Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Happy (Christmas) Holidays!

"In the United States Christmas has become the rape of an idea." --Richard Bach

There has recently been a flap over the secularization of Christmas, as there is every year. The focus of the controversy this year revolves around the policy some stores have implemented of requiring employees to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas", in the interest of political correctness. Or at least, in an attempt to remain inoffensive to people.


I wonder just how many people are really offended by the name, "Christ" in Christmas. Certainly it doesn't offend me, but then, I am a Christian. But I wonder just how many non-Christians are offended by the name of our most popular holiday. Then, I think of my feelings about the words "Happy Hannukkah" or "Happy Kwanzaa".

Nope. Not offended by them. Not at all.

Yesterday, after hearing some more noise on the subject, I did an little informal research study of my own. As I drove my car up to Pennsylvania, I listened to the radio and made a note everytime a commercial came on advertising something as a "Holiday" gift idea, as opposed to a "Christmas" gift idea. Also, although I primarily listen to talk radio, I changed stations now and then, to an "all holiday music, all the time" station, and noted whether each song was a secular Christmas song or a sacred one.

Actually, I am offended by the radio station I used to listen to Laura Ingraham on changing their format to all holiday music. There are advantages as well. I don't have to worry about stumbling across Ed Schulze either.

But I digress.

The results are this. In both commercials and songs, the ratio of secular over sacred was 5-1. The number Commercials talking about "Holiday" gifts and Secular songs, like "Jingle Bells", and "Winter Wonderland", etc. were something of a surprise to me. Maybe I just haven't been listening. Actually, "Jingle Bells", one of the most famous Christmas songs, isn't really a Christmas song at all. It never was. It is a winter song.

A couple of years ago, I went into Walmart to find Christmas cards to send to my family. I was astounded at the few "religious" Christmas cards there were to choose from. Hundreds of secular cards but only 3-4 depicting Christ's birth. It's troubling to me that the "reason for the season" isn't the reason anymore.

But this flap over retail employees being required to say something other than "Merry Christmas" is way overblown in my opinion. It doesn't bother me that I don't hear "Merry Christmas". In fact, I've been paying attention since this whole thing erupted and, to tell the truth, I haven't heard many of them say anything other than "Thank you". Just to see what they say in response to "Merry Christmas", everyone I greeted that way responded with a "Merry Christmas" of their own. Even at Target.

As far as saying "Happy Holidays", I have no problem with that, either.

M. Brandon Robbins, in a comment over at ER's place, made the observation that "Numerous holidays are celebrated this time of year, and to say 'Merry Christmas' is to show preferential treatment and possibly exile a huge number of customers."

I agree with that. Except the "huge number" part. Huge numbers don't care one way or the other. Oh, and I don't agree it shows preferential treatment, either. It is merely tradition to wish each other "Merry Christmas" this time of year. Maybe it shows perceived preferential treatment, but that perception, in this case, would be mistaken.

He also said, "Don't these money-grubbers realize that saying "Happy Holidays" is more smart marketing than de-Christianizing Christmas?"

I don't see that as smart marketing as much as it is the result of "money grubbing". And, in my opinion, that tactic backfired. In the interest of trying not to offend, they have alienated a lot more people than they would have had they simply left the issue alone.

But then, Robbins is smarter than me. After all, he has a degree in English and I, alas, never graduated college. (Sorry, Brandon, couldn't resist.)

I swear I saw someone on ER's site say that the actual reason for the season is to celebrate the Winter Solstice, but when I went to retrieve that quote I couldn't find it. Maybe it was my imagination, but I swear I saw it! I thought Brandon said that, too.

That, of course, is balderdash. I think that statement must have been made by someone in their 20's who never experienced life in pre-political correctness America. It is Christmas. A day set aside (at the wrong time of the year) to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the founder of Christianity.

I grant you that it was meant to replace the heathen celebration of the winter solstice, but Christ is the reason for celebrating the Christmas season. And the advent of winter is the reason for the celebration of Winter Solstice.

Why celebrate the first day of winter? All you're doing is celebrating the fact that you've survived up till now.

That makes even less sense than celebrating birthdays.

Also:
While searching for "Christmas" in Google images for a picture to add to this commentary, I found it took me through 11 pages before I found an image of the Nativity. So even Google has forgotten what the reason for the season is.

And that is truly disturbing.

28 comments:

Gayle said...

Excellent post! You are absolutely right. CHRISTmas is called Christmas because it is a celebration of Christ. "Happy Hannukah" or "Happy Kwanza" doesn't bother me either.

I am trying to get everyone I know who runs blogs to post a Nativity Scene on their blogs two days before Christmas. Just to make the statement that at least we know why Christmas is celebrated.

jgaoehals14962 said...

