Julie Golick posted the following observations to Facebook in 2018. In response to several requests, she then made the post shareable by all .
Every year, I run into a discussion about how Christmas isn’t REALLY religious anymore and about how it’s “for everyone”. I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and here’s how I feel about the two-months-long extravaganza that is Christmas in America and Canada:
Imagine you, as a Christian, lived in a predominantly Jewish city. And starting in February every year, people started getting ready for Passover. Heck, some years it almost seems like it’s pushing right up against New Years! People and businesses putting Seder plates in the windows. Stores playing “hag gadiah” and “echad mi yodea” on loop for months. Articles in every newspaper about how to properly rid your home of chametz and host the best Seder. People decorating their lawns with stylized versions of the ten plagues and scenes of Moses getting rescued out of the Nile by the pharaoh’s daughter. Libraries hanging red streamers on their doorframes and electric flames in all of their hedges. Kids excitedly asking their parents what Eliahu is going to bring them. People wishing strangers “happy Passover” and “next year in Jerusalem” even if the stranger isn’t Jewish. (What? Don’t you Christians have a holiday around that time? One that’s based on Passover? So wishing you a happy Passover is just the same as wishing you a happy Easter, right? And who DOESN’T want to go to Jerusalem next year? What are you, some sorta killjoy?)
And that’s not to mention the after-school Passover specials, the long reminiscences on talk shows about Passovers of old and their particular families’ traditions, the special Passover cups at Starbucks, the shopping malls all trying to outdo each other on who can have the most lavish and eye-catching Passover decorations (some of them three storeys high), the armies of Eliahus who descend upon those same shopping malls to get the wish lists from all the kids (What? Eliahu doesn’t visit Christian houses? But who brings presents to your kids?), and the institution that is annual Passover cards updating friends and family on how you’ve been doing all year.
This goes on FOR TWO MONTHS.
Of course everyone — Jews and non-Jews alike — get the days of the Seder off; it’s a statutory holiday. You get automatic overtime if you work them, and people give you commiserating looks if you have to work anyway. (Your protests of “but I don’t celebrate Passover” fall on deaf ears. You poor darling, not celebrating Passover with your family and friends! You must be so lonely!) And then when you come back to work, everyone excitedly compares their seders and all the fun they had! “Oh, you don’t celebrate Passover? That must be so hard for you. Do you know any Jews? Did any of THEM invite you to celebrate Passover with them? You could have gone to THOSE seders!”
It feels like the whole world is OBSESSED with Passover for months. People even tell you that it’s not “really” religious — so many people use a secular Haggadah. And so many songs aren’t about God at all! You can still celebrate Passover as a Muslim or a Christian! Because Passover is for everyone! Share the joy! Spread the love! Happy Passover! Chag Sameach!
…And that’s how it feels to be a Canadian Jew during November and December.