Is there ANY subject exempt from political disagreement? Must we stake out battle lines against everyone who doesn’t agree with us? When I say “us,” I use that term loosely. It seems there is a different “us” on just about every subject. Have we become so self-centered in our society that “Merry Christmas” has become a battle cry? As Mason once said to Dixon, we have to draw the line somewhere. But why Christmas?
Who decided it is somehow un-American to say “Happy Holidays?” Just about every culture or belief system celebrates something this time of year. Celebrating the winter solstice is as old as humanity. The symbols of Christmas – from Christmas trees to mistletoe – were expropriated from pagan winter celebrations. Santa Claus (or Kris Kringle or St. Nicholas) is not a religious icon – it is a commercial icon. Santa gets us in the mood to buy stuff. Our most popular Christmas songs (White Christmas, Rudolph, Winter Wonderland, Let it Snow, Chestnuts on an Open Fire, Silver Bells, The Most Wonderful Time of Year, Holly Jolly Christmas, etc.) were all written by Jewish songwriters (who celebrate Hanukkah this time of year).
So yes, Christmas is celebrated in many diverse ways beyond the birth of Jesus Christ, but for people who practice the Christian faith, his birth is the most important reason to celebrate.
America is a nation of many religious beliefs (including 30% who fall under the category of “none”). Wishing someone “Happy Holidays” recognizes and respects our differences. Besides, Christmas and New Year’s are a week apart, which is another reason why people say “Happy Holidays.”
To declare that saying “Happy Holidays” amounts to a “War on Christmas,” is absurd. However, I accept that some people just want to pick a fight and can’t come up an valid reason, so they invent a War on Christmas. To them, I wish they find a counselor to address their anger management issues. For everyone else, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Thank you, Milt, I love this column. I say Happy Holidays for those exact same reasons!