Bah Humbug

I love Christmas, but the wingnuts are really bringing out the Grinch in me. If I have to read one more article about how Christians are being persecuted by stores wishing them “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” I might just convert to Hinduism and call it a day.

First, why is it offensive to include all the winter holidays in a single greeting, when you’re trying to sell goods to a wide range of consumers? You don’t see Jews getting all pissy about the lack of “Happy Hanukkah” signs at Walgreen’s, or Hindus complaining that there aren’t enough Diwali greetings when they walk into Target. Perhaps this is because, as religious minorities, they recognize that people with different belief systems exist in this country, and including them all under the banner of “Happy Holidays” is the most logical way to go. Why purposely exclude particular groups by only recognizing Christian holidays?

Second, for all the bitching about “putting Christ back in Christmas,” perhaps these religious extremists would be better suited to trying to eliminate Santa Claus or Christmas trees or other secular Christmas symbols. Perhaps they should try and figure out when Jesus was actually born, and change the day we celebrate — after all, we all know that December 25th was chosen as a way to have the Christian holiday line up with Pagan celebrations, to make conversion easier. Or how about rallying against the consumerism that Christmas is so fraught with? Last time I read the Bible, there was no point where God said, “My son is born, now go forth and buy stuff.” If you want to complain about secularization and taking Christ out of Christmas, start with Santa Claus and FAO Schwarz.

Third, with all the problems in the world, wingnut Christians are focusing on this? As Jeremy Cohen wrote in his Times op/ed today:

This campaign – which is being hyped on Fox and conservative talk radio – is an odd one. Christmas remains ubiquitous, and with its celebrators in control of the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court and every state supreme court and legislature, it hardly lacks for powerful supporters. There is also something perverse, when Christians are being jailed for discussing the Bible in Saudi Arabia and slaughtered in Sudan, about spending so much energy on stores that sell “holiday trees.”

But what about “traditional values” and Christmas being an integral part of America? Yup, wrong.

The vast majority of schools and businesses close for Christmas. Christmas themes and decorations (Santa, Christmas trees, green and red) are everywhere. Christmas music plays in most department stores. There is no war on Christmas. But these godbags are making me embarassed to be celebrating it.

However, there does seem to be a war on women’s health, led by zealot pharmacists. Trying to get birth control pills? Uh uh. Female sexuality is evil. Want your herpes medicine? Sorry, no can do — God is punishing you for your sins. But it’s the Christian pharmacists who are the victims when they’re told to do their jobs. Gotta love the logic here.

Also, Grady Hendrix is clearly a Christian persecutor for writing this article, which is a wee bit critical of the “Left Behind” movies. Hilarious. Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: World O’Crap also makes the baby Jesus cry. And they are way funnier than I’ll ever be. My favorite part: In response to an Agape Press columnist offering a free Christmas ad that reads, “If this is only the ‘Holiday Season,’ if this is not ‘Christmas,’ then you do not have a Savior! Merry Christmas!”, WOC says:

Not bad. But I think I can come up with something even more offensive. How about, “If you think this is only the ‘Holiday Season,’ then you can eat crap and die! Merry Christmas, you unsaved bastard!”

Also, taking Jesus out of Christmas is right up there with the homos, the cloners and the baby-killers in causing the Asian tsunami.

UPDATE 2: It’s Hitchens v. Christmas on Scarborough Country. Hi-larious. He refers to Jerry Falwell “the fat-faced revered,”and tells Joe Scarborough that he has no interest in hearing him speak (“I came here to talk, not to listen to you. You invited me on for my opinions, not to listen to yours.”). Money quote:

HITCHENS: … as in Washington, D.C., there are large numbers of public buildings, lavishly financed, usually, in fact, invariably, tax exempt, sometimes even government subsidized by the—what do we call it, faith-based program.

They are called churches. People can go there if they want to have religious ceremony. They can put up hoardings on their land which say it’s Jesus’ birthday or Christ has risen, if it’s Easter, anything like that. You can’t stop them. They do it all the time, and they are very welcome.

I would like, however, to be able to go to Union Station and not be told that I am a Christian over the loud speaker all the time, or, indeed, to Wal-Mart or Target or 7/Eleven and not have an incessant one-party state month of permanent Christian music and propaganda. I think that’s annoying and offensive, and also […] I promise only one thing. I promise you, I would say that if I was a Christian. I am not. But if I was one, I would not want it imposed on other people. […] And certainly not in this ugly—not in this ugly, vulgar, boring way?

SCARBOROUGH: It’s ugly? What is ugly and vulgar and boring, Christmas trees?

HITCHENS: Don’t you find the tinsel and the incessant stuff on the radio and the TV, don’t you find it gets you down? Don’t you find it’s cheap and tinselly? I certainly do.


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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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102 Responses to Bah Humbug

  1. Ron Sullivan says:

    Merry Pissmas?

    Has anyone in the MSM come right out and laughed at this yet?

  2. why is it offensive to include all the winter holidays in a single greeting

    “If you think that’s offensive, take a look at this.”

  3. Jon C. says:

    Jonah Goldberg had a good column on this recently. His point in a nutshell:

    Liberals use the state to impose their morality all the time, and they get away with it because their faith isn’t called a religion. Yet conservatives should be wary of launching a backlash. Just as it is counterproductive for a secular liberal to take offense at a well-intentioned “Merry Christmas,” it doesn’t help if a conservative says “Merry Christmas” when he really means “Eat yuletide, you atheistic bastard!” If you’re putting up a Christmas tree in order to tick off the ACLU, you’ve really missed the point.

    I’d tend to agree. There are certainly people out there who want to banish all things religious (not just Christmas) from American society, but I think part of the conservative backlash is just getting angry for angriness’ sake.

  4. KnifeGhost says:

    Never thought I say this, but Jonah Goldberg is right on there.

    And I don’t think it’s anger for angriness’ sake so much as deliberable obfuscation becuase they want to talk about ANYTHING but Iraq, Duke Cunningham, Jack Abrahmoff, so on.

    I’ve been listening to The Minority Report on AirAmerica radio, and they’re launched the war on the war on the war on Christmas. Lots of good hypocritial dirt about Fox News……..

  5. ratan says:

    I usually stick with Happy Holidays, since I have no clue of the personal beliefs of the person with whom I’m speaking. Better be safe than sorry!

    I started this once when wishing somebody a Merry Christmas and she said “Happy Hanukkah to you too!” in response. I don’t think she meant anything mean by it, but it did get me to rethink “MC” as a greeting, instead of “HH”

  6. Jon C. says:

    I’ve been listening to The Minority Report on AirAmerica radio…

    I think you meant “The Majority Report”, but given Air America’s ratings, your misstatement was ironically closer to the actual truth.

  7. Linnaeus says:

    I think part of the conservative backlash is just getting angry for angriness’ sake.

    I tend to agree with Jon C. on this one, though I might take it a bit further and say that this kind of nascent backlash serves the purpose of keeping the Christian soldiers mobilized politically. I can’t, however, base this on more than impressionistic evidence, so you all may take it with a grain of salt.

