Monday, December 5, 2005

'Twas the fight before Christmas

Christmas, my friends, is under attack.

That's according to some in the media, like Bill O'Reilly, who've been taking the counter-fight to the ACLU and city councils all over America. According to these folks, there's a vast conspiracy (see: the left-wing media or homosexual agendas) to neuter Christmas.

Even in my local paper, one Jackson resident, Chris Markiewicz, said, "I think there is a movement afoot by a very small minority of people to totally secularize every aspect of the United States." He goes on to say there is a "real attack on Christian values in this country."

The thing is, this "fight" isn't a new one. Wackos have been battling the secular heathens for generations now. And do you know what? Christmas is still around.

To me, the killer is how people are trying to "preserve the sanctity" of Christmas (much like those who are trying to preserve marriage, right?), as if the rules governing our holidays were written in stone.

See if you agree: holidays are a means to escape from the everyday, the normal, the usual, and are a way to celebrate the things in life that really matter. Family, food, and iPods, right?

So why, in Santa's name, do we have to bring our partisan differences into the discussion about the holidays. Good will and peace toward men and women? Not this December.

Speaking of Santa. Do you know where the legend of Santa Claus came from? Most scholarship shows our treatment comes from Greek, Turkish, Dutch, and German (with some Russian thrown in) influences. There used to be no Santa Claus, Virginia, not until we made one up.

Clement C. Moore's "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" gave us the bearded jolly elf we all know and love today. The point is, Santa has changed. Quite a bit.

The same can be said for Christmas. Do some of your own research, just briefly, on the topic and you'll learn quite a bit. Holidays evolve, change, improve, whatever. Halloween wasn't always Halloween, for instance. So why are some so gung-ho to keep Christmas from evolving?

(Maybe my use of language gives some indication...)

Today, people have become aware that not everyone celebrates Christmas in the traditional Christian way. Jews, Muslims, and African Americans have their own take on the winter months. How do you get around the difficulty of wishing someone a good season without offending their religious leanings? Try this:

Happy Holidays! Seasons Greetings!

Man, that was tough. To some, you'd think I punched baby Jesus in the face by uttering those words.

But I didn't. I simply wished you a good December, however you celebrate it. And hey, I didn't say "Go fuck yourself." A "Happy Holidays" is much better than that, right?

Not to some.

Some businesses and towns take the whole thing a bit too far, I'll admit. Recently a man was chastised by his neighborhood association for putting up a nativity scene in his yard. That's silly. It's his property, he can display a bleeding pig heart on the cross for all I care.

One local businesswoman, working for Sears, was scared to show a reporter a memo from the corporate office saying employees couldn't say "Merry Christmas."

There are two ways to look at this:

1.) This is America. The employee can say whatever they damn well please.

2.) If you work for a company, you're bound by their regulations as an employee. If a company says you can't unionize, you can't unionize. If a company says you can't say "Merry Christmas," you can't say "Merry Christmas."

What's funny is the same folks who fight for corporate rights and the "free market" system are the same ones lambasting these companies for policies regarding holiday greetings. There's some inconsistency in the arguments.

My view? This is America. Say what you want. Just don't get pissed when I say "Happy Holidays" because (a) I'm not a Christian and (b) you feel I'm trying to "undermine Christian values."

Celebrate what you want. Just don't impose your own celebrations on others.

It's downright un-American. And it's not very Santa-like.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

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