Mark,
Several points...
First, every time I hear "Jingle Bells" I never think of Christmass... just the fact that Batman smells and Robin, somehow, laid an egg... :)

Next Point... Happy Kwanza does offend me... the entire holiday (holy day???) is nothing but the embodiment of political correctness...

Happy Hannika (sp?) makes me laugh as I think of Adam Sandler singing the Happy Hannika song...

Christmas, I have been told, was actually started by the church to help replace the celebration of Saturnalia... some pagan goddess that was receiving a lot of attention at the time. It did occur around the Winter Solstice... so there may be some truth to that...

The holiday is about greed for many upon many. I have very mixed emotions about the entire event, as you well know. On the one hand, I like getting my share of stuff. ON the other hand... it's supposed to be about Christ, but really isn't... because it takes an act of God to get the Christmas tree out of the sanctuary... etc, etc, come on January 1! there is truly a pagan day, and no one denies that.

Mark said...

Kwanzaa is no holiday in my opinion. It is just an invention of racists to further separate themselves from the majority of the population, who are quite happy to regard the racists as equals, but understandably reluctant to see them as superiors, as they wish.

But I don't take offense at anyone who cares to wish me a happy Kwanzaa.

rich bachelor said...

The celebration of the winter solstice predates Christianity, and was called the Feast of the Unconquered Sun.
This has prompted more than one Christian I've known (who knows their history) to call it the Feast of the Unconquered Son, naturally.
I never get offended about being wished a Merry Christmas, because that would just plain be silly.

Son of Lilith said...

Thank you (?) for the publicity.

You forget the last part of my comment, about not being clear-headed as the result of a stupid mistake I made (mixing different forms of alcohol).

I didn't mention Solstice on ER's blog. I mentioned it on another blog, and how it's hardly celebrated now.

It does make me wonder: if there was no Solstice to replace, would we celebrate Christmas now?

Liam said...

Agree. Happy Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza (huh?), Happy Saturnalia, whatever. They all have a flavour to them. 'Happy Holidays' is plastic and tasteless and should be avoided.

Fish said...

I wonder when we became a society so easily offended. Major stores handing down policy concerning the greetings their employees should use to avoid offending anyone. Many being offended by that. A black holiday created because someone felt offended because Christmas was thought of as a white holiday. I want to be called a "personal assistant" because I'm offended by the word "secretary". I'm a sanitation engineer not a janitor. Janitor is such an offensive word it would seem. This whole PC thing has grown out of everyone trying not to offend anyone. They changed the name of the print shop to the Lithographic Arts Department.

No one wants to call a spade a spade anymore. I suppose it's the "Depression specialists excavation implement".

We've become so PC it offends my back sides. I guess I'll have to start calling it a posterior.

FrenziedFeline said...

I can't imagine being Jewish and being offended if someone wished me a Merry Christmas. I'd probably give the heartfelt reply, "And a Happy Hanukkah to you."

I can turn that around since I'm Christian. I can even turn it around to someone that wishes me Happy Holidays.

Personally, I think the key word in "politically correct," is "politically." It's the politicians that work so hard to not offend anyone that they've created a society that thinks it's entitled to not be offended. Of course, if you're Christian, it seems you're free game.

LOL at Pastor Tim regarding "Jingle Bells!" :)

Micah Gendron said...

"Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday observance held from December 26 to January 1 honoring African-American heritage, primarily in the United States. Timed to serve as an alternative to the growing commercialism of Christmas, it was founded in 1966 by Ron Karenga (Ron Everett). Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but a cultural one, a syncretic festival, based on various elements of the first harvest celebrations widely celebrated in Africa, around the 10th month of the year. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Foundation in October 2004, 1.6% of consumers celebrate Kwanzaa."----This was from wikipedia and is solely put here for Pastor Tim to realize that Intolerance is not very Christian of him and doing a little research would make his posts a little more tolerable.

Merry Happy Holy(i)days of Hannuka Kwanzaa and Christmas to you all!!!

PS- Look up the most evil of all Chistmas Villans the german "KRAMPUS" which puts children in chains and stuff very evil very frightening very Germanic for Christmas!!!

Son of Lilith said...

Why the hostility towards Kwanzaa? Is there something wrong with celebrating one's cultural ancestry? Nobody whines about St. Patrick's Day, or Oktoberfest, so why Kwanzaa?

Poison Pero said...

Is it me or is my version of the Constitution missing pages?

1st Amendment:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."

Most normal people read that as "freedom OF religion".........Not "freedom FROM religion".

I'm sure this makes me a radical though.

Erudite Redneck said...

I have a question, stemming from the last thread, where I willingly relinquished the last word.

This is a new word, for Tug and Daffy, specifically, but others, too:

Why do you tell me to shut up? Why don't you you engage me?

Y'all might be kinder about it, but each of you has been just as angry and persnickety with things regarding the Gospel, and Jesus hisself, as I have.

