Defending Christmas

All the Whos down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot, but the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, did not. –Dr. Seuss

It is the Christmas season and once again Christmas itself is the target of a secular and atheistic jihad. If you didn’t know better you might think that the word ‘Christmas’ was the dirtiest of dirty words and one not worthy of being uttered in public.

Salvation Army bell ringers with their red kettles, Christmas carols, colored lights and Christmas trees are now increasingly considered to be “controversial”. Celebration of the ‘holidays’ abound but to actually spot the word Christmas is increasingly rare and worthy of notice. Both corporate America and government institutions have abandoned the spiritual, cultural and traditional celebrations of Christmas.

Instead, the Winter Holiday PC police prowl the nation threatening public schools who might dare to have red and green napkins at their annual ‘holiday party’ during the ‘Winter Break’. Anything that might remotely trigger the word‘Christmas’ or conjure up images of a baby in a manger has become a target ripe for extermination. No longer are we treated to ‘Merry Christmas’ at retailers but are forced to settle for a vague ‘Happy Holidays’ as we rush to pick up our ‘holiday tree’ at the local haven of mass consumption. Of course, it would appear that the fact that the word ‘holiday’ is a shortened version of ‘holy day’ has escaped those seeking to purify the public spaces from the evils of Christianity. Just wait until they figure out that the fat, jolly man in the red suit is loosely associated with a 4th century bishop and saint. What a mess that will turn out to be.

My business banks with Wells Fargo so I visit the local branch on a daily basis. Last year they had some very generic signs about the holidays in ‘non-Christmas colors’ and then a big sign talking about Wells Fargo’s commitment to the seven principles of Kwanzaa. There are no references to Christmas whatsoever and the usual salute to the relatively minor Jewish holiday of Hanukkah was noticeably absent. When I spoke with one of the tellers and mentioned their lack of Christmas references she proudly pointed out the newly erected Christmas tree as their commitment to Christmas. It was slowly and patiently explained to me that Kwanzaa is a ‘cultural’ holiday and not a religious one so it’s ‘ok’ for them to refer to it by name. She then proceeded to tell me about a number of complaints from customers that they had received in regards to their primary focus on Kwanzaa. Apparently, I was not the only one who remembered the reason for the season and what holiday the vast majority of Americans are actually celebrating.

You’ve got to hand it to those public relations experts at Well’s Fargo. What a bunch of spineless, politically correct dolts. I wonder if they are aware that the founder of Kwanzaa ( rejected Christmas and believed that blacks shouldn’t celebrate a “white man’s holiday”? ( I, for one, proudly salute Well’s Fargo Bank for performing exhaustive research in preparation for the annual ‘Christmas controversy’.

Every year we experience the same tired old complaints about Christmas and the determined effort by a fanatical few and their multitude of cowed and brainwashed minions to trivialize and secularize the traditional concepts of the Christmas holiday celebration. Maybe if our luck holds we might actually be able to purchase a Christmas card to give away at Christmas. Personally, I’m saving all my ‘holiday cards’ for Earth Day or Ramadan. I think it will make them a bit more extra special next year. Some may say that at best we may gain only small, paltry victories in regards to the gangs of grinches and they may be right. The fact that there is a “Christmas controversy” at all only reflects the spiteful vision and hateful pettiness of those who tirelessly toil to remove every vestige of Christianity, and religion in general, from the sight and sound of the average citizen. The concept that in this great country we have the freedom of religion, not the freedom from religion, seems to elude them.

So what is one to do but to take a few small, but courageous, steps to help fight off the stifling cultural tyranny by those who so desperately seek to drive Christ from Christmas. First and foremost, don’t shop at those retailers who obviously are avoiding using the word ‘Christmas’ in their displays, advertising or greetings. Cheerfully greet your own customers and clients with ‘Merry Christmas’ and respond with a warm ‘Merry Christmas’ to anyone wishing you ‘Happy Holidays’. Above all else, speak out against the ‘tyranny of hypersensitivity’ that seeks to strip Christianity from the traditions and history of this country.

