Well, the holidays are upon us and many of you are asking about the War On Christmas. I wasn’t aware the holiday was under attack but with George Bush still in the White House war for any reason against any government or institution is certainly possible. So here is our best effort on the subject of Jesus vs. Santa Claus.
Oh give me a break. The last time I checked you could hang a Christmas tree upside down in your house if that is how you wanted to celebrate the holiday. Seriously. Have any of you seen this? Christmas trees hanging upside down everywhere. I asked the owner of a shop I was in recently, and she said it is easier to hang the ornaments that way because the branches don’t get in the way. Talk about throwing the baby Jesus out with the bath water… it’s upside down for God’s sake. Who cares if the ornaments aren’t touching the branches below. But I am missing the point of this essay…
Many people are upset because the baby Jesus seems to be overshadowed by Santa Claus, Rudolf, Frosty and other American’s personal traditions. Well, it’s that last part that really seems to be the issue because the rest of those guys aren’t real. Of course some people have argued that the face of Jesus appeared in a pancake or the virgin Mary in an MRI scan so being real is kind of relative. But this isn’t an argument on the reality of Jesus. THAT is an argument about faith and faith is relative to the person not the holiday. THIS is an argument on how we celebrate the holiday in America, and it is important to note the distinction between the two. You can’t argue faith. It’s pointless. But you can argue about the appropriateness of a plastic Holy Family on the front lawn of the county court house.
In your home you can celebrate Christmas with the Nativity or with any other festivity depending on what the holiday means to you. In public you have two problems. First, a government building still has the responsibility to recognize that 75 million of its citizens don’t subscribe to the virgin birth theory or the holiday celebrating it. Second, a retail building like a mall wants to appeal to the widest audience possible so why decorate in such a way as to alienate 24% of its customers? Now private property is another story. By all means, if Jesus is the reason for the season with you, then put a bulb in the back of your plastic baby Jesus and light the way to your front door for all to see.
But folks it’s a two-way street. Stars or trumpets hanging down Main Street are pretty whether you celebrate Christmas or not. White deer, snowmen, and snowflakes can be enjoyed by everyone. But you can’t convince me that a virgin Mary holding a plastic baby Jesus in every front yard is going to bestow extra blessings on us. Trust me, Jesus isn’t that shallow. If you want to bestow extra blessings try working towards world peace. Now that is something Jesus can get behind.
At my house, we put the tree right side up. We put out a Creche that was hand-painted by Harold’s mother. There’s an angel on top of the tree and a Santa Claus sitting in the corner. We like to give gifts especially for the children. Some of us start the day by going to church and some of us don’t, but we all come together around the table filled with a traditional holiday meal.
However you celebrate the holiday with your family – celebrate it fully and savor the time with loved ones. Hang your tree right side up, upside down or stick it up your ass for all I care. Quit worrying about how others choose to celebrate it. It accomplishes nothing except to ruin your own holiday.
And look – for those of you who are now crafting the comments about the history of Christmas, Christmas trees, Winter Solstice, Druids, Pagans and what not – because I can already hear you typing out there - you’re missing the point of my rant. The holiday is about what it means to you and your family and no one can take that away from you and your family except you and your family. So Merry Christmas at my house. Happy Holidays at yours. Either way I wish you happiness and good health for the coming year.
One last thing before I go. There is a war I do want to start. I want to start a war on that horrible Christmas song called Christmas Shoes. Certainly you know the song. They play it every hour on the hour this time of year. Who in their right mind wants to hear about a small boy spending his allowance to buy a pair of shoes for his mother so that she’ll look nice for Jesus when she (apparently) dies on Christmas day. Talk about a war on Christmas. The boy is about to lose his mother on Christmas and someone convinced him that Jesus gives a rat’s ass what shoes she’s wearing. If you want to save Christmas call your local radio station and ask them to please stop playing that song.
There you go. That’s all I’ve got.
Tradition. When I think of the holidays I think of tradition. To send a fruit cake or not to send a fruit cake. To invite Howard’s brother and his “Negative Nancy” wife or not to invite them. To serve a spiked holiday punch even though three of Howard’s nephews are in AA or not serve the holiday punch. It all comes down to tradition. That and Thank You notes. What happened to writing Thank You notes? Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I received a Thank You note for any Christmas Gift that Howard and I have given. Now, I don’t give gifts IN ORDER to receive a Thank You note. Really, I don’t. It is just proper manners. Tradition
So, for those of you dreading the holidays. Dreading the same old “routine”. Dreading the same people that were there last year…you didn’t care for them then so you’re not going to care for them now. My advice to you is to start your own tradition. Do something this year…anything…and announce it to all that it is now your tradition. You will be amazed how it works. And then when all is said and done…send a Thank You note for gifts you have received. It matters, really.
That’s it. I’m done.
P.S. Happy Birthday, Helen, dear. You are loved now more than ever before. Howard said to tell you that you are now older than he is…at least for a month. My goodness, dear, but the years have flown by haven’t they?
We hope everyone is preparing for a wonderful holiday. Our gift to you was not talking about a certain beauty queen from up north. If you have been hit hard by the Bush Depression, then make your gift your time. Spending time with family never goes out of style. And keep warm. We mean it. Really.