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Julia Ioffe’s twelve days of “Please don’t wish me a merry Christmas”

December 24, 2018

Image result for image christmas lights

On the first day of Christmas my true love (and GQ  correspondent) Julia Ioffe tweeted to me:

People, please stop wishing me a merry Christmas. It’s wonderful if you celebrate it, but I don’t and I don’t feel like explaining that to you either.

On the second day of Christmas my true love Julia Ioffe tweeted to me:

Going to start wishing you all a happy new year in September and see if you’re merry or confused.

On the third day of Christmas my true love Julia Ioffe tweeted to me:

The replies to these tweets are the religious equivalent of “you should smile more.”

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love Julia Ioffe tweeted to me:

For the record, I always say “Thank you. You, too.” But the omnipresence of Christmas for a whole month is deeply wearying and alienating to some of us who do not celebrate. If you want me respect you, please respect me, too.)

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love Julia Ioffe tweeted to me:

Also, I find the assumption that someone could only not be made merry by Christmas because they are a bad, angry, or unhappy person deeply…interesting.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love Julia Ioffe tweeted to me:

As you may have heard, I have some thoughts about the ubiquitous “merry Christmas” greeting so I wrote something about it. (Spoiler alert: I’m not angry, lonely, or bitter. Just not a Christian.)

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love Julia Ioffe wrote an entire Washington Post op-ed to me:

‘Twas five nights before Christmas, and my Lyft driver was the umpteenth person to wish me a “Merry Christmas” that day. He probably just meant it the way most people do, as a kind of December shorthand for “have a good day.” But he had a cross hanging from his rearview mirror. I said thank you, wished him the same, got out on my street — decorated with lights and wreaths and nativity scenes — went into my house and sighed….

If you’re not a part of the festivities, even its sparkling aesthetic can wear you down. When you are from a minority religion, you’re used to the fact that cabdrivers don’t wish you an easy fast on Yom Kippur. But it’s harder to get used to the oppressive ubiquity of a holiday like Christmas. “This is always the time of year I feel most excluded from society,” one Jewish friend told me. Another told me it made him feel “un-American.”

To say it’s off-putting to be wished a merry holiday you don’t celebrate — like someone randomly wishing you a happy birthday when the actual date is months away — is not to say you hate Christmas. It is simply to say that, to me, Julia Ioffe, it is alienating and weird, even though I know that is not intended. I respond: “Thanks. You, too.” But that feels alienating and weird, too, because now I’m pretending to celebrate Christmas. It feels like I’ve verbally tripped, as when I reply “You, too!” to the airport employee wishing me a good flight. There’s nothing evil or mean-spirited about any of it; it’s just ill-fitting and uncomfortable. And that’s when it happens once. When it happens several times a day for a month, and is amplified by the audiovisual Christmas blanketing, it’s exhausting and isolating. It makes me feel like a stranger in my own land.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love Julia Ioffe tweeted to me:

Also: merry Christmas to everyone celebrating!

On the ninth day day of Christmas my true love Julia Ioffe retweeted to me:

I’m a Jew. I asked my step-father why he refused to celebrate Xmas. He said, “In the old country, it was the traditional time for pogrom.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love Julia Ioffe tweeted to me this response to someone who had tweeted, “I am surprised that you haven’t been featured on Fox as a foot soldier in the War on Christmas”:

There’s always 2019!

On the eleventh day of Christmas….

Now, I’m not going to be a meanie and join the hundreds of folks who tweeted “Merry Christmas” to Ioffe over the past few days out of pure spite.

That would violate the Yuletide spirit of good cheer. Plus it would be just plain rude. Readers, rest assured that if I know you’re Jewish, I’ll refrain from wishing you a merry Christmas–unless you wish me a merry Christmas first.

Furthermore, Ioffe already seems traumatized enough after that Lyft driver had the insolence to  victimize her by daring to utter the M-word followed by the C-word–even though he probably had no idea that she was Jewish, and indeed probably could scarcely see her face in the back seat on the dark December night that he drove her home.

And remember that Lyft drivers earn about a tenth of what GQ correspondents make and really should learn to respect their betters. I’m confident that Lyft will soon be ordering its drivers to take the crosses out of their cars and stick to “Happy Holidays”—if they want to continue driving for Lyft.

Meanwhile, what  can I say to cheer up Julia Ioffe who’s feeling so exhausted and isolated right now by all those lights and Nativity scenes and Wassail well-wishing? Oh I know–I’ll make a little joke about Ivanka Trump having sex with her father. That will make Julia feel better!

Update: Thanks for the shoutout, Steve Sailer.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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One Comment
  1. Forbes permalink

    But it’s harder to get used to the oppressive ubiquity of a holiday like Christmas. “This is always the time of year I feel most excluded from society,” one Jewish friend told me. Another told me it made him feel “un-American.”

    America has been celebrating Christmas forever–since before its founding..

    Separate countries for separate people. May be Ioffe should move to a country more in-sync with her culture–as she has no desire to assimilate to America. Perhaps her home of Russia would be suitable–I understand it’s no longer communist. Solzhenitsyn moved back to the mother country after the Soviet Union disappeared.

    For myself, I can’t imagine moving to a foreign country and voicing my personal objections to their cultural traditions. It strikes me as an unhealthy way to live.

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