Christmas · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism

What do you say when…?

The first year I was in the conversion process, I was really upset that this time of year most people, most cashiers and store clerks, said “Merry Christmas” to everyone instead of the more inclusive “Happy Holidays!” Probably, I responded to every “Merry Christmas” with a face that could only be called my Bah-humbug face.

Clarification: Note, the previous paragraph relates to how I felt during the conversion process several years ago about this situation, not how I feel about this situation today. Living in a Jewish neighborhood, among mostly Jewish friends, doing most of my shopping online, I rarely get wished a “Merry Christmas” and if I do, it passes without note.

What do you say when someone wishes you a “Merry Christmas”?

8 thoughts on “What do you say when…?

  1. Depends on the person. A store clerk? I just smile and say thanks, or try to look busy. Someone I am actually having a conversation with? I simply say “we don't celebrate Christmas” and wish them a happy one.

    Have you seen this web site:


  2. For store clerks I say “You too.” There is no reason they shouldn't be able to ask everyone to have a Merry Christmas.

    When you are in Israel do you say Shabbat Shalom to everyone? Do figure out whether the person is an atheist or Christian?

    I say Shabbat Shalom because I am wishing them peace on my sabbath, I am not really saying anything about them and their religious beliefs.

    My family is Christian and I do not want them to try to come up with some other way to say it. It is not Happy Holidays to them. It's Merry Christmas.

    I think we need more Jewish clerks to start saying Happy Hannukah or Shabbat Shalom. I think that would get a bunch of people excited.

    So have a Merry Christmas ;>

    What are your plans? We are thinking about sledding and sitting in front of the fireplace with friends. (Oh and calling my family to say Merry Christmas.)


  3. “Thank you! *big smile*” I do feel a little overwhelmed by all the Christmas out there, but I don't get offended if someone wishes me well for any reason. It's easy to feel like one's Jewishness is under assault this time of year, but I am trying hard not to go there in my perception of people. It is a challenge at times.

    I wish Christian people Merry Christmas simply because that's their holiday. I'm wishing them happy on their holiday. I appreciate it when non Jewish friends wish me a happy Hanukah, so I figure it's the same principle.


  4. “You, too!” to people who don't know me or are generally wishing me well and just didn't remember that I'm Jewish. A well wish is a well wish, and I'll have a good day on Dec. 25. I try to wish people happy whatever it is they celebrate, if I know what they celebrate. I don't take being wished a merry christmas personally. Nobody I know who's baking a birthday cake for Jesus (and I do know people who do that) is wishing me one. They wish me a happy Hannukah.


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