What got me peeved warn't an argument in defense of an opinion, or assertion, or an argument. It was the idea that I should just hush because y'all were tired of hearing what I had to say.

Well. They got tired of hearin' what Jesus had to say, too. And I for damn sure do put myself in the same boat with him. By GRace. Amd there's a dang a dang scripture to back that up, somewhere.

It's not my fault that everything else that y'all hear that is associated with the Lord is so blindedly and sometimes unthinkingly political to the other direction!

Goat, I think based on what I'm read from you that you're pretty right-wing. Fine. I'm not. But if you're hanging around here, I'm with you on this point:

If your thinkin' is outside the mainstream, then you and I don't have many friends, or brothers or sisters, really, around here.

Anonymous said...

I'm not offended by "Happy Hannukkah" or Kwanzaa or whatever. I am happy for anyone to wish me "Happy Holidays," and I don't consider it an attack on my faith.

As a Christian, what I AM offended by is that several of the nation's largest megachurches have announced that they are CANCELING SUNDAY SERVICES on Christmas Day. That's mind boggling.

As for Christmas and what it's about, in our house, the entire Advent season leads to the birth of Christ, and we anticipate the arrival of the Christ child with daily readings from Isaiah and other passages looking forward to His coming into the world.

On Christmas Eve, we gather for candlelight worship and take Communion to remember that He also died for us.

I, too, don't understand the hostility toward Kwanzaa.

As for Mark and Brandon, I'd say their both smart fellows.

Happy Holidays,
GP

Poison Pero said...

Hey ER, am I still the "rightiest of the right wing, righties?"

I'd never tell you to shut up......And I'd rarely referrence Christ either.

Seeker said...

Those who are believers in Christ know what (or rather, Whom) they are celebrating at Christmas. Everyone else is simply celebrating a season, or whatever. Let's not get bent out of shape. The unbelieving world is in darkness, and will never celebrate the Christ of Christmas. After all, what does God judge: the way you celebrate Christmas or the way you accept/reject Christ?
"He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:18

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Why the hostility toward Kwanzaa, you ask?

It's because its roots are in Afrocentrism, collectivism, and anti-white views. The founder, Ron Karenga, is filled with hatred toward whites and hatred toward America. Karenga is nothing more than a Marxist thug.

There may be some people who may innocently practice Kwanzaa as a celebration of the African Harvest; but Marxist Karenga's Kwanzaa is about socialism and Afrocentrism. There is a Kwanzaa flag, and the pledge that goes along with it, is racist through and through:

"We pledge allegiance to the red, black, and green, our flag, the symbol of our eternal struggle, and to the land we must obtain; one nation of black people, with one God of us all, totally united in the struggle, for black love, black freedom, and black self-determination."

Kwanzaa is a political statement for the establishment of a separate black nation on the American continent. Karenga himself says, "People think it's African but it's not. I came up with Kwanzaa because Black people wouldn't celebrate it if they knew it was American. Also, I put it around Christmas because I knew that's when a lot of Bloods would be partying."

He also explains that his creation of Kwanzaa in 1966, was motivated by hostilitiy toward Christianity and Judaism.

Kwanzaa does not deserve to be on an equal footing to the religious holidays; but it gets attention and promotion, because many whites are afraid to speak up for fear of being called racist and intolerant and anti-black. It's ridiculous.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

That being said, I do give people the benefit of the doubt when they talk of celebrating Kwanzaa. It may be, that they are ignorant of the racist origins and don't share in the racist views of its founder. It may well evolve into a peaceful celebration of the African harvest; and that's ok.

But I object to the need for it and I object to anything that will make Ron Karenga out to be something other than the racist black nationalist that he is.

Hell...why don't I just round up my Asian brothas to fabricate our own racial holiday to coincide and rival the end of the year religious traditions? The more separatist the holiday, the better, right?

Mike's America said...

Mark: Google is run by a bunch of moonbats, so no surprise you had to look hard for a nativity image.

And we can only WISH that a college education would have the benefits you ascribe to Brandon.

Speaking of education: Did you see the story about the teachers in Wisconsin who tried to force EIGHT YEAR OLD students to write anti-war letters to elected officials as a class assingment?

Apparently, good writing skills are not the prime objective of public education.

Mark said...

On a lighter note, the late Dennis Wolfberger, Jewish comedian, said once someone wished him a "Happy Chaka Khan!" He answered, "And gracious Ozzie and Harriet to you!"

Daffy76 said...

ER, I never told you to shut up, just to stop bringing Jesus into the argument all the time. I love Jesus and I am trying to follow his teachings too. You are not the only one. I just interpret
SOME of what he said differently from you. You present your opinions like you are the only Christian out here in blog-world and you ain't. You're not a better Christian than any of the rest of us either. That's how you come across lately--like you think you are.