    I suspect that any conservative backlash against retailers’ holiday marketing would fizzle for a few reasons:

    1. Those who would put themselves at the vanguard of such a backlash overestimate how many people they could actually get behind such a movement. The “backlashers” cite such things as cultural history, polling data indicating religious beliefs, etc. as showing that the “majority” American culture is Christian and that this is why retailers ought to favor explicitly Christian messages. A poll that tells you that the majority of Americans identify themselves as Christian doesn’t really tell you much about the depth of that identity. For example, I know any number of people who identify themselves as, say, Catholic, but rarely attend Mass (even when it’s required) and routinely deviate from their faith’s orthodoxy. My point here is that even among self-identified Christians, too many of them simply don’t care enough to stop shopping at these retailers.

    1a. As a corollary, given how the retail sector has become more concentrated, I suspect that those who might be sympathetic to such a backlash will also discover that, in their communities, they don’t have any other options than to go to a major retailer who uses “Happy Holidays”. When given a choice between staying away from Wal-Mart because their employees don’t say “Merry Christmas” and getting presents for the grandkids, the grandkids will win out.

    2. There is also the possibility of splitting those social/religious conservatives who find that capitalist imperatives have produced a result they don’t like and more libertarian/economic conservatives who maintain that a retailer pursuing the “Happy Holidays” strategy is just doing good business.

  8. Jill says:

    Ooh, Jon, how catty…

  9. Jon C. says:

    Ooh, Jon, how catty…

    I thought I was being clever. :P

  10. Anne says:

    Shhh, Jon C., you’ll blow the “liberal media” myth, and that’s done a lot for you guys.

    Just as it is counterproductive for a secular liberal to take offense at a well-intentioned “Merry Christmas,” it doesn’t help if a conservative says “Merry Christmas” when he really means “Eat yuletide, you atheistic bastard!” If you’re putting up a Christmas tree in order to tick off the ACLU, you’ve really missed the point.

    Oh shit, Jonah said something that makes sense.

  11. TheKickingDonkey says:

    You don’t see Jews getting all pissy about the lack of “Happy Hanukkah” signs at Walgreen’s

    Honestly, I am a little put out by this. Just once, I’d love to hear some random wish me a happy Hanukkah!

    Jonah Goldberg had a good column on this recently.

    Of all the words in the entire language, this is the combination I’d least expect to read.

    /snark

  12. Slim Slow Slider says:

    ha ha, that Hendrix article was great! my favourite bit was this:

    The producers have also dubbed in the sound of goats during scenes set in downtown Jerusalem, which leads to the unusual notion that modern-day Israel is populated by WWII re-enactors, nervous-looking people in bathrobes, and goats.

  13. zuzu says:

    Steve Gilliard has a good, albeit long, post on the issue of anti-semitic code language and how anti-semites have long screamed about attacks on Christianity to cover for their agenda.

    Someone — I forget if it was a commenter on Pandagon or Tbogg — suggested the following response if someone got in your face about “Merry Christmas”: “May Chthulu grant you a swift and painless death in this season of ice.”

  14. Sniper says:

    Jewish store clerks electing to say “Happy Holidays” = scandal!

    Pharmacists refusing to honor prescriptions = fundamental constitutional right.

    I forget if it was a commenter on Pandagon or Tbogg — suggested the following response if someone got in your face about “Merry Christmas”: “May Chthulu grant you a swift and painless death in this season of ice.”

    I saw that, and have been trying to design an appropriate card ever since.

  15. palamedes says:

    As a Christian myself, I think that…

    1) This is all a manufactured ploy (we just aren’t scared of gay marriage anymore, I guess…), because on a day-to-day basis, I’m just not hearing from my more conservative religious friends even a scintilla of perceived abuse….

    2) I think those whining about it are seriously suffering from a case of “It’s always Marcia! Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!!!” disease.

    Just sayin’…

  16. Shit, I almost totally agree with Jill on this one.

    But what strikes me as ironic are conservative cries against aggrieved liberal identity politics, while flogging a newly fashionable Christian persecution complex, its very own form of hypersensitive identity politics.

    Which just goes to show that everyone loves their own identity politics, as everyone loves to cry persecution.

  17. wolfangel says:

    I, too, would love — just once! — to hear Happy Chanukah. (But please, don’t put out a Chanukiah. Just stick with Christmas trees.) Just on Chanukah, not for the entire season, though. Which is my objection to Merry Christmas. I am happy to hear it on Dec 24 and 25, but other than that, well, look, it’s not Christmas yet. Or, more annoying, Christmas is over.

    This year, of course, the first day of Chanukah is the 25th. Which will mean there’s not even the slightest chance anyone will wish me anything but a merry Christmas that day.

  18. Harrison says:

    But what strikes me as ironic are conservative cries against aggrieved liberal identity politics, while flogging a newly fashionable Christian persecution complex, its very own form of hypersensitive identity politics.

    Which just goes to show that everyone loves their own identity politics, as everyone loves to cry persecution.

    Well said! On this one I quite agree with you. Perhaps it’s part of the general decline in civil discourse (which of course both right and left blame the other for)–there has to be a winner and a loser, and scoring points is more important than trying to reach an understanding. It would be great to see our public figures (yes, of all political persuasions) actually practicing tolerance and understanding.

    Too much to hope for, I suppose, but at least we enlightened Feministe readers are here, keeping up the standards! ;)

  19. belledame222 says:

    My favorite part of the whole thing is how they’re getting all outraged over Walmart greeters not being pious enough, basically. I guess “you cannot serve both God and Mammon” is now “you can serve Mammon as long as you don’t ask for a raise or decent benefits. MERRRRRRRY Christmas!”

    And, oh, yeah, I really feel for them, not being VALIDATED enough. Listen, when they bring back the actual lions, then we can talk about your eprsecution problems, ‘k? Meanwhile: there’s a boiling vat of pudding and a stake-o-holly lip plug with your name on it, bucko. Ho, ho, HO.

  20. This is one of those issues where both “sides” make me want to claw my eyes out. (I am Jewish, FWIW.) On the one hand, yeah, I’m sick of folks assuming that everyone celebrates Christmas. But on the other hand, talking about “Holiday Trees” and “Chanukah Canes” (yes, I’ve been offered those before!) does not constitute respect for, and understanding of, cultural and religious diversity. To the contrary: relabeling Christmas symbols with secular names is just embarrassing, and seems to indicate a belief that deep down inside, everyone celebrates Christmas…it’s just that some of the more difficult members of our society insist on calling it Chanukah or Kwanzaa or Diwalli or (God help us) Ramadan.

    I don’t need to hear “Happy Holidays” or “Happy Chanukah” instead of “Merry Christmas” What a lot of Christmas-celebrating folks don’t realize is that in terms of religious significance, Chanukah is not on par with Christmas; Chanukah is probably the single least important of the Jewish holidays, but receives a disproportionate amount of attention because it is so close to Christmas.

    So while I wish that I didn’t have to see and hear Christmas crap all over the place for an entire tenth of every year, I don’t mind all that much, and I don’t need people wishing me Happy Holidays (what holidays? there’s just one, and it’s no big deal, really). I do wish, however, that my own non-Christmas celebration could get some real respect, as opposed to just symbolic respect. For instance, I have nothing I really need to do for the last week of the calendar year, so I wish that instead of my office closing between Christmas and New Year’s, I just had an extra week of vacation that I could take whenever I wanted, like at a time when the weather around here was a bit more pleasant.

