Do you find the phrase ‘Happy Holidays’ personally offensive? How about holiday trees? Or holiday shopping?
You may be wondering (and rightfully so): WHO CARES?!!!
Apparently, some people do.
Apparently, some people think ‘Happy Holidays’ is exclusive of Christians, despite the fact that it’s including the many different holidays celebrated this time of year.
Am I Christian? No. Do I sing Christmas carols? Yes. Just on Saturday, in fact. Did I feel uncomfortable as a non-Christian child when we sang songs about Christ our savior, and Satan’s power? Yes. We sang Hanukkah songs, too, though these did seem more secular than many of the Christmas carols. Still, I appreciate the history of the holiday and the beauty of songs such as O Holy Night.
Do I buy Christmas presents? Yes. And I don’t think I’ll ever call them holiday presents. Do I write Christmas cards? Well, not so much lately but that’s only because of laziness, not because of any resentment that they’re called Christmas cards.
Am I offended when people wish me a ‘Merry Christmas’? No. In fact, I’m more offended that Bill O’Reilly and Jerry Falwell and their allies find ‘Happy Holidays’ offensive. That they are so self-centered to think that ‘Happy Holidays’ is an attempt to bring down the Christian right. Honestly, have they even considered that Target and other stores might use ‘Happy Holidays’ in their advertising more out of monetary reasons? (Common sense dictates that the more people you include, the more gifts you sell.) And it’s obvious from their insensitivity to the inclusive nature of the phrase ‘Happy Holidays’ that they have no idea how it feels to grow up as a non-Christian in a predominantly Christian nation.
Moreover, why do they care so much about retailers not incorporating the word ‘Christmas’ into their advertising? Are extremely crowded malls and hundreds of dollars spent on gifts really a part of a Christian Christmas? They seem unable to separate the religious holiday from the secular, American holiday. I am not a Christian, yet I participate in this gift-hunting frenzy because I’ve adopted the secular aspects of the holiday (a time for family, friends, goodwill and cheer) as a part of American culture; the same way Thanksgiving is a part of our culture that my French classmates have accepted (one of them had no clue about the story about the Pilgrims and Native Americans coming together for dinner).
And the campiagn to have ‘Christmas’ trees instead of ‘holiday’ trees? Excuse me, but where in the bible do they talk about chopping up a tree and decorating it with fake snow and shiny metal balls in honor of Christ’s birth? (I still call them Christmas trees anyway, but still, why so much anger over holiday trees?)
Some have even argued that saying ‘Happy Holidays’ is un-American. Because obviously not saying ‘Christmas’ = un-Christian = un-American.
And so I have spent the last half-hour writing an entry about this issue that shouldn’t even be an issue. I guess on the bright side, I can thank Bill O’Reilly and Jerry Falwell for making me see how inanely idiotic they are.
I hope the O’Reillys and Falwells out there realize that they’re the ones killing the Christmas spirit. And I hope the American public realizes it too.
some links (courtesy of Josh, so yes, these are liberal-leaning):
Apparently, Fox News was selling an O’Reilly Factor Holiday ornament: http://www.crooksandliars.com/2005/12/01.html#a6133
A great quote from a debate on Fox News Watch about the alleged Christmas vs. Holiday Controversy:
Neal: We’re at war, there’s Darfur, there’s an AIDS crisis and you’re worried about whether people should say Merry Christmas? What world do you live in?
And finally, a New York Times Editorial on this great controversy of our times:
P.S. And if you have the Pax channel, you may be lucky enough to see Jerry Falwell’s infomercial urging citizens to call up the Liberty Counsel for some free representation in anti-Christmas discrimination cases… I kid you not, I was flipping through the channels and came across this infomercial informing viewers that they “have the constitutional right to send Christmas cards” and they also “have the constitutional right to sing Christmas carols” and so on and so forth.
P.P.S. If you don’t care whether stores say ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Merry Christmas’, vote Yes in Bill O’Reilly’s poll: