The War on Christmas

It’s not often I find myself on the same side of an argument as Bill O’Reilly, the American Family Association, or people of a Christian persuasion , but this one really does get my goat.

new451Over the last decades, a campaign has been under way in the world, but mainly the US, to “secularise” Christmas. In short:

“…public, corporate, and government mention of the term “Christmas” is avoided and replaced with a generic term—usually “holiday” or “winter”—and that popular non-religious aspects of Christmas, such as secular Christmas carols and decorated trees are still prominently showcased and recognized, but are vaguely associated with non-specified “holidays”, rather than with Christmas.”

American cities have renamed their Christmas trees, rather hilariously, as “Holiday Trees”. Christmas cards are now “Holiday Cards”. Christmas cake is probably “Happy Funny Fuzzy Cake”. And we are supposed to wish all and sundry Happy Holidays.

Well Happy Holidays, my saggy arse.

To quote the all-knowing Wiki:

A controversy regarding these issues arose in 2002, when the New York City public school system banned the display of nativity scenes, but allowed religious symbols of Hanukkah and Ramadan to be displayed.”

What is everybody so jumpy about? I could find a hundred things in the year that I don’t agree with – pancake tuesday, daylight savings time, Thursdays in general – but why the hell would I have the energy to go around complaining about them? Life’s just too short.

So you’re religious non-Christian and offended by the C-word? So just do what I do about the abject idiocy spewed forth by every major religion – ignore it! I happily ignore Ramadan, Lent, Passover and every other day of submission to invisible, transdimensional entities. I am a rather committed atheist but I do not give a secular crap how people refer to traditional days. Neither do I throw a fit every time I see Hebrew texts, or men muttering, kneeling down and facing east five times a day, so why should 3 men on camels get my atheist arse all fired up?

My buddy Bill O’Reilly calls the whole “Happy Holiday” thing “anti-Christian”. Personally, I don’t give a toss about the Christians (or Mr. O’Reilly) but I do take offence at having bits of my traditions pruned away and watered down by committees terrified of offending other committees.


And why “Happy HOLIDAYS”? Holiday is obviously a version of “Holy Day” and is thus offending to secular and twitchy people in the same way as “Christmas”. Probably worse, in fact.

But things are looking up. Arnold Schwarzenegger, bless him, recently referred to the Californian “State Holiday Tree” as a Christmas tree. Which it clearly is. And the battle rages on, as more Americans realise that its all a bit daft, really, and that their energy could be better spent in finding small countries to bully, or working out new ways to get high fructose corn syrup into their diets.

Political correctness, and the fear of offending people, is a scourge of our modern twitchy society. It demeans us all. Things that we do not like keep us on our toes, and make the world interesting. What, should we all walk around in full-body air bags, crash helmets and horse blinkers to avoid any chance of insult or injury? What a sad and sorry bunch of twits we have become.

I really hope that we don’t get rid of all the kitsch stuff that makes Christmas interesting – the carol singing, the cribs, the full-on in-your-face religious imagery. It’s a TRADITION people! There really wasn’t a Jesus or a virgin birth you know, it’s all just pretend. And it’s not unusual that people care about other things that do not exist. Gandalf, for example. Or Lionel Ritchie. Just go with it, and have a laugh.

So I shall make it my business to wish everybody a happy Christmas, and go out of my way to deface with a fat marker any signs wishing me a mediocre and mousey “Happy Holidays”. Holiday’s aren’t happy, and they sure as hell don’t have 2 litres of Baileys, a dozen mince pies, horrendous jumpers and great enormous slabs of turkey in them. Yum yum indeed.

/ paddy

(Did you like this article ? Then send it to Digg or wherever these things are sent to. I want hits! And fame! Come on now, it’s nearly Christmas, be nice to your uncle Paddy…)

22 thoughts on “The War on Christmas

  1. I wish I could send you my unused portion of kitch!

    As I started writing this response I was prepared to agree with you on the silliness of supplanting word Christmas with Holidays. But, given that Christmas now starts in the middle of October and lasts until the middle of January, the plural Happy Holidays may be the more appropriate.

