If you've not come across Seinfeld, you should look it up.
How can anybody not like it? (this is where you imagine Jerry's mother's voice)
It seems apt at this time of year to send out "Merry Xmas" wishes—but there are several problems for me with this.
- 2022 had not been merry, by any objective standard. Yup, I'll be that guy.
- I'm agnostic, and Xmas is a religious holiday, of a particular set of religions: various Christian denominations. 24th isn't even the Xmas for all the denominations. It's therefore by definition exclusive in the direct meaning of this word.
- It's also a commercial holiday in the West, and I don't know how I feel about a marketing gimmick of a Coca-Cola campaign. This makes it again not inclusive, but now by a different dimension.
- My audience is international, with many from the Arab world, many from the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Asia, Latin America, many from Orthodox Christianity (Xmas is on the 6th/7th of January, following the Julian calendar), … not just the Anglo-Saxon and Western European traditions.
- I'm about to propose something that's unfortunately not inclusive, either—because I'm stuck thinking in terms of the Gregorian calendar and the corresponding turn of the New Year. No, not everyone celebrates the start of the new year on Jan. 1—so this "festive season" won't cover everyone. I apologize to everyone from a country that has a different cycle, which is quite a few people, actually.
I nonetheless propose to highlight the turn of a (Gregorian) calendar year with a more inclusive Festivus—for the rest of us!
Now, Festivus is a joke.
But also… is it?
Let's acknowledge the passing of time, the longest night or the longest day (depending on if you're in the Southern or the Northern hemisphere), what happened in the past 12 months, who we lost, who we gained, what we grieved or celebrated.
Personally for me, apart from everything else, my grandma died. She survived the war in Odessa, she saw half her school class herded into the warehouse and burnt alive not even by the Nazis but by the Nazi collaborators, she had a long and rich and complicated life, she was a very strong woman. We celebrated her life.
Let's also acknowledge the hopes for the next 12 or so months, what we have looking forward to, what we can change in our lives, what we can try and influence in the lives of others, be it of those close to us or even in a public sphere.
Personally, I started changing my opinion towards politics: we might think it's dirty and corrupt, but if we're not engaged in politics, politics happens regardless, and we're left with the consequences. Therefore, we need to think of our civic duty as to how we can make a difference. It's less idealistic and more practical and necessary, I've come to realize. Research, read, listen, write, talk, reach out to the elected officials, unelected officials, influencers, debate, discuss.
More importantly—and this is truly inclusive as it's unrelated to any particular "season", festive or otherwise—we need to spend more time IRL (as the kids say these days) with the real human beings. Nobody yet cancelled humanity, and human interactions are what humanity is all about.
With all this in mind, Happy Festivus 2022! -ish…
All the best!