Sunday, December 09, 2007

War on Christmas Redux

I was flipping through the channels the other night and Bill O'Really was on FOX news talking about this year's "War on Christmas." I've got to go back to the archives to find some of the stuff we talked about over here.

This "War on Christmas" stuff has been going on for a while. I remember waay back when I was in CCD (Catholic meetings for young folks) lo, those many years ago back on Island City. One week during a holiday season, when I was growing my hair out and wearing steel toed combat boots around like I had something to prove, CCD brought in a guest speaker to tell us wayward kids about how we were "losing what Christmas was all about." His primary example? That some folks called Christmas "X-mas."

Being the smart ass that I was (so much has changed, after all) I raised the point that only a few weeks earlier, we had learned that Emperor Constantine of Rome had converted before a great battle, and had Chi - Rho labeled on some of his armies' banners. Chi - Rho were the first two Greek letters of "Christ," and the Greek symbol for Chi is an "X," so that saying "X-mas" is just a different way of saying "Christmas."

The Christmas Warriors (tm) also can't stand when I bring up that the word "holiday" is just a conjuntion of the words "Holy" and "Day." So all those folks who are mad at "Holiday Trees" and "Happy Holidays" are getting angry at people for saying, effectively, have a blessed Holy Day. But excuse me for being literate. (As a disclaimer, I do come from the only state in the Union to replace the Confederate flag on their state flag with a different Confederate flag but nobody's complaining anymore, such is the importance of symbolism...)

The guest speaker didn't like me very much. Can't imagine why. It sure is tough to let really real history get in the way of all that mythmaking. (HT: Clicked) But I've never been the expert on the Christmas thing anyway, as the holiday (there I go again) is generally a cold time of the year, and I prefer palm trees to misteltoe and red, red wine in a plastic cup on the beach to roasting chestnuts. But my parents have a fire pit in their back patio on Island City, so we make due. Least the ice in the cooler don't melt so fast, is what I'm sayin'.

The Moms, on the other hand, gets really into it, and there is a chance you will be able to see her house from orbit for all the shiny lights.

This year, the first blogger I see to bring up the tWOC is DADvocate, and though he and I see this issue very very differently, he brings up a hilarious point. The Surgeon General has chided Santa Claus for "being too fat" to role model to kids in our obese society. Now, that's comedy.


Leigh C. said...

Hee! They could always replace all the cheesy Christmas inflatables with cheesy Hanukah inflatables. Just sayin'...

Besides which, Bethlehem probably wasn't very snowy that time of year anyhow. Chilly, maybe, but not snowy.

Dante said...

This year Wal-Mart is strongly in the pro-Christmas camp. I swear they hired Mr. Subliminal to find new ways to insert the word Christmas into every conversation. It comes off as awkward and obviously scripted to some degree but that may be the point. At least the folks upset with Wal-Mart last year after their Holiday Tree debacle can easily recognize that Wal-Mart is putting forth an effort to make things right this year.

The X-mas debate is particularly ironic since Christ is just as much an abbreviation as X is. Christos is the proper full Greek transliteration. Anyone using the term Christmas who is upset about X-mas is a big fat hypocrite.

Being someone who doesn't celebrate Christmas myself, the universal term holiday has to be my favorite display of PC ignorance. For some reason, it's particularly hard for me to get across that just renaming your celebration from Christ to Holy doesn't make it any more OK for me to participate in it. It's also hard to get across that I really really really don't mind being left out of the entire hullabaloo (wow, spell check recognizes that word).

I also really don't understand the folks who try to ruin everyone else's holiday by acting like their minority view should become the norm. If you're in the minority, recognize it and get on with your life. You're not going to be any larger a minority by using things like the legal system to get your way. Christmas is also a secular holiday these days but it very obviously has religious roots. Trying to hide the roots (or in some cases forcibly removing them) doesn't make it any less a religious holiday. Don't like people bringing religion to a religious event? Find your own holiday. Here is a nice example of just that.

dadvocate said...

I'm not so sure we see things that differently. I don't like the prohibition on employees saying "Merry Christmas" but "Happy Holidays" is fine too. Plus, it is a quandry when not everyone is a Christian.

Where I work we have Christians, Jews, probably a few Hindus/Buddhists and a few non-believers. We call our holiday party the "Holiday Party." No problem. I have a chubby Santa candle on my desk. It actually sits there all year round as I'm too lazy to redecorate for every season.

I think we could loosen up on both sides of the aisle about this. The Christmas Tree has its roots (pun intended) in the ancient pagan religion, probably Mithraism according to my religious studies professor.

Indeed, Christ wasn't born in December. According to available records, the Romans weren't conducting a census in December during that time period. Celebrating birth, or re-birth, duing the winter solstice when days start getting longer again is an ancient tradition.

Just relax, drink your red wine and be glad that despite all the world's problems you still live in the best time to be alive yet.

mominem said...

What rubs me the wrong was is that people seem to be offended by other people celebrating what they believe.

If Leigh wants to have a "Haunkkah Tree" she can if she wants, I'd love to see her inflatables.

I sometimes send out Christmas Card that say "Seasons Greetings" and I send some to my Jewish friends.

But changing the names an pretending its something else seems to me to be simply dishonest and insulting to everyone.

sophmom said...

Le-igh! Mominem wants to see your inflatables!


Leigh C. said...

I didn't wanna go there, but you just HAD to nudge it over the edge, di'n't'cha?

the lady said...

I'm a little late on the comment but i'll put in my piece anyways...

as an employee in retail-hell while in college, i was placed for one of my shifts as a "greeter" and was told to say "Merry Christmas and welcome to Warner Brothers" to everyone that walked in. I chided that command with the point that not everyone celebrates Christmas. I won my point but still had to say Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings instead (and yes, cousin pat, i brought up the holy day/holiday thing to them later).

I make it a point to buy my cards each year and send them out but they never say Merry Christmas or have any religious connotation. I like to decorate my house but the same rules apply--Santa, snowmen and no mention of Christmas. Why go through all this trouble? To me, it's the principle of not expecting that the whole world should believe what I believe. For example, today one of my coworkers had on a pin that said "Jesus is the reason for the season". I find this inappropriate since that is fact to her but not necessarily to all of the people that she helps in the public hospital setting. I wouldn't be allowed to wear a Terrapin Beer t-shirt to work because it promotes alcohol but she can promote her religion. I find that all a bit hypocritical.

What really chaps my hide are people that tell me that since I'm not Christian, I'm NOT ALLOWED to technically celebrate Christmas. To me, Christmas is the time of year when I get to spend money that I don't really have to make people happy. Christmas is when I get to drive to hell and back to see all our families who live in the Greater Atlanta area (the record was 500 miles of driving in three days making 8 stops a few years ago before dog and kid). To me it doesn't matter what you celebrate or if you don't celebrate anything at all--things like these are created to form bonds and make friends and family feel more cohesive.

But if you think I have opinions about this--don't ever ask me to talk about praying before high school football games!!!!!