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Love this post! It certainly is silly to ban Christmas but allow other holidays from other religions. The secularization of Christmas goes hand in hand with its commercialism – and that really gets my goat (if I had one, but my dog will have to do)! I really hate the marketing of Christmas and the fact that big businesses are just out to make money. Sheesh – even my kids see through it all and say; Well, they just want money, mama!

    Traditions are part of our culture, and as long as we accept the traditions of others without insulting them, so let’s live and let live! We can have Ramadan, Hannukah and Christmas!

    The Virgin birth may be myth – but Father Christmas really does exist!

    BTW, as a traditionalist, I want to wish you MERRY Christmas! Ho! Ho! HO!

    I will now Stumble this article… why not scratch my back too and Stumble or Digg one of my posts? In the spirit of Christmas…

  3. ladyfi Says:
    “The secularization of Christmas goes hand in hand with its commercialism”

    I’d say that of those two commercialism is by very merry far the strongest. Can you find one christian who cares one yacht that Jesus himself said keep the mongers out of the temple? I know I can’t. [A note from the censor: the preceding statement is an example of rampant commercialism – do not go to the Monty Python’s website and buy their film cuttings of weird english humour.]

    Anyway, as long as they don’t do away with Ferdinando el toro on the telly on Christmas Eve, I shan’t complain.

    (For those of you who are not Swedes: For a lot of years now Swedish Television has broadcast an hour of “Walt Disney’s Christmas” at three o’clock every Christmas Eve. Swedes love it. I personally remember it all the way from when unca Walt himself was there standing (very small) upon the mantlepiece wishing us all a very merry Christmas. An important part of that hour is the story of Ferdinando el toro. (His mother was a *good* mother, Even Though She Was Only A Cow.)

    Some years ago, the TV company tried to do away with Ferdinando, to make place for some other, newer Disney produce. There was a national uproar. I mean, do away with our royal house, do away with public executions, but don’t touch our Ferdinando! The company had to cancel that decision.

    I mean, Ferdinando is my favourite role model. How could they do this to me! If they try it again then I’ll vote for the Pirate Party!)

    cheers to all of good will!

  4. I, as a former writer of long clever rants but now a confirmed couldn’t be arsed lazy person, would like to, as usual , boil it down to the base level.
    All religions are crap evil divisive blobs of superstitious fairy tale nonsense…… BUT… if any of em give you an excuse to get pressies, get drunk, get briefly fat (still briefly at 38. Swimming pool membership don’t you know) and have a wee party then thats fine by me.

  5. I, as a former writer of long clever rants but now a confirmed couldn’t be arsed lazy person, would like to, as usual , boil it down to the base level.
    All religions are crap evil divisive blobs of superstitious fairy tale nonsense…… BUT… if any of em give you an excuse to get pressies, get drunk, get briefly fat (still briefly at 38. Swimming pool membership don’t you know) and have a wee party then thats fine by me.
    Oh and have a cool Yule etc etc

  6. “So you’re religious non-Christian and offended by the C-word?”

    Xmas cards have had “Seasons Greetings” on them since I were a lad, but even so you need to understand that the whole “War on Christmas” thing is a few minor incidents blown out of proportion by the likes of O’Reilly and the Daily Mail in a desperate attempt to protray christians as an oppressed minority. In any case, as a non-believing-Jew I’m much more offended by (american) society at large trying co-opt Hanukkah as “The Jewish Christmas” than I am by having any amount of xmas jollity thrust down my throat.

    One example: In a former place of employment we had a “Holiday Party” on the last work day before the xmas break. The invitation card had trees, santas, menorahs, stars of David, etc. The problem? Hanukkah was early that year and had finished more than two weeks previously.

    The additional irony, of course, is that Hanukkah had its origin in a bloody uprising against syncretism.

  7. Anonymous: I will accept your kitsch in the spirit in which it is sent.

    ladyfi: Thanks for your stumble! I will stumble thee in return.

    Rolf: Christmas is bull, I think we all agree on that.

    Mr of Mulroy: You swim away your bulge? Fair play!

    csrster: A feast day commemorating a bloody uprising sounds about right.

  8. Holiday trees, hm it could have been worse since Americans tend to use “freedom” when they change traditional names. But freedom is used in the context of war and battle so since this issue is including “terrorist religion” freedom wont be use. Is it still “freedom fries”? I will check it up in 2 days. So happy freedom holiday paddy, c u in n.y!

