Saturday, December 20, 2014

It's Hard to Be Merry At Christmas When It's "Merry Christmas" Or Else

The last time I wrote about Christmas I thought I was being pretty polite, considering the message I was getting from my friends and relatives and neighbors.  To wit:  How DARE you even THINK about not wishing me a Merry Christmas!  Which, of course, led me to respond by pleading "not guilty"--which caused me to tell a lie at Christmas since I didn't feel the least bit guilty. Why would I?

I say "Merry Christmas" quite a bit at Christmas time.  I've been saying "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" ever since I could say the words, which, I'm guessing, was around December, 1939, when I was just over two years old.  Sometimes I say "Have a great holiday!" without mentioning which holiday I mean when I say that.  There are times when I say "Happy New Year!", forgetting to say "Merry Christmas", even though it may be several days before Christmas.  I can't help it.  It just comes out.

 For weeks now I've been getting those admonishing Facebook posts and emails about keeping Christ in Christmas by saying "Merry Christmas". (As if, if we don't keep repeating those words, everyone will forget who Christ was.) 

I hadn't planned on writing yet another blog about the "war" on Christmas.  Even Bill O'Reilly himself is getting bored with it. I can tell.  (He has now declared the war is over and he won it.) But today I received the email that was the straw that finally broke it.

It was an email from a dear friend and the subject line read, " MERRY CHRISTMAS!"  The picture that topped it was an old fashioned Currier & Ives etching with digital snowflakes falling, falling, falling.  A colorful "Merry Christmas" banner arched over the top with a bright red ribbon wreathed with holly and ivy.

So lovely. . .

And this is what it said:

I will be making a conscious effort to wish everyone

a Merry Christmas this year ...

My way of saying that I am celebrating

The birth Of Jesus Christ.

So, I am asking my email buddies,

if you agree with me, to please do the same.
And if you'll pass this on to
Your email buddies, and so on... maybe we can prevent one more
American tradition from being lost in the sea of "Political Correctness".

What. On. Earth.  Really??  At risk of never receiving another Merry Christmas greeting from any of you ever again, I'm going to say this and I hope you will take it in the spirit in which it is given:

What is wrong with you people?

It's Christmas!  Millions of us love this season.  We look forward to it, we read about it, we sing about it, we who are parents can't wait to experience it with our children.  We plan, we decorate, we bake, we go shopping, we party.  We find a million different excuses to hug each other.  We hang mistletoe just so we can kiss under it.  

We fill food baskets and donate money because it's Christmas and there is nothing sadder than the thought of someone not enjoying the holidays.  Our happiness is so acute we smile at perfect strangers and wish them good tidings.  Joy, my friends, is busting out all over.

Many of us only go into a church at Christmas time;  some of us not at all.  I love the story of the baby Jesus.  I love Christmas carols. (Last night I watched the St. Olaf Choir Christmas Concert from Norway on PBS.  It was beautiful--a mix of the sacred and the secular--like Christmas.) I love the happy faces.  The candles.  Nice.  All nice.

But let's talk about Christmas tradition:

December 25 is closer to the pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice than it is to Jesus' birth, which most Christian scholars put nearer to summer, based on historic events.

The Christmas song "O Tannenbaum" was based on a 16th century tune, put to secular lyrics in 1824. 

Charles Dickens wrote "A Christmas Carol" in 1843. While it ends with, "God bless us, every one!", it's a morality tale about the rich holding terrible power over the poor.

Irving Berlin, a Jewish songwriter, wrote "White Christmas" in the late 1930s and it became the most popular Christmas song of all time.

Charles Schultz's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was released in 1965 and has been shown every year since.

We love "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Let It Snow" and "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas".  We love red and green and silver and gold.  We love twinkly lights and Santa and snowmen.  And elves.  We love elves.  WE LOVE CHRISTMAS!

And you're spoiling it for us.

It takes all the fun out of it when you think you get to decide for us how we're supposed to spend Christmas.  For you, Jesus is the reason for the season. Amen to that.  For us, it's a wonderful, happy holiday that is open to so many interpretations you could get the idea it's mainly about peace on Earth, goodwill toward mankind.

