What War on Christmas?

Last week I read an excerpt of Sarah Palin’s book in an article on Salon (because heaven knows I’d never spend money on that drivel). The part excerpted focused on her anger about the supposed War on Christmas and the lack of “Christ” in Christmas.

I can’t handle that level of ignorance. First of all, you can’t go anywhere in this country after Halloween without encountering impressive Christmas displays. In fact, if you look closely, you can see the shelves of Christmas items hiding well before Halloween, waiting patiently for the calendar to flip to November 1. Who am I kidding? They aren’t even hidden. They are tucked in the back but hardly hidden. Secondly, I am unsure if I have met anyone for whom “Happy Holidays” trips effortlessly off their lips in an attempt to be inclusive and respectful of other beliefs (and the fact that several holidays occur within a short period of time, making “happy holidays” appropriate shorthand) compared to “Merry Christmas.”

Finally, though, how about learning a little fucking history about this faith and holiday you vow to defend and preserve?  Palin’s Christmas is very recent invention, and I think she and many others would be very surprised at the holiday’s origins and place in Christianity.

I don’t mean this to be a rant. I have an entire post I could write about my experience with organized religion and why I feel the way I do, but the crux is that very little enrages me more than the willing avoidance of facts and knowledge, items so amazingly available in this day and time.  Why would you work so hard to keep yourself ignorant? Is your faith so shaky that you cannot handle information that might threaten your beliefs? Or do you truly believe that information that comes from sources other than the Bible or the 700 Club to be suspect?

Gah.

Anyway. For your reading and viewing pleasure, here are a few books and documentaries I enjoyed about the historical origins of Christmas. And you know what? Reading and watching them has not diminished my pleasure in the holiday or my celebration of family and friends, of love and thankfulness, during that time.

I am in no way saying these are some sort of definitive, historical record, but they are interesting and enlightening.

OK, I guess I did have to rant a bit. If you read or watch any of these, let me know! I’d love to know what you thought.

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6 comments

  1. She’s bonkers and ignorant.
    I come from a very orthodox country. Half a century of communism could not distroy the faith, despite the prosecution and demolishing churches and so on. We celebrate both Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, they are both important, and we regulary wish those whom we would most probably meet after the holidays, just that, ‘Happy Holidays’. But leave it to the ignorants to blow anything out of proportions and create problems where there are none. Gah.

  2. My mom is super religious (probably of the Palin type camp) and she drives me nuts about this all the time. She will correct people who say “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.” I hate it. Whether you are religious or not, and regardless of why you do or don’t celebrate Christmas, it is a happy, fun time of year. Let it be what it is for you, and let others make it what they want.
    What I’m trying to say is that I appreciate your rant! Bravo!

  3. I’m cracking up because yesterday, we were walking by Union Station which has ENORMOUS (like the size of my house) light wreaths hanging over each opening on the outside of the building. I screamed out, “thankfully, they managed to get up the decorations IN TIME!” The ChickieNob looked at me in confusion and said, “but they’re not late. It isn’t even Thanksgiving yet.” And I said, “yeah, that was the point.”

    I think Christmas is great, but I like holidays celebrated around the time of the holiday.

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