  9. H: No, I think “freedom fries” is gone. But “Freedom Tree” sounds good! Or “Freedom Plant”, so we don’t offend the bushes.

  10. If you grew up in a multicultural city like New York, you’d find that saying Happy Holidays is extremely useful, and not just around the end of the year. Remember, everyone celebrates Solar New Year’s Day, even people who make it a point to say Solar New Year’s Day. If you celebrate Christmas and New Year’s, then that’s holidays – plural.

    There are lots of other holidays crammed in around the solstice, like Epiphany which the Orthodox celebrate instead of Christmas, and Hannukah which is popular with Jews. If you look at the American calendar, you’ll see the entire autumn starting with Columbus Day, or Dia de la Raza, or perhaps Extinction Day if you are native American, followed by Veteran’s Day, in honor of all those dead Europeans, followed by Thanksgiving, followed by Blow Off Work Day, followed by all the rest including Kwanzaa and then the big two, or perhaps four.

    I think Diwali is in there somewhere, and there are lots of other holidays. They’re real holidays, too, not crap made up to sell flowers or chocolates. At least, they weren’t made up recently, so they’re authentic, as sure as Mary cheated with God and gave birth to Jesus. New Yorkers love their holidays. Why not say Happy Holidays? It makes you sound like you have some clue as to what is going on without poking around on your Blackberry or Googling on your iPhone.

    Of course, it all comes down to alternate side of the street parking. To keep the streets from getting knee deep in crap they make drivers move their cars every so often, except not on holidays. So, in New York City, a holiday isn’t a real holiday until the Department of Sanitation says so. You can tell when an ethnic group has made the jump from immigrant to hyphenated ethnic by whether they’ve got the clout to not have to move their cars on their holiday. I think the Hindus have come of age with Diwali and the Muslims with Eid. Europeans don’t have a sensible way of turning immigrants into proper Frenchmen or Danes or what have you. We Americans do, and saying Happy Holidays is part of it.

  11. Oh. And never the one to miss a chance to stick the knife in:
    Mr “tidings of comfort and joy” Kelly. ..Remember the year you gave money to charities and presented to receipts to you family as gifts. Bah feckin humbug to that mate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Socks are always welcome and well you know it.

  12. I think we should just call it off. Cancel Christmas. It’s as out of proportion as are the Royal Institutions in the otherwise so modern Scandinavian countries.

  13. Dude
    – you’re against pancake tuesday??

    what’s not to like – tuesdays can only be improved with the addition of pancakes. Not shroves though (whatever they are), I’ll have the pancakes thank you.

  14. I agree. Damn Political Correctness! I also object to all the Roman orgy festivals that the Christians watered down. And we should bring back the gladiator competitions and Christians being eaten in arenas, and we should restore the true origin of basketball games so that we behead people like our blessed Mayan ancestors. Damn Political Correctness and the watering down of drunken adult-oriented events with cutesy cartoon characters, mythical transdimensional beings, and greedy slobbering whiney children!

  15. Everybody: Thanks for your excellent comments, and sorry that I can’t give you all the attention you deserve, as I have been away and am just back with a big chunk of jet lag and no attention span.

    And no, I’m not against pancakes.

  16. …sure as hell don’t have 2 litres of Baileys…

    I’m pretty big on glögg. Living in Sweden, I’d non-violently hope that you’re near to drowning in it.

  17. I think is damn wrong with a country that is built up on etnic identitites, but understand why it is the way it is in The States. But when all those etnic groups are linked to lobby groups and thus the etnic identities are affecting the politics in the world, like Israel. And when I go to a certain area in Brooklyn, black people are gazing at me because I am white, and its obviously a black area (by the way it´s strange that their are magazins in US called “The black man” and so on, the opposite would have been impossible And why are always the men very black and the hot women almost white?). I think it´s not a problem for a secularized person to swith Christmas to Hannuka as long as its Holiday but people claim rights when it comes to reserving rights and in Sweden each group dosnt´t have to reserve rights like in US. And eetnic groups are not as tight ases as in USA. And if they are, it´s mostley young people copying the whole “hip-hop concept”. But Sweden and the rest of Europe is far from perfect but if you are well educated in France you can get a good job.

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