As I returned to my local Wells Fargo bank the following day the Kwanzaa sign had been removed and I asked again if there had been some complaints. At this the teller stated that they were tired of the complaints and then she rather icily informed me that mine “had been the last straw”. Apparently the local branch of Wells Fargo had not appreciated my informal research into the acceptance of Kwanzaa by the general public. So chalk one up for Christmas, by standing up for principle the good guys might just win one once in a while. I have not yet had that good of an opportunity to strike a blow for Christmas this year, but I’m keeping my eyes open for just the right moment to ‘seize the day’. But big or small, every gesture counts.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Posted by David M. Huntwork at December 10, 2007 12:42 AM
Comment #240430

Crap, is it that time of year already? Listening to the whining from the Right about their imagined ‘war on Christmas’ that they need to fight against?

I thought I had more time before I bought my wife her Winter Break present.

FYI, there is no attack on Christmas, just people understanding and accepting that not everyone in the world celebrates Christmas as a religious holiday. Would you rather they all did, whether they believed in it or not?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2007 1:39 AM
Comment #240433

David, good job, you made it through the whole post without mistakenly blaming those damn liberals.

Do you think all this so called war on Christmas is due to the far right religious conservatives attempts to institutionalize their religion in the federal and state office buildings in recent years. I think they energized the “atheistic jihad” types into action with their violations of the constitution. Sort of brought this on themselves and now we all pay the price even in non governmental buildings where it shouldnt be a problem.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 10, 2007 2:22 AM
Comment #240437

I alway wonder what christians fear about this so-called war on christmas?

Do you really think “Christmas” is attacked? Do you fear it could lost that war? Do you really think political correctness will be enough to kill it?

Maybe what you fear is that the corporate “church” may have stolen Christmas and have no shame now to remove any religion tint in it in order to expand its market share?

After all, your bank, before being a political correctness temple, is a capitalism temple…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 10, 2007 7:10 AM
Comment #240438

We will not save Christmas by being so egotistical as to make ourselves it’s self-appointed protectors, forcing people to answer to us for not acknowledging the holiday in a full Christian manner.

When people talk about the Christmas spirit, they do not talk about people trying to get everybody to march in lockstep with their vision of the holiday, they talk about generosity, kindness, cheerfulness, love, and other bright and happy moods and virtues. We’re celebrating God’s gift to humanity; we shouldn’t try to act like we’re that ourselves.

For the control you may gain over other people’s holiday practices, and perhaps one day getting the major institutions to celebrate it as a Christian holiday, you’re managing to give your religion another black eye. One more person standing as an accuser, one more person acting like their Christianity is better than all the others. One more person expressing the religion in anger, vilifying their opponents, imposing personal standards on other’s faith.

How many people are the Christmas warriors alienating, making a stumbling block of themselves to? How many more people will look at Christians because of this and see moralizing control freaks who can’t tolerate others, who see themselves as superior to all the rest?

This is a reaction from fear, fear that grows into anger and hatred. You got to do better than that, if you want Christianity to spread, not wither.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 10, 2007 8:19 AM
Comment #240439

Thus is the voice of inclusion and tolerance.

Posted by: tomd at December 10, 2007 8:37 AM
Comment #240440


I find it ironic that you are criticizing your bank for not being overtly Christian enough. Wasn’t it Jesus himself who kicked the moneylenders out of the temple? Maybe the bankers just getting even. :)

Posted by: Woody Mena at December 10, 2007 8:45 AM
Comment #240446

We Christians would sometimes do well to keep a sense of perspective about the “Christ Mass”. We ought to remember the winter celebration of a birth that probably took place in the spring was intended to piggyback on the placement of old winter solstice pagan celebrations, not so much eliminating them among these converts as infusing them with new meaning.

We would do well to remember that for centuries Christmas was no where near the grand celebration it is today. Our modern tradition of Christmas celebrations actually traces itself to the introduction of the evergreen “Christmas tree” to British society by Queen Victoria’s German husband,Prince Albert.

