Hubby and I went to the local IKEA for some meatballs and a little light shopping. Passing though the several sections, we were were greeted with signs wishing us a particular happy holiday, sometimes with a word of explanation of what the holiday was, or how it was celebrated. Every conceivable winter holiday was included, with exacting neutrality, Yule/Jul — perhaps the most Swedish of the offerings — standing in for the winter solstice.
After Hubby learned about Divali, he and I wondered if Christmas would ever roll around. It did, by the discount compact florescent bulbs. (Which we needed.)
But far from making Christmas a bland cultural festival, as usual, the sign described it as “the birth of Jesus Christ” and it was observed with “midnight mass or church services.” I was amazed at the, well, religiousness of the description. (Which was matched with the other religious holidays, like Eid.)
None of the “magic of Christmas is in your heart” (see Polar Express) tripe that we get when Christmas is treated as the default, and therefor civic and semi-secular, December holiday.
The IKEA promotion has it right: let each holiday be, and let it be itself. Let individuals decided which one he or she would identify with.
Pluralism at the cost of integrity and identity is no pluralism at all. Now, can Unitarian Universalists do the same?