  21. Tanooki Joe says:

    Really, I just want it all to stop. I just can’t take anymore of watching people fight their own shadows and then demand I take them seriously.

  22. randomliberal/Robert says:

    David, can I steal that picture? Because that’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen in awhile.

  23. Magnus Malmborn says:

    With the exception of the Amish, there are no christians in the USA, only Mammonites in various denominations. Thus, whenever someone says “Merry Christmas” to you, reply with “Merry Giftmas”. Otherwise, you could always dig up that Cthulhu Chick-tract and hand out. Be prepared to run though.

  24. That Girl says:

    War? I could personally give a crap. If you wish me a HH or a MC or even a Happy Ramadan I just take the sentiment as being well-meant. I think this war is manufactured. By and for whose benefit I do not know. If there is any kind of war, however, in this case I say blame the victim – when you spend so much of your time and energy shoving your views down everyone’s throat dont be shocked when they protest.

  25. Darleen says:

    Push back is a b*tch when it comes from the otherside, eh?

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist. After watching the ACLU intimidate the spineless Los Angeles County Supervisors over a tiny cross on the county seal and the radical anti-Christians in San Diego continue to piss on the majority of San Diegans by destroying a war memorial on Mt. Soledad, I’m happy that the PCism that had schools not even allow instrumental music and had Eugene, OR ban Christmas trees from all city property including firehouses and worker desks has been countered and the purveyors of such idiocy appropriately ridiculed.

    I’m not even religious, but then I’m secure enough in myself that other people’s happiness and celebrations don’t offend me.

  26. Starla says:

    I’m not religious by any means and I consider myself very liberal, but I love Christmas and it does make me a little sad that people don’t say it anymore too often.

    Happy Holidays is nice and well meaning, but why erase (or at least try to) a nice american holiday?

    I grew up in a semi-traditional mexican household and I celebrated certain mexican holidays that aren’t too popular here in the states. If I am allowed to celebrate those holidays here in America, then why aren’t people allowed to celebrate Christmas? And that includes being able to say the phrase “Merry Christmas”.

    I don’t celebrate Christmas because of it’s religious annotations, but because it’s an american tradition I grew up with. Is there anything to be ashamed of?

  27. Matan says:

    Well said, Moebius Stripper! I also don’t really like being included in “The Holiday Season”–it feels to much like being Assimilated (in a Borg sense). People use their own experience and traditions as handles to try to understand the subjectivity of other peoples’ experience and traditions (the “oh, yeah, we do that too!” thing).

    On the other hand, one needs to recognize that you cannot actually subsume other peoples’ identities within yours. The stories and practice of Chanukkah, for example, is pretty different than the stories and practice of Christmas, except, of course, for their family- and friends-centered nature.

    Eh, I can’t really put my finger on it, here.

  28. Sniper says:

    a nice american holiday?

    What? Seriously, what do you mean by this?

  29. Starla, who’s not allowed to celebrate Christmas? What is the parallel between you being allowed to celebrate Mexican holidays in America, and there being nativity scenes in front of government buildings?

    No one’s not being allowed to celebrate Christmas. They’re being asked not to cram said holidays down my throat.

  30. Jill says:

    I grew up in a semi-traditional mexican household and I celebrated certain mexican holidays that aren’t too popular here in the states. If I am allowed to celebrate those holidays here in America, then why aren’t people allowed to celebrate Christmas? And that includes being able to say the phrase “Merry Christmas”.

    Ok. There’s no rule barring you from saying “Merry Christmas.” You and whoever else can say Merry Christmas 1000 times a day, every day if you want. You can say it to whoever you want. You can stand on the streetcorner and shout it. No one is trying to “erase” Christmas — just take a look around. I go to Starbucks in the morning and I get my red “It only happens once a year” cup, with Santa Claus and trees decorating it. The streets here are strung with white lights. Every department store I walk into is playing Christmas music. Christmas is alive and well, and no one is being blocked (or even disuaded) from celebrating it.

    I’m not even religious, but then I’m secure enough in myself that other people’s happiness and celebrations don’t offend me.

    It’s not a matter of being offended by other people’s happiness or celebrations. Please, find one example of where someone’s personal Christmas celebration was ruined by PC liberals or the ACLU. This doesn’t even have anything to do with liberals or the ACLU — it’s about the fact that retailers have made certain decisions (like saying “happy holidays”), and that makes religious conservatives angry because they want only their holiday recognized.

  31. it’s about the fact that
    retailers have made certain decisions (like saying “happy
    holidays”)

    And I, for one, welcome this particular triumph of the free market.

  32. Darleen says:

    Please, find one example of where someone’s personal Christmas celebration was ruined by PC liberals or the ACLU

    How about the firefighters in Eugene, Oregon a few years ago? As you know, firefighters work 24-36 hour shifts and, in essense, the firehouse is their home (eat, sleep, etc) for their shift.

    They were disallowed their Christmas tree for anything but the 48 hours of Christmas Eve/Day.

    If stores want to do everything possible to avoid the “C” word, hey, that’s their right. Just as it’s my right not to shop there AND let them know why.

  33. Anne says:

    Isn’t a firehouse government property? Jill was asking for examples of personal celebrations.

  34. KnifeGhost says:

    Jon C: I _meant_ the Minority Report. It’s a new show. tom Cruise and three psychic clones comment on the future from a Liberal/Scientologist perspective. It’s really insightful. What with the whole reading the future thing.

    And if you hear Sam Seder tell it, AirAmerica’s ratings are greatly understated by conservatives. And why the hell would a radio host overstate his own ratings?

  35. Linnaeus says:

    If stores want to do everything possible to avoid the “C” word, hey, that’s their right. Just as it’s my right not to shop there AND let them know why.

    Absolutely, Darleen. I agree with you here. What I don’t agree with is the argument that some are making that retailers’ using “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” somehow constitutes a liberal “war” on Christmas.

  36. norbizness says:

    Anne: It’s the whole “they trying to stop praying in school” conflationary technique. Failure of the government to publicly sponsor something is tantamount to banning it in private. That’s why there are two religious clauses in the First Amendment (Establishment and Free Expression), and, contrary to conventional wisdom, the ACLU takes both types of cases. See here.

  37. Darleen says:

    Linnaeus

    Depends on what motivated their change.

    I’ll point out that mere threat of a lawsuit from the ACLU caused the LA Board of Supervisors to Bowlderize the LA County Seal of its historical reference to it’s Mission heritage. Ditto city of Redlands, CA. It’s an ACLU equivalent of SLAPP lawsuits.

  38. Darleen says:

    typo = should be Bowdlerize.

  39. zuzu says:

    Here’s a link to the story of the Oregon firefighters that has the actual city policy.:

    In response to complaints from some staff concerned about the separation of church and state, Johnson banned a few Christmas trees in a small number of city reception areas and employee lounges. The ban is so limited and has so many exceptions that neither Johnson nor Chouinard can actually think of a single specific tree in city facilities that was there last year and banned this year. Johnson says he believes that about half of the city’s 10 firehouses may have had a tree, but the city never did an inventory.

