Takedown: The War on Christmas

This week’s crapdate:

“I DO NOT CARE IF THIS DOES OFFEND SOMEONE”¦THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE!!! I AM SICK AND TIRED OF EVERY YEAR WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES AROUND THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO TAKE CHRIST OUT OF CHRISTMAS BECAUSE IT MIGHT OFFEND SOMEONE. WELL, HOW ABOUT ALL OF THE CHRISTIANS?!? WHAT ABOUT OFFENDING US BECAUSE YOU ARE TAKING OUR CHRIST OUT OF CHRISTMAS?!? CHRIST IS CHRISTMAS!!! IF YOU AREN’T CELEBRATING CHRIST, THEN WHY ARE YOU CELEBRATING?!? CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT THE BIRTH OF OUR SAVIOR!!! CHRISTMAS IS ONE OF A FEW HOLIDAYS LEFT THAT CELEBRATE “MY” CHRIST!!! LEAVE “MY” CHRISTMAS ALONE!!! TELL EVERYONE MERRY CHRISTMAS, NOT HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! RE-POST IF YOU’RE NOT ASHAMED!!!”

I’m going to give you a second to recover from all of the yelling.

Okay. Short answer to something like this:

“Nobody is bothering ‘your’ Christ. If ‘you’ want to celebrate ‘your’ Christ, please, do so. If ‘you’ are so aggravated that other people aren’t celebrating ‘your’ Christ, perhaps you should go back and read what ‘your’ Christ thought about loving thy neighbor.”

Oh, where to begin.

Let’s begin with Christmas itself, and the idea that somebody might be stealing a holiday that does not belong to them. Just to remind everybody, Jesus’ birthday was the 25th of December. Right?

No. From origin-of-christmas.com: “However, most of what we witness on December 25th each year has absolutely nothing to do with that blessed day [the birth of Christ], which probably occurred in late summer or early fall about 2,000 years ago.”

Okay, so they picked a day to celebrate Christ’s birth, just like they pick a day to observe Presidents’ Day every year, no biggie, it’s still ‘my’ Christmas.

But that’s not even close to the truth.  December 25th was chosen for a reason, that being the birthday of the pagan god Mithra.  The thing is, there was a wildly popular pagan festival, Saturnalia, that was celebrated each year at this time, marked by revelry and sexual freedom.  Christians commandeered it in the 4th century because they wanted to convert the pagan masses ““ they promised that if the pagans converted, they could still keep their festival.

The crapdate is asserting that somebody is stealing their (the Christians’) holiday and turning it into their own (the non-Christians).  This is what is known as irony.

The crapdate goes on to insist that the celebrations that go along with Christmas are intended to honor the birth of Christ.  Again, this is absolutely false.  In order to persuade the pagans to convert, the Christians “adopted” many of their celebratory rituals.

That Christmas tree?  Haven’t you ever wondered why Christians would be worshipping a tree?  It’s because that was a tradition that was lifted from the pagans. The mistletoe? This is a combination of Norse mythology and the sexual celebrations that went on in the Saturnalia festival (Christians are not well known for sex positivity, haven’t you ever suspected why they might be encouraging people to run around kissing strangers?  Under a plant?).  Christmas caroling?  That was adapted from the Saturnalia practice of drunken singing in the streets.

So the line about “if you aren’t celebrating Christ, then why are you celebrating,” is, in and of itself, absurd. If the person who posted the crapdate is celebrating in the typical manner, their celebrations are actually rooted in non-Christian traditions.

Let’s look at that further.  “If you aren’t celebrating Christ, then why are you celebrating?”  I would wager a guess that the poster of the crapdate celebrates lots of events in his or her own life — a new job, the birth of a child, a marriage — and even if they are very devout and keep Christ forever in their mind, they are still celebrating something other than Christ.

And beyond that, the poster is suggesting that a non-Christian life is one in which there should be no joy.  According to the Pew Research Center, 21.6% of Americans are not Christian.  To suggest that they are not allowed to celebrate anything is, simply put, offensive.  Not in the, “Oh, you aren’t using PC language and so I’m offended” kind of way, but in the “your speech is hurtful and hateful” kind of way.  The poster is, in essence, saying that one out of every five people in America (not to mention the two out of three people in the world) has no reason to celebrate.  Disgusting.

The next idea, that Christmas is one of the few holidays left that celebrates Christ, is puzzling to me.  In America, you are free to celebrate any holiday you choose in any way you like.  If the poster doesn’t believe that they have the chance to celebrate Christ often enough, they should just celebrate him more.

But if what they are really saying is that Christmas is one of the few government-sanctioned holidays that celebrates Christ, this is an issue.  The government should not be sanctioning any holidays that are religion-specific. The government has no business being involved with religion, but don’t take my word for it, just look at the First Amendment.  In case you are confused, crapdate poster, the government stays out of religion not so that it can force people to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” but so that, should there come a time when the majority of Americans aren’t Christian, you are protected from celebrating in a way that you don’t believe is right.

