War on Christmas Redux

Our media prefers a different holiday's traditions.

As with many conflicts, there are those who believe that the phrase "War on Christmas" is a bit of an overstatement.  After all, nobody's dying, and there isn't a whole lot of actual physical violence over whether to say "Happy Holidays," "Season's Greetings," "Merry Christmas", or something else.

If, however, we borrowed a page from our fragile lefty snowflakes, they would be the first to say that "hate speech" is as violent as actual fisticuffs.  Judging from the vehement reaction to some of the slogans Starbucks has written on their coffee cups, the difference between "Happy Holidays" and "Merry Christmas" is something to fight over.

This shows, as if anyone doubted it, that, yes, Virginia, there is something special about Christmas which, deep in their hearts, the anti-Christmas crowd recognizes and wants to banish from the public square.

Other Holidays, Other Attitudes

Consider Hanukkah.  This is an annual celebration of the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem around 160 BC after the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire.  It is also known as the Festival of Lights of the Feast of the Dedication (John 10:22).

Celebrants make sure their menorahs are visible through their front windows or place them on the stoop outside to share their joy in the holiday and show their loyalties.  This public part of the celebration tends to be a bit less vigorous in times of peril or pogroms, but the general idea is to rejoice in defeating the powers who had desecrated their temple by putting a statue of Zeus in it.

People who revere Hanukkah care about it, but most people are indifferent.  Would any customer be offended enough to try to get a clerk fired for wishing "Happy Hanukkah?"  Would a non-Jewish clerk even know to say "Happy Holidays" during the 8-day Festival of Lights?

What about Kwanzaa?  It's a week-long celebration of the African diaspora whether voluntary or involuntary.  Like Christmas, it involves feasts and gift-giving, but it was invented by Maulana Karenga and first celebrated in 1966.

Would anyone be offended by being wished a Happy Kwanzaa instead of Happy New Year?  They might burst into laughter, but surely nobody would stomp off in a huff.

Then there's Festivus.  According to Wikipedia:

Festivus is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season. Originally created by author Daniel O'Keefe, Festivus entered popular culture after it was made the focus of the 1997 Seinfeld episode "The Strike", which O'Keefe's son, Dan O'Keefe, co-wrote.

The non-commercial holiday's celebration, as depicted on Seinfeld, occurs on December 23 and includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, practices such as the "Airing of Grievances" and "Feats of Strength", and the labeling of easily explainable events as "Festivus Miracles". The episode refers to it as "a Festivus for the rest of us".

"Airing of Grievances" takes place immediately after the Festivus dinner which, in contrast to the "groaning board" so commonly seen at Christmas feasts, is supposed to be sparse.  This leaves participants hungry, which puts them in the proper mood for each person to explain to every other person at the table just how deeply they've been disappointed with them during the previous year.

You may never have heard of Festivus, but that's a pity, because the Festivus concept of "Airing of Grievances" has taken hold of our MSM.  Instead of airing grievances one day a year as Mr. O'Keefe intended, they celebrate Festivus all year round.  Not a day goes by without their airing grievances against Mr. Trump, his deplorable voters, his mentally defective yet supernaturally destructive appointees, and his un-Republican unwillingness to roll over for their slightest whims.

Do they regard his 2016 victory over Hillary as a Festivus Miracle?  Or would it be more like a Festivus Feat of Strength?

Thinking about our reactions to human interaction over the past years, we've been wished Happy Hanukkah a few times per year, Happy Kwanzaa a time or two since 1966, and Happy Festivus not so much as once.  Not knowing all that much about the Deep Meaning of these progressively more obscure celebrations, we've responded with the noncommittal "Same to you" or "May there be many more," and that seems to work.

Thanks to Wikipedia, if someone ever did actually wish us Happy Festivus now, we'd assume that they were setting up to air their list of grievances.  It seems that offense is inherent in the human condition.

If only the MSM would preface their Airing of Grievances against Trump supporters by leading off with "Happy Festivus!"  For once, that would not be fake news.  Truth in packaging doesn't appeal to them, though, so they cling to the pretense of objective fact as they Air Grievances while bemoaning their own lack of Feats of Strength.

Yes, Virginia, There IS a War on Christmas

Christmas occupies a category all by itself.  The degree of vehemence over whether to say "Merry Christmas" or avoid it like the plague gets worse and worse every year.  Whichever side is on the ascendant changes over the years - at the moment, the vociferous Christmasing of the Trump corner has pushed the frontiers of Christmasland a bit wider than they were a few years back, but the battle rages on.

Although all the stores love the Christmas selling season, there clearly is a war on the non-commercial part of Christmas.  Should Christians just skip all the spending and celebrate the explicitly non-commercial side of the Christmas holiday while worshiping as they please?  Or is this one of those wars that will be satisfied only with total annihilation of the opposite side?

Read other Scragged.com articles by Hobbes or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments

My thanks for a perceptive piece - "Merry Christmas" to the scragged.com team. Judging by church attendance in Hobart, Tasmania (the island to the South of the Australian mainland, people are hungering for real meaning - packed solid at Nine Lessons and Carols and a big attendance expected at Midnight Mass tonight. Possibly, just possibly we may be turning the forces of darkness back to feed on themselves.

December 24, 2018 2:04 AM

Other comments on the war on Christmas:


Of course, the Left has always loved its metaphorical wars, ever since William James announced the pressing need for the “moral equivalent” of war. President Obama has kept that tradition alive, routinely calling for warlike unity in his effort to pour money down any number of rat holes. But the moment when the tail-chasing dog ate himself came when Obama declared a lexicological war on war, changing the “war on terror” to “overseas contingency operations.” Terrorist attacks became “man-caused disasters,” and American reprisals were euphemized as “kinetic military operations.” It was, to borrow a phrase, a metaphorical war to end all literal wars. We’ll know that battle has been won when we start talking about the Domestic Contingency Operation against Christmas.

The merits of these metaphorical wars vary widely. War on cancer? Worth fighting. War on science? Mostly a bogus PR campaign to bully conservatives into silence. But the war on Christmas represents a special kind of passive-aggressive jackassery because the aggressors deny they have declared a war. They simply take offense at Christmas cheer. They cancel Christmas pageants. They leave baby Jesus in a cardboard box in the church basement, but see nothing wrong with celebrating the Winter Solstice as if that’s a more rational thing to do. And then, when people complain about this undeclared war on Christmas, the aggressors mock and ridicule them for paranoia and hyperbole.

Since we’re comparing things to actual wars, it’s a bit like Vladimir Putin’s mischief in the Ukraine. He sends troops across the border, then denies they’re Russian soldiers. The soldiers kill Ukrainians, but Russian TV floats the idea it’s all a hoax trumped up by the West. Then, after the Russians create facts on the ground, they whine when anyone makes a fuss. So it is with the war on Christmas.

December 27, 2018 1:59 PM
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