    Light strings, wreaths, garlands and other non-religious ornaments are not effected by the ban. Firefighters can have a tree in fire house lounges on Christmas eve and day. The city’s main Senior Center can have a tree. The Hult Center can have a large tree because its placed there by performance companies that rent the hall. Any employee with a private cubicle, office or desk can have a tree or any other religious ornament in his or her own space. “You want to dress up like a Christmas tree and you can do your business and do it effectively, fine,” says Chouinard of the employee policy.

    Note that the firefighters were in fact allowed to have a tree, just that their display, being in a common area on city property, was limited.

    Note also the way the policy was distorted as the story made its way through the right-wing media. And really, it seemed that it was only the right-wing media covering this — I was three or four pages into my Google search before I found a non-right-wing news source for the story (any mainstream media story before that mentioning both Eugene firefighters and Christmas trees had to do with fire hazards). And even then, it was the local weekly.

  40. zuzu says:

    Of course, it amuses me greatly that a pagan symbol should be embraced so wholeheartedly as a Christian religious one.

  41. Linnaeus says:

    Depends on what motivated their change.

    That’s a fair point. If someone wants to make the claim that retailers were unfairly intimidated into making the shift away from explicitly marketing “Christmas” instead of “the holidays”, then it’s incumbent upon that person to provide evidence and name the responsible party or parties, after which we can evaluate the claim and decide if it’s credible.

    There’s also the possibility that the businesses in question are responding to consumer preferences or have some other kind of evidence that indicates their sales benefit from the change (or, at the very least, their sales are not harmed from the change), as any good business would do. If that’s the case, then those who are troubled by the change have a problem with the retailers’ capitalist imperatives, not a smoke-filled room of liberals looking to deprive people of their holiday.

    My own sense of the situation is that if people are troubled by “Happy Holidays”, they’re welcome to protest it in the manner they deem appropriate, but I think that even among self-identified Christians, the change doesn’t bother them enough that they’re going to boycott these stores.

  42. Lesley says:

    Speaking just for myself, I don’t much care if people wish me a Merry Christmas. I’d kind of rather they didn’t (I’m Jewish), but I can’t get too worked up about it if they do. On Christmas. Right now, though? Why should they? It isn’t Christmas. Christmas is still 20 days away. Okay, 19 days, because I understand why people start wishing each other a Merry Christmas on Christmas Eve. Either way, that’s nearly 3 weeks.

    So I guess my question to those who get worked up about store clerks not wishing them a Merry Christmas now, just precisely how much of the year do you want dedicated to December 24th and December 25th? [Or even through January 6th, if you want to include the 12 days of Christmas, starting on Christmas day and going through the epiphany?]

    Just so we’re all clear where I’m coming from, I hate going to stores and offices now and seeing the menorahs out. Because it isn’t Chanukah. I’m happy enough to see menorahs during the 8 days of Chanukah, but think it’s utterly preposterous to see them outside of those 8 days.

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  44. Marksman2000 says:

    Concerning Christmas, being an atheist has its benefits this time of year. Nothing puts me in a better mood than dropping my chewing gum in that annoying Salvation Army bell ringer’s red pail.

    Good luck getting all those bills and coins unglued and separated from my wad of bubble mint. Oh, and I almost forgot…Merry Christmas!

  45. Julie says:

    I’m a Christian and I think this has to be manufactured by a bunch of people who don’t have much time on their hands. Of course, we do Halloeen at my house too, so I’m probably evil anyway, but that’s beside the point. Personally, I wouldn’t get upset if I were wished a happy hanakkuh, a merry christmas, happy kwanza, merry ramaden (hope I’m spelling these right!) or happy holidays. They are all well intentioned wishes of joy and cheer.
    The things I would get upset about? A store refusing to carry religous Christmas items while carrying religous items for other relgions (i.e I can buy a menorah but not a nativity set). If you are deliberately NOT including Christianity, that would be one thing. But just trying to be inclusive of all religions? I fall to see why that should cause mass hysteria.

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  47. Caitlin Scarlett says:

    I work at Target as a cashier and I have already gotten sick of the holiday season (but that’s a retail rant for another place and time).

    I say Happy Holidays, but if there’s indicators otherwise, I like to use that. If someone’s buying toys and mentions Santa Claus or Christmas, I wish them a merry one. A woman was buying dredl’s and menorah the other day, so I wished her a Happy Hannukah. It is pretty sad that we only have one measley Hannukah endcap, when “seasonal items” (AKA Xmas) take up a whole section.

    War on Christmas indeed- I don’t think I can add anything to the pointlessness of THAT.

  48. Sally says:

    The things I would get upset about? A store refusing to carry religous Christmas items while carrying religous items for other relgions (i.e I can buy a menorah but not a nativity set).

    Huh. There are, actually, a number of such stores. Most synogogues, for instance, will have a little shop that fits that description. Maybe you should picket.

    The “war on Christmas” seems to me to be blantantly anti-semitic. It just doesn’t make any sense if you read it any other way. Christmas is everywhere. If there’s a war on it, it’s a totally lost cause.

  49. It is pretty sad that we only have one
    measley Hannukah endcap, when “seasonal items” (AKA Xmas)
    take up a whole section.

    Hannukah is small potatoes in the Jewish holiday calendar, and barely deserves even an endcap. How much store space is devoted to Passover, Rosh Hashana, Succot, Shavuot, and Yom Kippur items? Those are the big Jewish holidays.

  50. Robert says:

    Nothing puts me in a better mood than dropping my chewing gum in that annoying Salvation Army bell ringer’s red pail. Good luck getting all those bills and coins unglued and separated from my wad of bubble mint.

    Fight the power! Teach those homeless-feeding, shelter-building, heat-bill-paying, job-finding bastards a lesson.

  51. Darleen says:

    zuzu

    Firefighters can have a tree in fire house lounges on Christmas eve and day.

    And I stated the same in my post.

    And you find that acceptable?

  52. Tanooki Joe says:

    Fight the power! Teach those homeless-feeding, shelter-building, heat-bill-paying, job-finding bastards a lesson.

    Those monsters! Tar and feather the whole lot of ’em, I say.

  53. Jason says:

    Man, the fundies have ruined Christmas for me. Now when someone wishes me Merry Christmas I don’t know if they’re a religious nut trying to make a political point.

  54. Sally says:

    Yeah, you know, that’s what annoys me. It’s literally never occurred to me that someone wishing me a Merry Christmas might actually be *trying* to exclude me and put me in my place. Now, I’ll have to wonder if they’re being hostile and hateful rather than nice.

  55. Robert says:

    You guys are behind the curve.

    Oh, and Happy Hannukah, infidel Jews.

    (I’ve been wanting to say that but hadn’t found a context in which it would be absolutely plain that it was a joke.)

  56. EricP says:

    All I can say is Merry Christmas!

    Overall I have a lot respect for Americans but this one of those issues where I have to say you guys are just being silly. I’m an atheist. I few years ago I had Jewish employee (we’re a small company otherwise in Montreal we would have had more) so at the company Christmas party two years in a row she got the role of Santa (why not?). She just loved the whole thing (I still have pictures of her in Santa’s hat). She had never done Christmas before – she was from Isreal. Modern Christmas is so secular anyway that worrying about it is silly.

  57. Linnaeus says:

    It’s literally never occurred to me that someone wishing me a Merry Christmas might actually be *trying* to exclude me and put me in my place. Now, I’ll have to wonder if they’re being hostile and hateful rather than nice.

