You see, 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 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 barely decorated 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 very strong secular traditions, and I love them both. I love giving gifts to loved ones - and even total strangers. I love the old favorite songs and the whole feeling of this time. People in retail will tell you that Christmas often determines whether or not they stay in business. I'm sure you've noticed that news outlets 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? If I have three reindeer on display, it's secular, but if it's only two and package of reindeer sausage, I'm obviously trying to convert you!
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.Every year you hear about overzealous administrators in some municipality or some place deciding that the most innocuous secular symbols are too Christian. Take this notice from the University of Maine (emphasis in the original - as well as the two spelling errors in one sentence):
“Just wanted to remind everyone that Aux Services is not to decorate any public areas with Christmas or any other religious themed decorations,” the email states. “Winter holiday decorations are fine but we need to not display any decoration that could be perceived as religious.”Hate to break it to them, but candy canes are nowhere to be found in Christian scriptures; nor are wreaths, trees, or decorative lights on those trees. They are not religious symbols. And even if they were, the absence of religious symbols isn't a diversity of views; it's presenting only the atheistic view. Diversity would be to allow other faiths to participate in the displays.
“This includes xmas trees, wreaths, xmas presents, menorahs, candy canes, etc.,” the email says. “What is allowed our [sic] winter themes, snowmen, plain trees without presents underneath, decorative lights, but not on trees, snow flakes, [sic] etc.”
“[T]he university makes every effort to ensure that all members – students, employees, alumni and the public–feel included and welcome on campus. Decorations on the UMaine campus are therefore reflective of the diversity found in our community,”
As we plunge further into the Christmas season, take time to enjoy it and your loved ones. If you feel a need to get some perfunctory gift for someone you'd really rather not give to, I say don't. That's some sort of bizarre social ritual, not Christmas. Don't put yourself in debt for Christmas; even if it means the kids get a "meager" holiday. It won't hurt them and may just help them. If you're one of the 45% who recently said they'd just as soon skip the whole thing - I say skip it. It's still a federal holiday, so you have that going for you.
the cutest ad I've seen this year.