Wednesday, December 14, 2005


I don't know who peed in Bill O'Reilly's Wheaties to get him to declare the War on Christmas, but I wish they hadn't. I imagine that Bill got a memo from Murdoch saying that Faux News anchors needed find something to help distract the public from Bush's failures and halt the slide in his poll numbers. While searching for porn, he probably found a link to Faux News online store where he saw "Holiday Ornaments" on sale, and a War was born.

If reality meets my fantasy, then the plot has worked somewhat. Bush's numbers have bottomed out, and he even rebounded to 40% approval in recent days. However, the nutjobs on the right are taking this War on Christmas thing a bit too seriously. Just last night, I saw on the local news one of the "Georgia Gang" (kind of a talking heads program for Georgia politics on Sundays) hawking her own "Merry Christmas!" signs. She's a talk show host up in Hall County, GA who's making a buck off the "Merry CHRISTMAS (and f-ck you, atheist a-hole!)" movement.

I doubt that businesses have gone from a "Christmas Sale" to a "Holiday Sale" for any other reason than one of pure profit. It's about making money, and if you can extend that period by being more "inclusive", business is going to do just that. Anyone else remember the days when you never saw any Christmas advertisements until Thanksgiving? Now, you start seeing ornaments and other Christmas items by HALLOWEEN. At this rate, by the time I die, we'll be starting the Christmas shopping season right after July 4th.

Seriously, Christmas was attacked and conquered from a Christian perspective long ago. In many Christian traditions, this is the Advent season, which is like a "mini-Lent" of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. It's about God's grace for mankind, and SANTA is not included. I shudder to think how many children probably think that Santa was there to help Mary give birth to Jesus. Maybe Santa was one of the wisemen. The point is that the holiday has lost its meaning before now. Peace on Earth? Goodwill toward men? No sign of that today, especially with the current administration.

Of course, according to the right wingers, the "PC" crowd of liberals (Oh no! The L-word! And I don't mean Lesbian!) has made a determined plot to destroy Christmas and drive it from the public consciousness! If that's true, someone forgot to send me the memo for the meeting. Oh, that's right...that is because THERE WAS NO MEETING.

"Happy Holidays" grew as the Christmas shopping season extended past Thanksgiving to Halloween. Thanksgiving, I daresay, has merged with Christmas and New Years as the "Holiday Season". Makes sense; there are three national holidays in this time frame. Not to mention Ramadan and Hanukkah usually fall during this period too. It's a cornucopia of holidays that mean different things to different people. Saying Happy Holidays is a way for business to attract non-Christian customers and invite them into the national orgy of spending. After all, for Hanukkah, Jewish children are supposed to get one gift for each NIGHT of Hanukkah. It's not just one day of gifts; it's a week! I don't know if Ramadan has a gift component, but stores would love nothing better than for American Muslims to add one! Even atheists (like my father when I was growing up) celebrate Christmas as a family holiday if nothing else. For most people, it's like Thanksgiving. It's a time for families to get together, exchange presents, and either enjoy each other's company or remind one another why they only do this once a year.

Truly, the degradation of Christmas was started by the Roman Catholic Church as it attempted to attract pagans like the Druids and the Romans. Our Christmas tree is of German origin, and the exchanging of presents and bright decorations came from the Saturnalia celebration of Rome. The winter solstice occurs on Dec. 21, and it has traditionally been a high holy day for pagans, probably b/c it was the shortest day of the year. Jesus was not born on December 25th. It's more likely he was born in late spring if the scholarship I've read is correct. But if it made the leap to accepting Christ easier for the pagans, the Church saw no harm in setting Dec. 25 as Jesus' birthday since Jesus a) wasn't born in a hospital and b) didn't have a birth certificate. The Santa story was born later, and thanks to Coke and The Night before Christmas poem, has exploded into the shopping orgy we have today.

I personally don't care if you say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" to me. I will wish you the same, whatever you say. I generally use "Happy Holidays" simply because I do want to be inclusive. It's not about excluding fellow Christians; it's about including my fellow citizens who are not. Here in Georgia, the War on Christmas has produced people who practically shout CHRISTMAS! at you when saying "Merry Christmas". It's ridiculous, not to mention aggressive and blatantly offensive. Just say "Merry Christmas" if you want. But don't lean forward, give your head a sister roll, and shout "CHRISTMAS" with eyes bugging out, daring someone to say something. That is the antithesis of the season, and I daresay that Jesus himself would not be pleased that this is how you choose to celebrate the season of His birth.

Christmas is not in danger! So chill out, have some egg nog, and have a happy holidays, merry Christmas, and happy new year!

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