And please, by all means, go around telling people “Merry Christmas,” instead of “Happy Holidays,” because what is really important when you are wishing somebody well is that your point of view is the most important. Who cares if you are making somebody else uncomfortable? If you were wishing somebody well because you actually wished that they would feel well, you would have to think about their point of view, which is, of course, inconceivable.

And finally.  The call for re-posting, which in this case tries to shame people into pushing it forward.  Yes.  Re-post if you aren’t ashamed to lay sole claim on somebody else’s holiday, and then bitch about other people not doing the same.  The Christians apparently felt no shame when they appropriated the holiday from the pagans for their own gain, why should you?

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Susan

I am old and wise. Perhaps more old than wise, but once you're old, you don't give a shit about details anymore.

32 thoughts on “Takedown: The War on Christmas”

  1. If I see anybody doing this I will be referring them to this article.  I can’t stand this kind of stuff because it erases those who don’t celebrate Jesus and they are so freaking inconsiderate when passive aggressively try to shove their beliefs on you.  At a time of year when everyone is stressed about a bunch of things I don’t know why you’d want to make it purposefully harder for other people.

  2. The Happy Holidays whiners give me rage stroke. There are four pretty major holidays that all occur in a fairly short period of time. I don’t want to guess which one you are planning to celebrate, in fact trying to guess is pretty rude because it implies that you can tell just by looking. And you know what? Even if you are wearing a big ole’ sweater that says “I’M CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS!” I’m STILL going to wish you Happy Holidays because I want you to have a good New Year’s too.

    1. I was thinking about this the whole way home today – the fact that when you are wishing somebody a happy holidays, by doing this, you are (at least in theory) WANTING THEM TO FEEL GOOD.  Not you.  If you want yourself to feel good, you should say “Merry Christmas me, you can go fuck yourself.”  Of COURSE you are going to try to be inclusive of other viewpoints.

  3. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Christmas meaning what it means to Christians, but I do think it’s wrong if they object to the phrase “Happy Holidays,” because newsflash, there are other holidays in the same 2-3 week period. Like, Kwanzaa, and the Solstice, and Hanukkah, and Festivus, not to mention fucking new year’s. The statement isn’t meant to take Christ out of Christmas; it’s meant to include Christmas in a veritable smorgasbord of festivities. Frankly, they should feel honored that those who don’t celebrate Christmas are willing to use such inclusive language.

    Though, this year was the first year I heard anyone referring to the phrase “Happy Holidays” specifically as ‘taking Christ out of Christmas,’ and I’ve only heard it from non-Christians. (Most of my family as well as a big chunk of my friends are Evangelicals, so you’d think I’d have heard it from them.) No, usually “taking Christ out of Christmas” has to do with the ill-advised complaint against the abbreviation “xmas,” in which the complainant doesn’t understand that X in this case is the Greek letter X, which is the beginning of the word “Christos.” In other words – it isn’t taking Christ out of Christmas at all.

    1. I worked at a coffee shop on Christmas for a few years, and there were a couple of co-baristas that were adamant about saying “Merry Christmas,” and sometimes wouldn’t give the drink to the person until they said it back.  A large number of our customers were Muslim.  So the ire at happy holidays thing has been floating around at least on some level for awhile.  And it is really, really stupid.

    2. I had also always heard the “taking the Christ out of Christmas” referring to Xmas, and as a Christian I could understand.  I’d rather people say Happy Holidays (that’s what I say!) rather than Merry Xmas.  However, with this new information about the origin of the X I am intrigued.

  4. I don’t agree with every choice of opinion or lifestyle.  There are even a few liberal-branded causes that I’m not thrilled with.  What I don’t understand is this impulse attempt to reach into other people’s heads and change what they think about shit that isn’t relevant to you.

  5. Preach. I am a Christian (but I like to think a different kind that doesn’t post this stuff), and it irritates me to no end when Christians get on their high horse over “the reason for the season.” Excellent points, especially about how apparently people who are not celebrating Christ have no reason to celebrate. It makes no sense.

  6. The best Christ-jacking I ever saw was at one of the Christmas shows at the civic theater when I was in high school. After every show someone would dress up as Santa, come onstage after the curtain call to wish everyone Merry Christmas, and then sit in the lobby so kids could sit in his lap. Santa duties tended to fall on whoever happened to be hanging around backstage, and one day it happened to be one of the regulars who chose that afternoon to profess his love for one of the actresses who just was not interested in him. He then started drinking… The show ends, he staggers onstage in the Santa costume, and starts yelling at the audience about how the True Meaning of Christmas has been lost. He then RIPS OFF THE HAT AND BEARD, points at the cross hanging over the stage, and yells, “Let’s put the CROSS back in CHRISTMAS!” Everyone in the theater was horrified, children were crying, and I was in the light booth freaking out because he was in front of the curtain so I couldn’t just close it on him. Fortunately some of the actors dragged him away, but it was just awful, and hilarious in retrospect.

    1. HA!  The grandfather frosts that hang out in Slavic lands are known to drink to ward off the cold (and, because, why not?).  I can’t tell you how many I’ve seen doing really inappropriate things.  It’s like Santa Claus showed up at your favorite bar and then became the most wasted, embarrassing person in the room.  And then went out and took pictures with kids near a fir tree.

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