This is something I hear about every year. The idea that Christmas is under attack and we need to save it. This year it’s the Starbucks cup conspiracy, but it’s just another example of what people are calling, The War on Christmas! Or the Christmas Controversy.
Since the early 2000’s conservative Christians have gotten extremely upset with people wanting to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. There are other events like removing Christian iconology from secular institutions, or changing the lyrics to certain songs. The list goes on.
Effectively it’s marketers and governments trying to make the winter holidays more inclusive. Many different cultures celebrate a mid-winter festival around the winter equinox. It’s arguable that Christianity placed Christmas at that time to replace the winter festivals celebrated by converted cultures.
North and South America have been heavily dominated by Christian sects for the past 200 years. The Christmas Industry as we know it is a product of the mid-twentieth century. Like most things it’s grown and changed with each season, adding new things and getting rid of old things.
There is no war on Christmas only the inexorable march of change. Your parents’ holidays, if you celebrated them, was different than yours and will be different than your children’s.
In no other holiday than the winter one are people more stubbornly latched on to the past. Every movie, book, or play about families at this time of year is dripping with the near rabid need to recapture something from childhood.
The flawed and stressful ideal of the “Perfect holiday” drives people completely nuts. All to make sure that the season lives up to some form of unattainable ideal. I’m just as guilty as the next person. I have plenty of traditions that I refuse to let go.
*WARNING SAPPYNESS* In almost all the cultures that celebrate a winter holiday have the same goal, to be with those you love and thank the heavens you’ve made it through the literal dark times.
Beyond that it’s about appreciating the people who are around you. Saying happy holidays isn’t about hating Christmas, it’s about loving your fellow people and including them. Inclusivity is a good thing. More people to party with and get presents from. If you know the person is Christian say merry Christmas, if you know they’re Jewish, say Happy Hanukah, if they’re pagan wish them Happy Yule or Solstice. If you don’t know be respectful and say Happy Holidays.
What’s your favorite winter holiday tradition?