    I would, as I always have, regard such a wish as well-meaning. Usually that’s the case anyway and it’s not really worth it to me to bother wondering what the person means. If it’s intended to be exclusionary, that’s the “wisher’s” problem, not mine.

  58. Sally says:

    You’re right, of course. It just kind of boggles my mind that some Christians want their holiday made into a symbol of exclusion.

  59. ilyka says:

    First, why is it offensive to include all the winter holidays in a single greeting, when you’re trying to sell goods to a wide range of consumers?

    I’m probably just going to land myself in hot water for this, but here’s a possible:

    You’re not talking about a group of “winter holidays” of equal significance or with an equal number of celebrants among them. I’m not saying that to be dismissive or exclusionary; I’m saying it because it’s a fact. There aren’t as many people celebrating Kwanzaa. There aren’t as many people celebrating Chanukah (and, as Moebius Stripper pointed out, it’s not that major a holiday in the Jewish calendar). What’s the federal “winter holiday” again? Oh, right, Christmas. Whether you think that’s how it should be or not–and I think if we were really as in favor of separation of church and state as we often claim to be, it wouldn’t be a federal holiday–that’s how it is.

    So I think what’s happening is that some Christians are feeling a little peeved that here one of their most holy days–you know, no big deal, just the birth of their Lord–winds up being, well, diminished and excluded to make room for “all the winter holidays” which just aren’t on the same level of significance.

    It’d be nice if Christians would bring a little of that tolerance we’re supposed to be practicing to the table, of course, and acknowledge that Christmas or no Christmas, stores have to make a buck and it’s better if people don’t have to feel Christmased to death while they’re shopping, etc.

    I look at it this way: As I understand it, Muslims do not celebrate the birth of the prophet Muhammad. But say they did. That’d be kind of a biggie, right? Now say it fell during a time of year when other religions were celebrating some of their lesser holidays. Say it fell on a Catholic Marian feast day or something. Wouldn’t you think it was a little ridiculous if the Catholics were demanding to feel included, demanding to take the Islam out of Muhammad’s birthday, in a majority Muslim country? I’d think that was completely crazy and stupid, myself.

    I mean okay, the whole Christmas season goes on way too long, and evangelicals certainly can annoy the daylights out of people with their poor-persecuted-Christian-me complexes. I’ll grant that. But it’s once a year, and it’s kind of a big deal to Christians. I don’t think it’s intolerant to lose patience with people who go overboard pretending your holiday doesn’t exist, lest they offend those who don’t celebrate it. I think it’s pretty understandable to get a little pissy about that.

  60. Anne says:

    I don’t know, I’m just not seeing any evidence of people pretending Christmas doesn’t exist. That there are other holidays, and that not everyone celebrates Christmas? Sure. But not literally pretending there is no Christmas at all.

  61. Sally says:

    What’s the federal “winter holiday” again? Oh, right, Christmas

    New Year’s is a federal holiday, and one that’s celebrated by pretty much everyone. But don’t let that get in the way of putting the Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. in their places!

  62. Julie says:

    Huh. There are, actually, a number of such stores. Most synogogues, for instance, will have a little shop that fits that description. Maybe you should picket.

    Well, I was going to put in there, unless it was a specifically Jewish store, and figured everyone was probably smart enough to figure that. Guess I was wrong. In case you hadn’t noticed, I said just above that I thought this whole “war on Christmas” was inane, but I guess it’s more fun to nitpick. I’m not going to picket a Jewish synagogue for selling Jewish materials and not Christian ones, but thanks for the snark.

  63. Sally, that’s cheap, and unfair. If anything makes me feel put in my place, it’s the folks who think that wishing me a generic “Happy Holidays” somehow compensates for the fact that no one – not even those who put up holiday trees! – ever even thinks about how Christmas is a stat holiday, while Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc have to use their personal leave time to celebrate our holidays. And Ilyka was sort of addressing that injustice, rather than fixating, as nearly everyone else has, on the non-issue of whether we should say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” during the weeks leading up to the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ.

  64. Sally says:

    Sorry. It was misdirected snark. Honestly, this whole thing kind of freaks me out. I’m afraid it’s the harbinger of the religious right’s move to a more overt antisemitism. Because let’s face it: that’s what this is about. They don’t come right out and say that the Jews are attacking Christmas, but we all know that’s the subtext. And it’s about two inches away from being text.

  65. Jason says:

    Christians are feeling a little peeved that here one of their most holy days–you know, no big deal, just the birth of their Lord–winds up being, well, diminished and excluded to make room for “all the winter holidays” which just aren’t on the same level of significance.

    Ahhh, I see what the problem is. It’s that nowadays our visions of a white Christmas are being polluted with all these other weird people and their blasphemous religions. America is a diverse culture, hey, we’ve always accepted Jews. But we never let them interfere with our Christmas.

    It basically comes down to the fact that American culture no longer gives us the idealized version of some all white small town festooned appropriately at Christmas to give baby Jesus the props he so richly deserves. Think Norman Rockwell and It’s a Wonderful Life.

    For these religious turn-back-the-clockers it is like being stabbed to have t.v. adds and cashiers remind them that there are other religions and non-white Americans. It frightens them to think we are leaving the 1950s.

  66. Sally says:

    And Ilyka was sort of addressing that injustice, rather than fixating, as nearly everyone else has, on the non-issue of whether we should say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” during the weeks leading up to the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ.

    I think that people are fixating on the fact that certain right-wing groups, some of which have long records of antisemitism, are boycotting businesses that say “happy holidays” because “someone” (they never come right out and say “Jews”) has declared a war on Christmas. These are people who want prayer in public schools and Christian paraphenalia in court houses and Christianity recognized as the state religion. You really think they’re going to work hard to give us Yom Kippur off? Give me a break. They hate us. That’s the point here. They’re not saying that you should say “Merry Christmas” in December and then wish us a Happy New Year in September. They’re demanding that the culture recognize, even more than it does now, that this is a Christian nation and that the rest of us are interlopers.

  67. Chet says:

    You know, last I checked, Jesus was born in one night, commonly celebrated on December 25th. And, hey, that’s a big deal to them, so on December 25th, we can all say “Merry Christmas” and make whatever observances in that regard that we choose.

    But what claim to Christians have to every other day between the day after Thanksgiving until December 24th? Maybe the reason that “Happy Holidays” is a more appropriate greeting during that time is that it isn’t actually Christmas yet?

  68. OH. MY. GOD.

    Let me say it BIG, because apparently people missed it the first several times that I, a Jew, said it:

    Christmas is much more important to Christians than Chanukah is to Jews.acknowledging this obvious-to-anyone-who-has-ever-studied-religion fact? While others accept without question the assumption what Jews (etc) totally want MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD is for Chanukah (etc) – the single least important Jewish holiday on the calendar! – to be treated as the Jewish Christmas, complete with trees and ubiquitous holiday greetings equal representation in the bloody shopping mall? Truly one of the more surreal things I have witnessed in a comments thread.

  69. Jason says:

    It’s not that people are saying Chanukah is as important as Christmas. It’s that the Christians feel persecuted because they can’t force everyone to focus on Christmas for all of December all the time. Saying Happy Holidays recognizes, Christmas, Chanuka, New Years Day, and everything else. It’s not saying Christmas isn’t important.

