I get the sneaking suspicion that outside of North America simply saying "I am from X country" is enough of an answer to when people ask you "Where you from?" in Canada (and I think the US, though I have less authority on that one) it isn't. You're Irish/Scottish/Lithuanian/German. You're African/Chinese/First Nations. You're what ever bizarre and often convoluted mix you are, as to simply Canadian.
My family, on all sides, has been in Canada for at least 4 generations. As many people who have a blood line that has stayed in a place that has a fair assortment of backgrounds, mine has gotten hilariously mixed up, and I look a little... Exotic? When I'm talking to someone who's Greek, they think I'm Greek. Same with Lebanese, Italians, Ukrainians... The list goes on. Rather than try to go into it all, I just tell people I'm a mutt and hope they leave it at that. They never do. However I'm not joking when I say I can't keep track of my own genealogy, I discovered that my family name used to be a "ski" but was changed when my Grandfather's family first moved to... the US before coming to Canada. The border guard just went "Yeah, you're Smith* now. Welcome to USA". Whenever people start pressing for my family history (this is a totally normal thing here) I short hand it to the two easiest to explain ones. "French Catholic and English Jewish"** they also come from different economic classes, too, for extra fun.
Yeah, I know, I know. I'm sure you can imagine what it's like when you get the two sides of my family together.
They fucking love each other. No, really. I never realized that was strange until I was like, 16. What do you mean people don't ignore each others religion and backgrounds and judge them simply based on who they are and what they do? I miss that delusion. *Wistful sigh*
Although all of this is a very round about way of saying "I celebrate more than on pantheons worth of holidays simply because of my upbringing" and while I am on paper Catholic, I was raised with Jewish traditions, too. So when December rolls around and it becomes polite to tact on some sort of holiday greeting at the end of any conversation, it is a big struggle for me. No, really. Do I wish them Merry Christmas? Happy Hanuka? Do I try to potato masher the two together? Christmkunaka? Is that prefaced with happy or merry? Shit, what about New Years? That's just around the corner, too, right? So instead I just wish people "Happy Holidays".
People for some reason don't like that. Near strangers to good friends will roll their eyes and say "Oh, stop with the PC crap". My Facebook feed is FILLED with "IT'S MERRY CHRISTMAS NOT HAPPY HOLIDAY" venom.
It is at this point that I grit my teeth, fight the urge to launch into a rant about how they celebrate both Christmas AND New Years so "Happy Holidays" is really just a good catch all, and it's dickish to assume that everyone celebrates YOUR holiday. It's bad enough that two months are jacked for it, and people have to listen to Christmas music and see Christmas decorations everywhere. Can you fathom how obnoxious Christmas is for people who don't celebrate it? Are you aware of how big of a jackwagon you're being by policing me for wanting to simplify and be inclusive at a time of year that is very exclusive?
I don't do that, though. I grit my teeth, make deliberate eye contact, smile sweetly and say "Happy Chanukah!"
This ends one of three ways.
1) The person smiles, and graciously wished me a Happy Hanukkah back.
2) They look confused, apparently not totally clear what Hannukah is.
3) They look awkward and guilty.
I'm happy with 1 or 3, when 2 happens I get a little bit depressed.
Now, don't get me wrong, I have no issue with someone saying "Merry Christmas!". I used to wish it to people, and never once was I given flack or an eye roll for it. No, I only get that for "Happy Holidays!" and that, dear readers, is where I take issue. If someone wants to go around and feel they have the freedom to wish people "Merry Christmas!" they should allow other people the freedom to choose what ever seasons greetings they want to without comment, too.
So, on that note, since Hanukkah started yesterday, Happy Holidays one and all!
*My last name isn't Smith, but something equally generic and simple.
** I mean Canadian English and French, for the record.