Spread the holiday cheer to all

by Alia Jeraj

Yesterday, I heard a coworker in my office remark, “Snow, December — and just like that, the holiday season is here.” He’s not wrong. On my daily commute, I pass trees covered in lights and billboards displaying good tidings. I even ride in the occasional light rail car decorated with reindeer window clings and multicolored lights. 
However, even among all these sparkles and cheer, there are many people who find reason to be upset with the so-called “Holiday Season.” I’m talking about those who are furiously raging over Starbucks’ new cup design, those who do not accept “Happy Holidays,” but only “Merry Christmas.” 
I grew up in a multireligious family. Thus, December was a time to celebrate both Christmas and Eid al-Adha. Though I was never among the devout celebrators of either holiday, I enjoyed both as a time to gather  with my friends and family and eat delicious food. 
When I was younger, my parents and I would fly to Houston to visit my mom’s parents. On Christmas morning, my cousin and I woke the house with cheers of “Merry Christmas.” Everyone would sleepily, but happily, echo the greeting, including my dad. 
Nowadays, after Eid prayers, my Minnesotan cousins still come over to my parents’ house. There, everyone, including my mom, wishes and accepts “Eid Mubarak.” Even with the inevitable family skirmishes, the holiday season has always been one of peace. 
As we enter a season encompassing a multitude of holidays celebrated by a multitude of faiths, I hope we can all adopt the spirit of inclusivity and plurality, accepting wishes of well-being and joy in whatever language they come.