But we would never know it now, what with this sudden ruckus about putting Christ back in Christmas--as if there were sinister factions out there trying to erase him for all eternity, the main weapon being two words: "Happy Holidays".

If Christmas means Christ to you, there is no better time than the Yuletide to celebrate him.  But you simply cannot butt into our celebrations, Grinch-like, throwing wet blankets all over our happy days.  If there is a war on Christmas, it's a one-sided battle and it's coming from you. You can have it.  For me, it's the happiest, happiest time of the year.  I feel love in the air and I plan on enjoying every minute of it.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and a joyous New Year.

(Cross-posted at Alan Colmes' Liberaland and dagblog.  Featured at Crooks & Liars.


  1. And a Joyous Winter Solstice!!
    Well put and pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject.

  2. Oh, right, the Solstice! Forgot that. Thanks.

  3. You expressed my thoughts exactly. I like to remember all the "pagan" symbols we use at Christmas: trees, mistletoe, candles (Hannukah), Wassail, and on and on.

  4. Sharon, I'm sorry you had so much trouble commenting. I thought Disqus would make things easier. Hmmm.

    Thank you for your thoughts. I suspect a lot of people feel the same way but nobody wants to keep that war going!

    Enjoy your holidays, and go find that mistletoe!

  5. Mistletoe grows all over the place here, up high in trees. Gatherers shoot it down with shot guns, if they aren't brave enough to climb ladders that high.

  6. I find those that do the most stressing about what a person says to someone else as a greeting for the holiday season has lost the true spirit behind the season. You are not just suppose to use words of greetings. People are suppose to be able to recognize a true Christian(meaning Christ like), by their behavior and treatment of others.
    I myself, wish them and their family good health, Happy Christmas Happy Hanukkah a great New Years and (live long and prosper) to boot. I have yet to not have them crack a smile at this 58 yr old guy.

  7. Happy holidays then! And yes, I agree!

  8. You nailed it. All those people "defending" Christmas are doing a nice job of destroying the holiday for everyone.

  9. it was never a "war", it was just another way for FOX & Company to make their nitwit audience feel "superior" to those younger, more educated, higher income & IQ "Libtards". it gave them another reason to howl at the moon, bemoaning the passing of "their" way of life. perhaps, as you note, even o'reilly's getting tired of it and frankly, it's lost whatever luster it had, the old folks go back to yelling at the kids to get off their lawn, and screaming at clouds. then they die.

  10. Right on! I've been posting like comments all over Facebook, mostly asking "WHO is it that is preventing you from saying 'Merry Christmas?'" The answers (or lack thereof) have been very instructional on this "war's" one-sided nature. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  11. Exactly! Don't make this joyous holiday a reason for yet another confrontation! I do say Merry Christmas, but without the edge. Happy family time, everyone!

  12. I just find it weird that anyone would want to turn this season of Good Will into a battleground. It tells me that Fox has a stranglehold on millions of people--and that's downright scary.

  13. What a shame that we've allowed our happiest holidays to be taken over by Right Wing meanies. Nothing "superior" about them, but you're right--all it takes is for some yahoo like O'Reilly to keep spoon-feeding them the most gawd-awful drivel to make them feel they're special.

    Demagoguery and Christmas just don't mix. I'm hoping this is the end of it now and we'll go on celebrating the Christmas holidays like we did before the insanity hit.

  14. Thank you! I ask that question, too, but they don't stick around long enough to bother with answers. It's the propaganda that counts, and there's no room for intelligent discussion.

  15. Me, too, Diane. "Merry Christmas without the edge." Makes me laugh and cry all at the same time. ;)

  16. We celebrate the Solstice here, you should see faces turn purple/pale when I wear my "Axial Tilt is the Reason for the Season" t-shirt! If anyone dares get in MY face about not saying Merry Christmas? I tell them I'd like them to keep Saturn in my Saturnalia, thank you.

  17. Love the t-shirt! That's brilliant! And, of course, your response. But i wouldn't expect anything less from you Hooray for Labrys for keeping it surreal. Lol.


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