I don’t always assume people recognize that I am of the Jewish faith, though I do wear a recognizable symbol — the yarmulke — on my head. One December when my wife and I were in Macy’s to get new sheets, the sales clerk told me that we have to take our son (this was before his hair was so long that people almost always thought he was a girl) to see Santa Claus, because who wouldn’t want to see Santa Claus? I imagine that there are many responses that could have come from me, but what happened was I thanked her.
My wife told me recently about a shirt that some people have started wearing that says something along the lines of, “Happy Holidays (is what liberals say)” and then wishes the reader of the shirt a Merry Christmas. Such broad generalizations more or less universally rub me the wrong way. I am friendly with many a person who holds liberal political viewpoints but has no issue shouting out, “Merry Christmas!” to one and all.
As a general rule, I do not extend any sort of holiday greetings unless I know that the person to whom I am extending the greeting celebrates that holiday. Therefore, when I am invited into a Sukkah during the holiday of Succos, I have no issue wishing people a git Yom Tov because it seems reasonable that if you are in a Sukkah, you are there to celebrate the holiday. Similarly, when I see people dressed in fine clothing walking around my neighborhood on the Sabbath, I offer them a “Git Shabbos!” as it seems a reasonable thing to do. When I worked at Starbucks and people had presents in their arm gift-wrapped with trees and ornaments and Santa Claus, or wore Christmas sweaters, I didn’t hesitate to wish them an appropriate season’s greeting. When in doubt, I did not.
However, that did not mean that I took any sort of offense when people wished me a Merry Christmas — far from it. I took the presumption that they wanted to confer good tidings, and would and have always wished them the same. It seems pretty straight forward to me.