Even then Christmas was a much quieter holiday before the 20th century. Two particular things worked together to make it what it has been until very recently. First, marketers found they could use the old tradition of exchanging gifts at Christmas to symbolize God’s gift of the Christ child to make money. Second, in the horrors of W.W.II soldiers by the many millions felt the greatest nostalgia for home as they remembered the quiet family celebrations of their childhood. It is no accident that many of our more secular Christmas tunes (White Christmas, I’m Coming Home for the Holidays, I’ll be Home for Christmas) date from the war and years immediately afterward.

To a generation brutalized by having to kill and kill and kill in a strange land there was a tremendous reassurance in a holiday founded in childhood innocence, a place of refuge, and a mother’s love. That is not something we can defend by standing up for the word “Christmas”.

We defend Christmas best by remembering the original gift and living as though it was more important that we were individually changed by that memory than it was that we could gain some cultural advantage it might bring.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 10, 2007 10:32 AM
Comment #240447

By the way, David, wasn’t Theodore Seuss Geisel a Jew? And didn’t he point out that Christmas came in spite of the grinch and the loss of all the trappings and stuff?

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 10, 2007 10:41 AM
Comment #240451

I thought bill oraly of fixed news won the war on Christmas?

Posted by: Jeff at December 10, 2007 11:22 AM
Comment #240455

Wow,we finally agree on something! Must be the spirit of the season.

Bah! Humbug!

Posted by: BillS at December 10, 2007 12:05 PM
Comment #240457

If someone is fighting a war on Christmas then they are not winning around here.

Posted by: George in SC at December 10, 2007 12:11 PM
Comment #240460

So, there is an attack on the Christian Christmas?

So…if this is true…as a Christian, what are you supposed to do? You DO have another cheek, don’t you?

If someone tries to impose their religion on you, would you let them, just to be PC?

Religion is a highly PERSONAL belief. If others agree with you, good.

If others DISagree with you, forgive them and treat them as you yourself would be treated.

Just remember, the perception of Christmas is nothing more than a marketing ploy to get your dollars.

The TRUE meaning of Christmas, however, is a highly personal acknowlegement of the birth of our Lord and Savior that fills your heart, mind and spirit. It is that knowledge and faith that makes Christmas a celebration of joy for those who believe…and an empty shell of meaningless consumerism for those who do not.

Therefore, for those who believe in the TRUE meaning of Christmas, I say (and MEAN), “Merry Christmas.”

For those who do not, I sincerely pray that this joyous time of the year finds you with family and friends and full of the spirit of love for your fellow human beings.

Posted by: Jim T at December 10, 2007 12:39 PM
Comment #240464

I remember last year the big brouhaha was that people were walking into Walmart and hearing “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas”. Republicans went crazy, and Walmart had to issue a statement explaining that they had no policy barring anyone from saying “merry Christmas”. The polite people working as greeters just decided to say “happy holidays” on their own. There is no war on Christmas. There are plenty of rabidly paranoid Republicans though.

Posted by: Max at December 10, 2007 2:19 PM
Comment #240485

For those of you who celebrate a special winter celebration that just happens to occur on December 25th I say happy celebration. Sure wish you would pick another day so all this squabbling over an actual Christmas celebration would end. Or better yet, I wish all the Christian religions of the world would pick a day that more closely follows the New Testament account of Christ’s birth. Sometime in the spring. Christian’s could then be free to celebrate the true Christmas and all others could ignore our special day. Retail stores surely wouldn’t mind loosing tens of millions of Christians buying presents for others for giving on Dec. 25th. Schools and government offices wouldn’t close on Dec. 25th unless Congress wanted to perpetuate the custom. The spring day world-wide Christianity chooses to celebrate the birth of Christ could be a Sunday, as is Easter, so Christian kids and workers would have the day off anyway. No more would we have the offensive Merry Christmas greeting on December 25th.