  70. You really think they’re going to work hard to give us Yom Kippur off? Give me a break. They hate us. That’s the point here. They’re not saying that you should say “Merry Christmas” in December and then wish us a Happy New Year in September.

    My god, Am I being that unclear? Let me try this again:

    1) Fundie Christians aren’t working to give us Yom Kippur off. I know that. I wouldn’t expect them to.

    But my point is

    2) NEITHER ARE ALL THE PEOPLE who are (justifiably) bashing the professional-victim Christians in this thread. No, they’d rather feel good about how inclusive they’re acting by saying “Happy Holidays” than actually work to…be inclusive of the actual different cultures that exist in your country and mine. And I’m going to hold those folks to a higher standard than the fundie Christians, because they’re actually talking the talk while failing to actually recognize that there are people who don’t celebrate Generic Winter Holiday With Tree (TM).

    I am aware that these right-wing nutjobs overlap significantly uncomfortably with antisemites. Neither group, however, overlaps with Ilyka, though, who said, I mean okay, the whole Christmas season goes on way too long, and evangelicals certainly can annoy the daylights out of people with their poor-persecuted-Christian-me complexes.

    (Also, I see that part of my last comment got eaten. I wrote:

    Christmas is much more important to Christians than Chanukah is to Jews. And ILYKA is being ragged on for pointing out this obvious-to-anyone-who-has-ever-studied-religion fact? )

  71. Jason says:

    ILYKA seems like a reasonable person. She doesn’t seem like an fundie.

    But, the notion that Christians have something to be peeved at represents an intolerance for minorities. Admittedly, this whole debate is silly and not a big deal either way. But because someone thought it might be a good business idea to celebrate all of the holidays and greet people with Happy Holidays she thinks she has a legitimate complaint? To me it reeks of fear and nostalgia for a time where all we saw in culture was White Christians.

    Honestly, if you live in a diverse place like I do, San Francisco, it’s rude to assume everyone is christian and say Merry Christmas.

  72. Jon C. says:

    NEITHER ARE ALL THE PEOPLE who are (justifiably) bashing the professional-victim Christians in this thread. No, they’d rather feel good about how inclusive they’re acting by saying “Happy Holidays” than actually work to…be inclusive of the actual different cultures that exist in your country and mine.

    Give me a break. I go to a nominally Catholic university. We got off this semester for Yom Kippur, but not for any Catholic holy days of obligation like All Saints’ Day. That doesn’t really bother me, but the notion that there’s some sort of non-fundamentalist cabal out there bent on denying you the right to have off on Yom Kippur is equally as silly as some of the conservative excesses you’re (rightfully) frustrated by.

  73. The notion that there’s some sort of non-fundamentalist cabal out there bent on denying you the right to have off on Yom Kippur

    Okay, I’m done here. If folks are just going to respond to the things I didn’t say, there’s really no reason for me to stick around.

  74. Linnaeus says:

    NEITHER ARE ALL THE PEOPLE who are (justifiably) bashing the professional-victim Christians in this thread. No, they’d rather feel good about how inclusive they’re acting by saying “Happy Holidays” than actually work to…be inclusive of the actual different cultures that exist in your country and mine. And I’m going to hold those folks to a higher standard than the fundie Christians, because they’re actually talking the talk while failing to actually recognize that there are people who don’t celebrate Generic Winter Holiday With Tree ™.

    I can appreciate the argument that “Happy Holidays” represents a false inclusiveness. For me, the issue isn’t about whether to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”. My point is that the notion that a business’ decision to use the more ambiguous term is not a priori evidence of some far-reaching nefarious conspiracy on the part of Christian-hating liberals.

  75. Thanks, Linnaeus, and I agree 100%. And as I just wrote on my own blog, I don’t even think that there’s even that much difference between Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays: they’re just the difference between Christmas and Christmas-by-another-name. And I suspect that Jews/Muslims/Hindus/etc are not taken with the HH greeting as either Christian fundies OR those who embrace the generic greeting seem to believe. (And now I’m really gone.)

  76. ilyka says:

    Ahhh, I see what the problem is. It’s that nowadays our visions of a white Christmas are being polluted with all these other weird people and their blasphemous religions. America is a diverse culture, hey, we’ve always accepted Jews. But we never let them interfere with our Christmas.

    Yes, Jason, that is exactly what I wrote. All hail your interpretative powers. Rewriting your opponent’s words in order to argue them is generally a reliable indicator that you’re about to put up a strawman.

    And yeah, Sally, let’s gloss right over the part where I say Christmas being a federal holiday violates the principle of separation of church and state.

    In fact, let me confess–you’ve both got me: I’m a fundamentalist Christian rightwing nutjob. I’m a member of the KKK, too. Rather than attending midnight mass this year, I’m thinking maybe I’ll bomb an abortion clinic instead. I’m pretty sure that’s what Jesus would do.

    I’m writing my senator right now to request a bill to replace the First Amendment with the Lord’s Prayer. There’s a guy in my city suing to get the crosses off the city seal–well, I’m countersuing him on the grounds that there aren’t enough crosses on the city seal, so there. In fact, should there even BE anything on the city seal that doesn’t glorify Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? I don’t think that there should be.

    This would never have happened if we had just stayed in the 1950s (by the way–are you getting your view of the 50s entirely from Pleasantview? Because it kind of seems like you are), when America was a God-fearing nation. Woe betide us for ever flipping the calendar past December 31, 1959. Surely God’s wrath awaits us all for having committed such iniquity.

    Honest to fuck, sometimes I don’t know why I ever think clicking “Submit Comment” is a good idea here.

    Anyway: The next time you’re complaining how stupid and unfair it is, the way those crazy conservatives stereotype you as hypersensitive, fun-killin’, America-hatin’, tree-huggin’, transsexual communist babykillers, how ’bout you point your sweet enlightened selves right back to this comment thread and see how quick you were to assume completely wrong things about me, all on the basis of what has to be one of the most tepid, wishy-washy, I-can-kinda-see-both-sides comments I have ever written anywhere.

    Stupid transsexual communist baby-killers.

  77. Linnaeus says:

    My point is that the notion that a business’ decision to use the more ambiguous term is not a priori evidence of some far-reaching nefarious conspiracy on the part of Christian-hating liberals.

    Or should I have said prima facie? I never remember. :)

  78. Jill says:

    Ugh, I can tell you all about prima facie. Thanks for reminding me to get back to studying. Ass.

    (Or, as Ilyka said, transsexual communist baby-killing ass).

  79. zuzu says:

    Firefighters can have a tree in fire house lounges on Christmas eve and day.

    And I stated the same in my post.

    And you find that acceptable?

    I guess I don’t see what your problem is with it. They’re being allowed to have a tree in a common area on city property, just for a limited period of time. There’s nothing prohibiting them from putting up personal decorations in their own workspaces or on their own persons.

    Of course, I live in godless New York and just went to a zoning meeting in Brooklyn Borough Hall. What was outside the meeting room? A Christmas tree. And here we are with a Jewish mayor, a Jewish borough president, and a stone’s throw from one of the highest concentrations of Arab-Americans outside the Detroit area. And nobody cared. It was pretty.

