Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Celebrating Christmas

It’s the day before the day before Christmas Eve, and I have to ask…how many of you have been out caroling, or at least invited to go? How many of you have set up your Christmas tree, whether it be real or artificial? How many of you have put up your Christmas lights? I’ve seen a lot of huge displays in my neighborhood. Have you gotten out the Christmas music to play, or have you had the “All Christmas Music All the Time” station on, ever since they switched over from their normal head-banging music format on November 1st?

And shopping! Were you out with all the Black Friday craziness, or did you stay at home and do all your shopping online? Maybe, like me, you got started early, back on November 1st, and were practically done by the time Thanksgiving arrived.

Christmas parties! How could I forget about those? How many of you have been to, or given, Christmas parties so far? Or maybe you’ve got yours coming up tomorrow…or even Christmas Eve.

And let’s not forget church! Christmas Eve service, Christmas Day service, or both? When I was a kid, and a boy soprano in the paid choir at The Episcopal Church of St Andrew in South Orange, NJ, you got a 50¢ bonus if you made it to both the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. 50¢ was four comic books, so I could be counted on to make it to both services.

Have you done, or are you planning to do any of these things this year? And you’re able to do this without having to hide? You’re able to do these things in broad daylight (so to speak)? You’re able to do these things without fear of reprisals from armed government agents? If so, then let me let you in on a little secret…


Who are these people claiming that there’s a war on Christmas?

They’re people who confuse our trying to be considerate of the large portion of our population that doesn’t celebrate Christmas, and may not wish to have it shoved down their throats for six to seven weeks out of the year; with being told that you can’t celebrate Christmas at all.

They’re people who think that just because they’re still the majority religion in this country (for now), they should be able to call the shots for everyone.

They’re people who feel threatened and “bullied” because their child’s public school no longer does the annual Christmas-themed program in December, and has moved to a more generic winter-themed program in February, out of sensitivity for those in the school system (teachers included) who don’t celebrate the holiday.

But really…I ask of you…how can a 900-lb gorilla be bullied by anyone? Usually, when the 900-lb gorilla claims he’s being bullied, it’s because he’s being asked to share…which is something he’s never had to do before.

Is it really that horrible to say “Happy Holidays” to someone, knowing that no matter what they celebrate, you’ll be safe…even though upwards of 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas in some form?

Now I’ll admit, some people carry trying to be considerate of others to ridiculous lengths. Take the tree for example. It’s a freaking Christmas tree. It’s no more a “holiday tree” than a Chanukah menorah is a “holiday candelabra.” I can see where some of these well-intentioned, but ham-fisted attempts at inclusion may get to some people…

But they, by no means, constitute a “war on Christmas.”

What they do represent, however, is our good-natured struggle to figure out how best to be inclusive during a season whose main holiday has both religious and cultural significance and both religious and non-religious aspects to it.

And if the people who declare that there’s a “war on Christmas” really can’t celebrate the holiday without making everyone go along for the sleigh ride, whether they want to or not; if Christmas is totally lost to them without all the external trappings, then I would suggest that they read the definitive work on the subject, by Theodor Geisel.

That’s Theodor Seuss Geisel.

And maybe after that, their hearts will grow enough sizes to not get into such a snit about sharing the holiday season with others.

Merry Christmas to all…and to all a good night!

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