Posted by: Jim at December 10, 2007 7:37 PM
Comment #240488

Christmas is very personal, as someone pointed out. But what the author is trying to say is that by seeking to be non-offensive, businesses offend. It’s really that simple. If we are inclusive, let’s include everyone-Christians too. If we are pretending to honor nothing in the name of non-offense, we dishonor everything. I say MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! to all you grinches out there. And I sincerely mean it.

Posted by: Steve at December 10, 2007 7:50 PM
Comment #240489

The war on Christmas seems to have worked from my point of view, and apparently based on your posts it is my problem.

I have to pick Christmas cards that are not religious for fear of offending co-workers.

At the holiday party the other night I accidently said Merry Christmas at my table at the end of the night and got several snorts and one wife pointed out that they don’t celebrate Christmas. I felt bad.

I let my MP3 player, play my 20 year Christmas songs list in my office in the back ground. I as asked to play classical or jazz, but not Christmas music by HR.

There is actually no war on Christmas is more of an insurgency meant to get people so tired of looking over their shoulder that they have to celebrate it in secret.

Can someone reconcile for me why for decades we have celebrated but now we have to deal with things like I did above? Where has Christmas and its celebration hurt those that are not religious? Hurt them to the point where I am making sure my Christmas cards have not crosses on them … and wondering if I am offending someone just by sending it.

Posted by: Honest at December 10, 2007 7:54 PM
Comment #240490

Perhaps people are just sick of Christian victimology.

I’m an atheist. I don’t go to atheist meetings or organize anti-religious conventions.

I was raised in a country that blairs Christmas music from Radio and TV, sells Christmas in Newspapers and puts up lights at the malls, streets and buildings all over.

I don’t hate Christmas. I have bought presents for kids and girlfriends, I have even sent out Christmas cards.

I resent the pressure however, to participate in this commercial enterprise or be viewed as a grinch. I like a day off.

Get over it. Christmas is what you make of it in your life. You don’t have to impose it on others to make it mean something to you, do you? If you don’t get enough of Christmas in this country, you must be hiding in a cave.

Posted by: googlumpugus at December 10, 2007 8:06 PM
Comment #240492

Goog, I can respect your answer and your position. In someways that is how I would hope I felt if Christmas were not an important holiday to me. That I would accept it for what it is and what is good/fun about it.

Posted by: Honest at December 10, 2007 8:20 PM
Comment #240495

Christmas is a holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus, plain and simple. A good teacher to atheists maybe and savior to Christians. The offense is the annoyance caused from religiphobes. They walk around with a chip on their shoulder trying to find something to complain about that doesn’t fit into their bigoted so called “secular” “enlightened” mindset. They then sensitize businesses who just want to put out a good public image.

I also have the same annoyance toward anti Halloween Christians. It was a lot of fun dressing up and soaping.. I mean trick or treating. I drove faster so my kids had extra candy to share with me. Some kids look kind of natural in demon outfits.

Holidays are great fun if you just take them at face value and have fun. I used to dislike the bell ringers but you got to hand it to them, it takes commitment to put up with the public in the freezing cold. I would just give out of admiration even if they are an army for “salvation” and you don‘t believe in it.

Posted by: Kruser at December 10, 2007 10:33 PM
Comment #240496

Oh by the way for your card dilemma, I would find ones with the biggest manger scene and send them out. Why should you have to defend an obviously Christian holiday. Let them sniffle while you have fun.

Posted by: Kruser at December 10, 2007 10:45 PM
Comment #240500

I don’t know where ya live David, but I can assure ya that Christmas is alive and well here in South Georgia. Even over in that liberal bastion of Valdosta greeted with very hearty “Merry Christmas” in every place I’ve been.
And the schools still have Christmas Vacation.
But like Lee Jamison said, Christ was most likely born in the spring or summer. Not in the middle of the winter.
Christmas was a pagan holiday until the Catholic Church ‘Christianized’ it. And if ya care to check it out there is nothing in the Bible that tells us to celebrate the birth of Christ.
That doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with Christmas except that it’s gotten way to commercial to be considered a religious holiday by a whole heap of folks. And what’s with all the white lights?
Personally I’m not offended by being wished ‘Happy Holidays’. I only get offend when someone gets offended by me wishing them “Merry Christmas”.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 11, 2007 12:09 AM
Comment #240502
Above all else, speak out against the ‘tyranny of hypersensitivity’ that seeks to strip Christianity from the traditions and history of this country.

