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Fearless Philosophy For Free Minds: Christmas Under Attack?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Christmas Under Attack?

Over the past several years, a new phenomenon seems to have overtaken the country. What used to be Christmas trees when I was a boy are now referred to as holiday trees. Christmas lights have similarly become holiday lights and Christmas parties are now holiday or winter parties. You may have also noticed at stores such as Mervyn’s no longer wish you a ‘Merry Christmas’ but simply a ‘Happy Holiday.’ What’s going on here?

Many conservative pundits feel that Christmas is under attack. While there are some rather anal retentive scrooges out there trying to completely remove Christmas from the calendar, I don’t believe that most people and businesses such as Mervyn’s, who prefer to replace the word ‘Christmas’ with ‘holiday,’ fit into this category. Retailers have found themselves in a no-win situation. If they use the term ‘Christmas,’ they might offend customers who celebrate another holiday such as Hanukah. If they want to play it safe and wish everyone a ‘Happy Holiday,’ they run the risk of offending certain Christians who believe their holiday is the only holiday celebrated in December. Ultimately, retailers do not care what holiday customers choose to celebrate as long as they buy lots and lots of merchandise, particularly during this season; a season many of them count on to make the majority of their profits for the year. It really isn’t anymore complicated than that.

When it comes to the holidays, I think everyone should not take anyone’s ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’ to heart; take it in the spirit the person intended. I know this may anger many traditionalists but the truth of the matter is that when you live in a country that is made up of many other cultures and beliefs, there will be people who celebrate certain holidays and will not celebrate others. You can not force someone to celebrate Christmas can you?

There are certain pundits who would like to do just that. I have heard certain radio personalities say that they are on a mission to put ‘Christmas in your face’. One of these pundits said that when someone wishes him a ‘Happy Holiday’ he’ll respond and say: “Hey pal, it’s Christmas! Just celebrate it okay!” Do we have to be that intolerant of how others want to wish us well?

We should be thankful that there are people out there who respect us enough to wish us a ‘Happy Holiday.’ Using this term is a way to express to others that you want them to enjoy the holiday season, whatever holiday it may be; not a way to express one’s disdain for Christmas.

At the risk of offending everyone, with the intent of offending no one, I want to wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanza, a Festive Festivus, a Wonderful Winter Solstice (Did I leave anyone out?), and a prosperous New Year!


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