Again, I'm not trying to get you to shut up, just tone down the superiority complex some.

Anonymous said...

I'm never quite sure if Pastor Tim is being serious or kidding around when he tries to JOIN in the holiday's secularization: You know, did you hear the one about the pastor who didn't get the meaning of Christmas?

It's just a funny bit, right Pastor Tim? Christmas not being about Christ -- but you like to get stuff!?

--As for the hair-trigger hostility against Kwanzaa, thanks for the explanation.

Yes, obviously the previous commentators must simply have shared your offense toward Kwanzaa's Afrocentrism and Marxist origins.

That's it.
You bet.

Peace,
GP

BRUISER said...

"Hell...why don't I just round up my Asian brothas to fabricate our own racial holiday to coincide and rival the end of the year religious traditions? The more separatist the holiday, the better, right?"

---Word From Nantucket wrote...

The last time you "rounded" up Asian brothers you put them in internment camps. So you need need to chill on the rounding up of anyone.

Foxnews is selling a book when they talk about the war on Christmas.

John Gibson's Book of the same name.

That's all. They are shilling for a book. That's it. And you are buying it hook, line, & sinker.

Pat Robertson once said good christians should not buy christmas trees because they devalue the spirit of Christmas. So I guess Christians used to be agaisnt the commercialization of the birth of Christ and now they are just walking the razor's edge of verbiage.

Ps- Good to see the White House understands that there is more than one religion practiced in America by sending out Holiday Cards instead of Christmas cards. I held one in my hands this morning so I know its not a joke. Practice what you preach people.

Erudite Redneck said...

Pero, your lofty position remains unassailed! (But Lawsy, you got mroe competition than ever these days!)

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

The last time you "rounded" up Asian brothers you put them in internment camps. So you need need to chill on the rounding up of anyone.

It's unbelievable how well you pick up on sarcasm, bruiser; must be your astute, well-honed liberal acumen [/sarcasm]

But before you spout off, you should realize that I'm one of those "Asian brothers" I speak of. My mom's Japanese and I have very close ties with the Japanese-American community; so go wipe the kool-aid spittle from your face and take it somewhere else.

Foxnews is selling a book when they talk about the war on Christmas.

John Gibson's Book of the same name.

That's all. They are shilling for a book. That's it. And you are buying it hook, line, & sinker.


I don't have the book; but I'm familiar with the war. Open your eyes. The secularization of America is all around you regardless of Fox.

Pat Robertson once said

Pat Robertson doesn't speak for me. But thanks for trying.

Ps- Good to see the White House understands that there is more than one religion practiced in America by sending out Holiday Cards instead of Christmas cards.

Perfectly fine with it. George Bush also lit a menorrah in the White House last year; that's never happened before. And no President in our history has treated Islam with as much respect as this President has, sometimes to the consternation of his conservative base, probably. He goes out of his way in his speeches to stress that this is not a religious war against peaceful Muslims.

Quit being so close-minded by your hatred.

And Merry Christmas Bruiser. I know Jesus loves you dearly.

BRUISER said...

I know you are asian Nantoonkut I saw you drive.

you say-
but I'm familiar with the war. Open your eyes. The secularization of America is all around you regardless of Fox.

What war the one in Iraq? Yes I see your leaders failed policies.

The Secularization of America? Research one of our Founding Fathers thoughts on this subject and you will see there is room for you too.

So take your 87% Christian majority and stop acting so persecuted already moron. You do live in Jesusland.

Get off the cross we need the wood for the fire.

Mark said...

Bruiser, You are getting dangerously close to getting banned from my site. You can attack me or Bush or the Republicans and real, decent people will just laugh at you. But when you launch personal attacks against my friends, especially with racist attacks, you are crossing the line.

You owe Wordsmith an apology. And I'm not kidding.

BRUISER said...

It's unbelievable how well you pick up on sarcasm, Nantucket; must be your astute, well-honed conservative acumen [/sarcasm....

And I apologize if I offended your politically correct friends...

Dish it but not take it?

Its called SARCASM...jeebus.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I know you are asian Nantoonkut I saw you drive.

Ahaha...that's not sarcasm, my friend. That's just a racial joke. Don't worry, I'm not offended.



What war the one in Iraq? Yes I see your leaders failed policies.


There you go again; steering off topic. No matter what Mark posts, you always throw in crap-statements like this that have nothing to do with anything.

The Secularization of America? Research one of our Founding Fathers thoughts on this subject and you will see there is room for you too.

Yes, and Jesus still loves you Bruiser. I merely like you because you are an entertaining tool of the Left.

So take your 87% Christian majority and stop acting so persecuted already moron. You do live in Jesusland.

That's "moran" to you, junior.

Get off the cross we need the wood for the fire.

OKKKay. I was getting a muscle cramp anyway.