Saturday, November 20, 2010

Can We Talk About the "C" Word?

I love Christmas.  I mean, I've run across people in my life who decorate for Christmas way more than I do, and I've known people who plan their Christmas six months in advance, way before than I do.  I know a guy whose house decorations for Christmas put the local shopping centers to shame, and focused his whole year around Christmas.  Maybe if you saw me, or saw my little house, you wouldn't think so, but I love Christmas. 

Christmas is unique among holidays in America.  It has a very strong Christian tradition (well, duh!) as well as a very strong secular tradition, and I love them both.  I love giving gifts to loved ones.  People in retail will tell you that Christmas often determines whether or not they stay in business.  It's not uncommon for news outlets to report sales from the Friday after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) as if they're reporting scores from a bowl game.  Another part of the holiday is the annual struggle to "keep Christ in Christmas" and not overlook the spiritual side of the holiday.  Did you know there is actually a court ruling that tells you how many reindeer (three) a holiday display must have to remain "sufficiently secular" to be legal to display on public property? 

A 2006 Zogby poll showed that 95 percent of folks are NOT offended when they hear the words “Merry Christmas.”  The real kicker is that 1 in 3 are actually very offended when the words “Happy Holidays” push out the phrase “Merry Christmas.”  This should not come as a big surprise because another poll by Fox News/Opinion Dynamics showed that 95 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas

Some time ago, I must have filled out a survey or signed some online petition or something, because I get junk mail from the American Family Association.  I recently got an email asking me to boycott Dick's Sporting Goods because they won't prominently display "Merry Christmas".  I'm not really very offended by that. 

See, the reason I would go to Dick's is if they happen to have something I'm looking for as a gift and it's a great price.  This is purely the secular celebration of Christmas; I'm not going there for spiritual reasons.  I would prefer they used the phrase Merry Christmas, but I'm not offended by their not saying it.  If they told me to "eat sh*t and die", you can bet I wouldn't go back, but if they're neutral about "Merry Christmas", I'm OK with that. 

Here's where it gets a little dicey.  If there was a Bass Pro or Cabela's in town (both of whom got an "A+" rating from the AFA for saying Merry Christmas a lot) and a Dick's Sporting Goods, I would go to the first two because I'd prefer to go to someone with comparable merchandise and comparable price that was friendlier to my spiritual side.  A smart retailer doesn't run off customers.  But life in 21st century America is plenty hostile to Christianity and a "happy holidays" from a store is small change compared to some of the stuff we go through. 

By the way, a mere five hours after the AFA email asking me to boycott Dick's, I got a second email canceling the boycott.  They swear they're going to say Merry Christmas all the time. 

Maybe it's early to talk about this: it isn't even Thanksgiving, yet, but the emails arrived yesterday.  Don't overlook Thanksgiving, instead, be sure to give thanks.  It's good for you.  By the way, I don't call it Turkey Day, as so many seem be starting.  Thanks Giving is a great concept for a holiday. 


  1. That's another one of the unique things about America, we are the only country in the world (at least we were originally) to have a national holiday just for giving thanks. I believe that national sense of humility and recognition of God's grace was part of what made this country great. I say "was" because it seems to be slipping away - replaced with an arrogant, prideful, look-at-me narcissism that recognizes no other God than "the god of me." Of course, that's not an endorsement of state religion or anything, just an observation that somehow we've lost our sense of gratefulness and replaced it a sense of entitlement.

    And "Happy Holidays" is just more PC garbage and everybody knows it.

    Hey, maybe its not even Thanksgiving yet, but in the spirit of this post - Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  2. Thank you, sir!

    A very happy Thanksgiving, and Merry Christmas to you and yours, too.