Talk about hypersensitivity. If I want to celebrate the holidays instead of Christmas then I will. If Wells Fargo wants to put up a Kwanza display then that is their business. That doesn’t mean that there is a “war on Christmas.” It just means that I live in a free country, where I have a right to freely express my religious beliefs.

BTW, Happy Holidays!

Posted by: Dr. Gnostic at December 11, 2007 1:40 AM
Comment #240528

If there is a war against Christmas going on in America then it is reasonable to assume that the majority of those prosecuting the war are Christians. Since something like 87 percent of our population consider themselves Christians, I would assume that it would be rather difficult for a mere 13 percent of the population to prosecute the war against the will of such a large majority. It seems that the majority of complaints are that corporations are prosecuting this supposed war. But again, it seems that one could assume that the majority of those who run the corporations as well as a majority of the share holders of those corporations are Christians.

I was a child in the 1950’s and I have seen very little appreciable change in the way we celebrate Christmas today that we did in the 50’s.

There is a phenomenon in my town every Christmas and I am curious if it is local or if other communities have a similar situation. The most obvious, most unavoidable kettle holders and bell ringers are long haired bearded men and women in tight leather pants or jeans, all wearing faded jean jackets with the colors of the local biker club. They stand right in the middle of the street at every busy intersection ringing their bells and holding out their kettles.

It can be rather intiminating to have a huge hairy biker holding out a kettle and staring you in the eye while you are setting at the red light. Perhaps that adds to their ability to collect thousands of dollars every year for the needy kids of our community.

Are there other communities that have bikers collecting for the needy at Christmas time?

Posted by: jlw at December 11, 2007 1:31 PM
Comment #240533

I had to laugh. We don’t have that particular tradition in Huntsville, Texas. But on our busiest street corner there is a shop for a guy who is short, plump, has a long beard, sells musical instruments and handmade motorcycles, and his name is, no kidding, Looney. He and his wife lead our “new traditions” church service.

His brother is, also no kidding, a psychiatrist.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 11, 2007 2:17 PM
Comment #240565

We don’t have bikers with kettles around here. The only kettles around here belong to the Salvation Army. And they sure don’t let bikers work them.
However there are the little old ladies from the garden club that collect money to get needy kids Christmas presents. They’ll come to your car window with a stocking for ya to put cash in. Some of them can be about as intimidating as your bikers. Or at the least they’ll lay a guilt trip on ya as bad as any momma or grand momma can.

Your link aint working.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 11, 2007 11:57 PM
Comment #240824

Honest, fear is what one makes it. Contrary to popular westernized belief, fear, unlike the startle response, is within one’s own control, even when facing perilous circumstances. Ask our troops. If one fears what others may think, perhaps it is because they derive some benefit from the feeling, or find other utilitarian uses for it, like reinforcing prejudices or, justification of one’s actions.

Overcoming fear is generally well regarded throughout most cultures. Something to consider when sending out holiday greetings, or not, whichever floats the spirit.

When fear controls people, rather than the other way around, personal freedom, liberty, and choices to act are soon limited by those promising to eliminate the source of fear. It is a fundamental precept of government and an ebbing and flowing relationship between governors and the governed.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2007 2:04 AM
Comment #241110
Therefore, for those who believe in the TRUE meaning of Christmas, I say (and MEAN), “Merry Christmas.”

For those who do not, I sincerely pray that this joyous time of the year finds you with family and friends and full of the spirit of love for your fellow human beings.

Thanks Jim T!

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 20, 2007 11:30 AM
Comment #241394

Posted by: Weary Willie at December 25, 2007 12:37 AM
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