Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas - War or not?

So, is there actually a war on Christmas or are people who celebrate Christmas simply tone deaf to the new realities of a multicultural America? One way of telling is to look at how generic terms like "happy holidays" are used. Are they really used in an effort to include multiple faiths or are people really trying to suppress any mention of Christmas?

One telling indicator is that there are some items that are exclusive to Christmas. The decorated evergreen is the prime example. It is part of Christmas but it is not part of Christianity. It is not part of Christian faith. It's origins are obscure and may be pagan. So why do governments and businesses refer to them as "holiday trees" or "winter holiday trees"? Who are they fooling?

No one according to Chase Banks. They forbid putting up evergreen trees in their branches no matter what it is called. They still allow the poinsettia which is another plant that is exclusive to Christmas which shows that they are simply confused. Maybe it is because the poinsettia doesn't have "Christ" or "Christmas" in the name?

This works the other way, also. Are any items associated with other December holidays given a generic name? Does anyone sell a "holiday candle holder" instead of a menorah?

There is also the date. Hanukkah moves around. This year it came in early December so there is no way that you can wish someone a happy holiday in late December and include the Jews. The Winter Solstice was December 21 so the same problem applies as of the 22nd. That only leaves Christmas and Kwanzaa. My wife recently saw a sign saying that a business would be closed December 23 and 24 for the Winter Holiday". There is only one holiday that this could apply to so why not say it?

Kwanzaa deserves a special mention. It was invented in 1966 as a holiday that blacks could claim as their own. As this article points out, very few blacks celebrate it. Because of its associations with black nationalism it is pretty much limited to black nationalists.

The real giveaway came from NPR personality Nina Tottenburg who said, "And I was at – forgive the expression – a Christmas party at the Department of Justice". So people from NPR feel the need to apologize in advance if they use the word "Christmas" in any form.

If this isn't a war on Christmas then what is it?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

UPDATE: Nina Tottenburg now says that she has not problem with saying Christmas and that her comments were meant as a dig at the DOJ's "Holiday Party" and that they are the ones who refused to use the word "Christmas".

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