Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays Merry Christmas!

It started as my Dad's pet peeve, and has since become mine. I do not celebrate "Holiday". Nobody celebrates "Holiday". Nobody's favorite holiday is "Holiday". Santa Claus does not bring "Holiday presents" in celebration of "Holiday". A "Holiday Tree" is an absurdity; no Western society that I'm aware of uses a tree to celebrate any holiday other than Christmas. For those who use the phrase to recognize other holidays, why not do so explicitly? "Happy Holidays" merely waters down the reason why most Westerners celebrate during the end of December while doing other beliefs the disservice of lumping them together into one non-specific (but Christmas-dominated) "Holiday". By the way, you have from now until December 28th to wish your Jewish friends a Happy Hanukkah.

I apologize to all my well-meaning friends who tend to use "Happy Holidays". Please don't construe this as an attack on you as I know you're simply employing the phraseology that has become the norm in America. However, a lot of us don't see the proliferation of "Happy Holidays" as an inclusive practice, but as one that has been deliberately and successfully pushed by certain culturally and politically influential entities to be exclusive of Christianity or any of its outward trappings. It represents one of the earliest and most subtle attempts of the militantly secular (and often explicitly anti-Christian) to strip Christmas of its meaning and origin. Note that no other widely celebrated holiday is considered so unacceptable by the purveyors of political correctness that it is being stripped of its name in a manner that would make Orwell's Ministry of Truth proud.

All other holidays that are widely celebrated in America are either secular (e.g., Independence Day) or have had most of their religious significance removed (e.g., Easter). Easter, which officially celebrates the resurrection of Christ, is the perfect example of extreme secularization of a nominally religious holiday. Even among many Christians the holiday has become identified more with anthropomorphized rabbits and chocolate eggs than it has with the empty tomb. (You know the forces of secularization have done their jobs well when even the believers can be distracted from the true meaning of their holiday.) However, with Christmas it's almost impossible to remove all traces of Christianity from it. Everybody, believer and nonbeliever, knows what the holiday that has "Christ" in its name is about.

Having gotten their foot in the door by making Christmas the "Holiday that Shall Not Be Named" and by convincing even the believers to use the new politically correct holiday greeting because it's "inclusive", these same entities are becoming even more overt in places like Santa Monica, California:
Across the fruitcaked plain in California, the city of Santa Monica allocated permits for "holiday" displays at Palisades Park by means of lottery. Eighteen of the 21 slots went to atheists — for example, the slogan "37 million Americans know a myth when they see one" over portraits of Jesus, Santa, and Satan.
The real-life Grinches not being content to simply remove all hints of Christianity from Non-Specific December Holiday, they have been working to eliminate even highly secularized symbols of Christmas. Although Santa Claus' origin in the Christian saint, St. Nicholas, has been effectively buried, there have been various attempts throughout the United States to actually ban the mere presence of Santa [a couple examples here and here]. Raise your hand if this brings to mind the Rankin-Bass Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town TV special. There have even been cases in which Christmas trees have been removed. It's becoming more and more difficult for people to claim that there isn't a War on Christmas in the United States.

Often I find myself missing the Christmas spirit I felt while I was an LDS missionary in Veracruz, Mexico. In Veracruz the meaning of the holiday was openly celebrated and over-the-top commercialism hadn't tried to ruin it.

Anyway, now that I've finished my annual War on Christmas diatribe, the Atomic Spud would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. And because the Atomic Spud is genuinely inclusive, I'd also like to wish a Happy Hanukkah to any Jewish readers (especially to my high school buddy Joe in San Diego).

On a related note, kudos to the Britain-based Games Workshop Web Team for explicitly wishing all us Warhammer and/or Warhammer 40,000 fanatics a Merry Christmas. From what I've heard, you are more likely to be wished a Merry (or Happy) Christmas in the much more secular Britain than you are in the more religious United States.


  1. Oh James, you haven't changes a bit. ^_^ Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family, and Happy New Year, and any other holidays you might happen to celebrate. I'll stick with my "happy holidays," since I find it more inclusive than exclusionary. ^_~ By the way, I saw Joe dance in The Nutcracker last night, he was great. :)

  2. I try not to change where I don't think I need to. And thank you for the Christmas wishes. As for celebrating holidays, our facility takes surprisingly few off, so I seem to celebrate a lot less than most people I know.

    I was under the impression that Joe had given up on dancing due to bad knees. Did he play the nutcracker itself again?

  3. I must say James, I'm deeply offended by your blog. Not once did you recognize my beliefs. Christmas is for old school suckers. Now a good brawl around the Festivus Pole is a real "Holiday".

  4. I see you used the comments section of my blog as the venue for your Airing of Grievances.



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