  80. zuzu says:

    Or should I have said prima facie? I never remember. :)

    There’s always “on its face, motherfucker.”

  81. Sally says:

    I go to a nominally Catholic university. We got off this semester for Yom Kippur, but not for any Catholic holy days of obligation like All Saints’ Day

    That’s nice, but I’ve never been to school or worked anywhere that shut down for the High Holy Days. I’ve always had to take an absence or a personal day. I’m not convinced your experience is typical.

    Ilyka’s point, as I read it, was that this is a majority-Christian country. Catholics in a Muslim country wouldn’t get any consideration. Muslims in a Catholic country wouldn’t get any consideration. And hey, Jews don’t get any consideration anywhere. We’re always going to be a minority, unless we’re willing to up and move to Israel, so we should suck it up and be glad that we’re not being fired for skippping work on Yom Kippur.

    I really take your point about Christians distorting other religions to fit their paradigm, although at this point, so many American Jews buy into the elevation of Hannukah that I think maybe it’s a bit disingenuous to protest. But honestly, I appreciate “happy holidays” as a gesture of inclusion. I celebrate New Years this time of year, and it’s nice to be included in the general holiday spirit. I appreciate it. And it’s very clear that the organized campaign against it has nothing to do with your agenda and everything to do with loopy theocrats trying to reclaim their culture from the forces of multiculturalism. I figure I’ve got exactly as much right as you do to speak for Jews, and that’s the bit of this that I find significant. You apparently don’t care very much, which is fine. But don’t tell me how Jews think about this. And don’t you dare to lecture me about my own religion or presume to tell me what I have and haven’t done to ensure that Jews get our holidays off.

  82. Jill says:

    I go to a nominally Catholic university. We got off this semester for Yom Kippur, but not for any Catholic holy days of obligation like All Saints’ Day

    Do you officially get Yom Kippur off, or do professors just cancel class because they know a lot of people won’t show up? NYU Law has a pretty substantial Jewish population, so my profs rescheduled class because they knew a lot of kids would be missing it — but Yom Kippur isn’t a holiday on the NYU calendar the same way that Christmas is. I suspect your university is the same way, although please correct me if I’m wrong.

  83. Jon C. says:

    Do you officially get Yom Kippur off, or do professors just cancel class because they know a lot of people won’t show up?

    No, we officially got Yom Kippur off. See the official calendar here and here. Some profs cancelled classes for Rosh Hoshana on an individual basis as well.

  84. My point is that the notion that a business’ decision to use the more ambiguous term is not a priori evidence of some far-reaching nefarious conspiracy on the part of Christian-hating liberals.

    Or should I have said prima facie? I never remember. :)

    Yeah, prima facie, a priori means without evidence from the world, so we can say a priori that any decision made by a business is not a priori evidence for anything.

  85. RandomGuy says:

    Hmms… had several responses, let’s see if I can remember them all.

    1. The card – I personally plan on taking the swift death slogan and tacking it on to that turducken-worthy holiday card picture. Problem solved. Kudos to both drafters (the pic and slogan), whoever they are.

    2. Whoever first pointed it out is absolutely right – Chanukah is given symbolic lip-service because it is close to Christmas, and nobody (you know what I mean, retailer-wise, I guess) gives a flip about it for any other reason. Though admittedly, it is a little difficult to celebrate Yom Kippur. Set out a pile of ashes or something? *grin* However, though I never really got worked up about it (just slightly annoyed every time I see an electric Chanukiah under the holiday tree), it does occur to me that while the act itself is mostly harmless, the consideration of oneself to be tolerant or benevolent or worldy or knowledgeable, whatever, for having grudgingly symbolized a comparatively insignificant (to, say, Yom Kippur, or the Sabbath) holiday because it’s chronologically close to Christmas – THAT is disrespectful and highly offensive. A Jew who gets worked up about being told Merry Christmas by a stranger on the 24th is a prick – that’s my opinion as a liberal and a person who tries to be friendly and assume the best about others. A Jew who doesn’t get worked up about people feeling real bloody high and mighty and pious for having cluelessly plugged in a plastic Chanukiah (because, after all, it _must_ be the Jewish equivalent of Christmas), is a spineless retail whore – that’s my opinion as a Jew.

    3. This is largely irrelevant, but I think it’s fitting in response to the Salvation Army humor (so really, I’m not taking it off topic, I swear). It’s a response to hobo frustration with the Salvation Army. The “Starvation Army”, courtesy of Utah Phillips, in turn from the Wobblies:

    Long-haired preachers come out every night
    Try to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right
    But when asked about something to eat
    They will answer in voices so sweet…
    Refrain:
    Oh you will eat! (you will eat)
    By and by… (by and by)
    In that glorious land in the sky (way up high!)
    Work and pray!
    Live on hay!
    You’ll get pie in the sky when you die! (That’s a lie!)

    And the starvation army, they play…
    and they shout and they clap and they pray [ed.: or bray?]
    When they’ve got all you’re coins on the drum
    They will tell you when you’re on the bum…
    [REFRAIN]

    Holy rollers and jumpers come out
    and they roll and they jump and they shout
    Give your money to Jesus they say
    and you’ll eat on that glorious day!
    [REFRAIN]

    Workin’ folks of all countries unite
    Side by side we for freedom shall fight!
    When this world and its wealth we have gained…
    to the grafters we’ll sing this refrain:
    You will eat! By and by…
    When you learn how to cook and how to fry
    Chop some wood! Do ya good…
    And you’ll eat in that suite by and by, that’s no lie.

  86. tigtog says:

    Stupid transsexual communist baby-killers.

    Ilyka, I’m Australian and as liberal atheist as they come: this comeback made me snort.

    Any time you’re in Sydney, I’m happy to hoist a bevvie with ya and argue how to put the world to rights overlooking the harbour lights.

    Happy Pagan Celebration Appropriation, mate.

  87. Sally says:

    A Jew who doesn’t get worked up about people feeling real bloody high and mighty and pious for having cluelessly plugged in a plastic Chanukiah (because, after all, it _must_ be the Jewish equivalent of Christmas), is a spineless retail whore – that’s my opinion as a Jew.

    Well, call me a spineless retail whore. I don’t get worked up about people trying to be inclusive, even if they’re doing it cluelessly. I think that’s about as un-generous as mouthing off at people who wish you a Merry Christmas.

    Hell, here’s another reason I’m a whore. I don’t even think it’s such a bad thing that Hannukah has taken on more significance in the Jewish caladar. First of all, the Christians put Christmas in the middle of December because it’s a good time to have a holiday when you live in the Northern bits of the Northern hemisphere. It’s not because Jesus was born in December, because he wasn’t. It’s cold and it’s dark and it’s nice to have something to make you feel happy and warm. I think it’s lovely that we light candles and eat potato pancakes right in the middle of the season when you really need a holiday. I feel the same way about Purim: March is kind of blah, and it’s nice to have a really fun, festive holiday to make it better. I tend to play up Purim more than its significance in the Jewish calander really merits.

    But also, I don’t think that Hannukah’s elevation just has to do with Christmas or wanting a happy December holiday. I think that the themes of liberation and restoration kind of resonate with post-Holocaust Jews.

