in a holiday which has as its raison d'etre a concept that is diametrically opposed to our beliefs. We don't even feel bad about it, so don't try to find ways to include us.
I wish my Christian friends a "Merry Christmas," and we send cards and presents as appropriate to our friends and family who celebrate it (intermarriage at work). And I have no problem with public celebrations such as the White House Christmas Tree and the like. I think we should keep the Christ in Christmas. But it's not my holiday, OK?
It's insulting to me that you can't just enjoy your holiday; you have to make me a part of it. It's a fairly close parallel to what Antiochus and the Greeks tried to do two thousand or so years ago in a little story we remember every year at Hanukkah. (OK, not a very close parallel -- but religious coercion is what we're talking about.)
Deck your halls, flock your tree, drink your egg nog, have a merry Christmas... just leave me out of it.