    I really don’t like the emphasis on gift-giving, but it doesn’t bother me that Jews celebrate Hannukah more seriously than our ancestors did. Religions change. It’s not like anyone is trying to move Shabbat to Sunday. (And yes, I know that the early Reform movement tried to do that. As I said: no need to lecture me on my own religion.)

  88. Linnaeus says:

    Ugh, I can tell you all about prima facie. Thanks for reminding me to get back to studying. Ass.

    (Or, as Ilyka said, transsexual communist baby-killing ass)

    Merry Christmas, Jill. :)

  89. zuzu says:

    And hey, Jews don’t get any consideration anywhere.

    Not entirely true. Alternate-side parking rules get suspended on Jewish holidays in New York City. And I think the public schools close on Yom Kippur, if not also on Rosh Hashana.

    Jon, did you think that maybe fasting all day and not being able to do any work at all might be a bit more of a hindrance to class attendance (or faculty attendance) than finding time to go to Mass during the day?

  90. Starla says:

    Sniper, I suppose what I mean by what I said is that in Mexico Christmas isn’t really huge celebration, it has started to gain momentum, but it’s primarily because of American influence. I understand that historically, Christmas did not start as an American holiday.

    As for Jill and Moebius Stripper, not once did I claim in my post that people were being barred from saying or even celebrating Christmas. I just merely pointed out that it is a shame that you don’t hear people say it very often anymore, I might also add that it’s a little sad that one doesn’t actually see the words as often anymore in stores. Christmas is normally replaced with Holidays.

    I don’t think that anyone in particular is trying to stop Christmas or that we liberals are out to get Christmas or that the right-wing nutjobs are correct when they claim that we are trying to destroy Christianity and we’re starting with Christmas. But seriously think about it, I’m only 25 but I can clearly remember as child seeing and hearing Christmas more than I do now. It’s a little weird, at least to me.

  91. Jon C. says:

    Jon, did you think that maybe fasting all day and not being able to do any work at all might be a bit more of a hindrance to class attendance (or faculty attendance) than finding time to go to Mass during the day?

    Undoubtedly. Where did I suggest otherwise? My point was simly that when you’ve got Catholic schools granting time off for Jewish holidays but not Catholic ones, it kind of undermines the argument, which Moebius seems to be making, that there’s some sort of conspiracy to deny the significance of Jewish holy days.

  92. piny says:

    >>As for Jill and Moebius Stripper, not once did I claim in my post that people were being barred from saying or even celebrating Christmas. I just merely pointed out that it is a shame that you don’t hear people say it very often anymore, I might also add that it’s a little sad that one doesn’t actually see the words as often anymore in stores. Christmas is normally replaced with Holidays.

    I don’t think that anyone in particular is trying to stop Christmas or that we liberals are out to get Christmas or that the right-wing nutjobs are correct when they claim that we are trying to destroy Christianity and we’re starting with Christmas. But seriously think about it, I’m only 25 but I can clearly remember as child seeing and hearing Christmas more than I do now. It’s a little weird, at least to me. >>

    I just don’t get this mindset. Maybe it’s because I’m an atheist; maybe it’s because I work in the financial district, where the stores vomit lights and tinsel every November 29. Christmas is fucking huge. It’s everywhere. My coworker has a Christmas tree on her desk. We’ve all been invited to a “holiday” dinner that will involve Santa hats and and holly/evergreen decorations. As I type this, I’m staring at a red and green stuffed snowman from our copy vendor. The advertisement tag he’s wearing has a picture of an elf on it. Last night, I ate red and green cookies and red and green peppermint candies at a school art show. My teacher was wearing a reindeer. It’s called “holidays,” sure, but CryptoChristmas is in full swing, and the fond memories it’s catering to are definitely recognizably Christmas-oriented.

    I can’t imagine feeling deprived of Christmas in this atmosphere. If anything, I wish it would go away. The only thing that’s happened is that the people who see it as a Christian holiday, rather than the winter break it already also was before, go home and say Merry Christmas to each other. If anything, it’s kind of comforting to see the secular holiday finding its secular strength. Frosty doesn’t really have much to do with Christ.

  93. zuzu says:

    My point was simly that when you’ve got Catholic schools granting time off for Jewish holidays but not Catholic ones, it kind of undermines the argument, which Moebius seems to be making, that there’s some sort of conspiracy to deny the significance of Jewish holy days.

    It doesn’t undermine the argument because you’re trying to equate a relatively minor Catholic holy day with THE High Holy Day on the Jewish calendar, simply because it falls within the same month. Yom Kippur and All Saint’s Day are in no way equivalent.

    I see that your school closes in April 2006 for Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Monday after Easter, which is the holiest of the Catholic holidays. But it doesn’t close for Passover, the Jewish holiday occurring right around that time of year. So the logic you’re using doesn’t wash.

    That a Catholic university in New York City would close for the Jewish High Holidays is no surprise, given that a significant portion of their student body and faculty is unlikely to show up due to religious observances.

    Your school doesn’t close on Ash Wednesday, either.

  94. Jason says:

    Honest to fuck, sometimes I don’t know why I ever think clicking “Submit Comment” is a good idea here.

    Maybe it’s because you want to be a martyr? You know, the whole Christian persecution complex thing?

    After all, in your first post you did say:

    I’m probably just going to land myself in hot water for this . . .

    You’re the one that put the cross up, we simply nailed you to it.

  95. Starla says:

    I think some people would be quite at home where I work, all we have up are clear christmas lights around the landscaping area, lol

    The only holidays my work isn’t very PC about are Fourth of July, Veterans Day, & President’s Day. Pretty much anything considered “patriotic”.

  96. Jason says:

    And Ilyka,

    I acknowledged that you were polite in your first post and that you’re not a rabid holy warrior. And that you respected both sides.

    Only problem is there is no respecting the people who are ranting about the “War on Christmas.” It’s ridiculous. So you shouldn’t feel sympathy for those people.

    And when I said that these Christian Warriors are motivated by a fear that white Christians won’t dominate our culture like they did in the 1950s, I wasn’t saying that you thought that way. I’m saying I think that’s where this crusade is coming from.

  97. …it kind of
    undermines the argument, which Moebius seems to be making, that
    there’s some sort of conspiracy to deny the significance of Jewish
    holy days.

    What? Seriously, I mean…what? Help me out here, please, because I am rereading everything I’ve written in this thread and can’t for the life of me see how in the world it could possibly “seem” that I am making such an absurd point.

    Note to self: next time, instead of trying to explain my position, just post a picture of an ink blot.

  98. KMarissa says:

    As for Jill and Moebius Stripper, not once did I claim in my post that people were being barred from saying or even celebrating Christmas.

    Starla, I believe people are referencing this earlier quote:

    If I am allowed to celebrate those holidays here in America, then why aren’t people allowed to celebrate Christmas? And that includes being able to say the phrase “Merry Christmas”.

  99. randomliberal/Robert says:

    I’m just going to make it easier on myself and call the winter holiday what it really was to begin with.

    So, everyone have a Blessed Winter Solstice.

  100. J-ha says:

    “Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. . . . They are altogether brutish and foolish.” (Jeremiah 10:2-8)

    God hates christmas trees. It’s a fact.

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  102. nn says:

    Actually, India isnt a Hindu country. Its a secular country. Constitutionally as well as practically.

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