Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry Christmas

The “War On Christmas” (WOC) is apparently in full swing right now. I hear about it several times a day; so far this year I have heard about the WOC more often than I have been wished a “Merry Christmas”. I find it disturbing that there is a war on the most popular of all holidays. That there is a war on a holiday that is so popular that its decorations now herald its celebration before Halloween, and threaten to do to Halloween what they have already done to Thanksgiving. It is shocking to think that any usurper holiday would dare attack the mythically powerful holiday of Christmas.

Who is the attacker? Is New-Years drunkenly stumbling backwards in time and threatening Christmas?

Is it a Trojan horse attack? Have people realized that certain Christmas traditions hearken back to the pagan solstice celebrations that pre-date it? BTW: this year the solstice falls on December 21st (6:38 PM ET and 23:38 UTC).

I have heard of people imploring others to “be thankful” this Christmas. Is the WOC a counter-attack by the slighted pre-Christmas holidays? Is there a holiday insurgency threatening to dethrone Christmas as the pre-eminent Yule-time holiday? Will we be forced to recognize a “holiday’s-council-of-festival-celebration”? That actually sounds appealing to me, but Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.

Imagine my disbelief when I discovered that it is people –not other holidays- that are waging war on Christmas.

Imagine my horror when I was told that I was a prime combatant. That: “You and those people like you are waging a war on Christmas and trying to destroy it for normal people”. As shocked as I was to find out that I was apparently waging a notably competent battle against such an important holiday I took time to endeavor as to how and why I was waging the WOC. Apparently by wishing the offended someone a “Happy Holidays” I was striking a potentially mortal blow.

I prefer the “Happy Holidays” greeting this time of year, but I will be brightly wishing folks a “Happy Christmas” from the 22nd of December till the 26th. The offending HH occurred just after the start of Chanukah, and I actually was thinking more of that “festival of lights” than Christmas when I made the HH remark. I wonder if I would have been seen as such a rabid enemy of Christmas if I had simply wished them a “Happy Chanukah”?

I like the HH greeting as it helps to encompass so many holidays that are crowded into the Yule-season. I have shrunk from my one-time practice of wishing folks a “Merry Solstice” as it misses the preferred name most people who celebrate the solstice use. How do you keep the proper name straight anyway? Is it Amaterasu, or Beiwe, or Brumalia, or Choimus, or Chaomos, or Deygān or Dōngzhì, or Goru, or Hogmanay, or Inti Raymi, or Junkanoo, or John Canoe, or Dzon'ku 'Nu, or Karachun, or Koleda, or Коляда, or Sviatki, or Dazh Boh, or Lá an Dreoilín, or Wren day, or Lenæa, or Lohri, or Lucia, or Feast of St. Lucy, or Makara Sankranti, or Maruaroa o Takurua, or Meán Geimhridh, or Midwinter’s night, or Midvinterblót, or Modranicht, or Modresnach, or Mummer's Day, or Montol, or Perchta, or Rozhanitsa, or Shab-e Chelleh, or Yaldā, or Sanghamitta Day, or Saturnalia, or Chronia, or Şeva Zistanê, or Sol Invictus, or Soyal, or We Tripantu, or Yule, or Jul, or Jól, or Joul, or Joulu, or Jõulud, or Géol, or Geul, or Zagmuk, or Sacaea, or Ziemassvētki? Of course just finding out the right name is a great conversation starter; the meanings and ramifications could lead to coffee, and a thoroughly delightful afternoon. "Happy Holidays", however, has never been taken as a salvo on the winter’s solstice whatever-you-call-it.

OK, so I may not be sensitive enough to figure out how I am attacking Christmas, but why am I doing it, and who are my co-conspirators? It turns out that I am waging the WOC because I am an atheist, and my cohorts in this are all my fellow atheists. It is truly unfortunate that atheists are not an organized group. It is embarrassing to be actively waging a war where I know such a small percentage of my allies. Perhaps we should all get together over a light lunch sometime and casually draw up plans for assassinating the Easter-bunny?

I should point out, at the risk of divulging strategic WOC secrets, that there is disunity on the atheist front. All atheists I know think of the Yule-season as a “great historically-tested time for party(ies)”, and therefore whole-heartedly support the idea of celebration. I myself have erected a Christmas-tree-shaped assemblage of plastic and metal which has been festooned with ornaments and low-power LED lights. If I am to coordinate this WOC thing I am off to a very poor start.

There are others that can be pressed into service as WOC enemies. Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and many others are attractive victims for the theocratical press-gangs. If Christmas is re-defined as a xenophobic celebration of homogeneous religious unity who will have won the WOC?

I think if we toned down the hate-speech we could resolve all this with diplomacy. Perhaps we could call it “Egg-Nog Diplomacy”. We could sit down with some glasses (not big glasses because Egg-Nog is high in fat, and I’m watching my calorie intake) of Egg-Nog (But not the Egg-Nog with alcohol in it because I don’t drink) and just talk it over.

For my fellow atheists I believe this plan will lull "them" into a sense of security, then, come April, the Bunny will never see it coming!


cdogzilla said...

Egg Nog Diplomacy. I like it.

adult onset atheist said...

If given the opportunity I might require all diplomacy rituals to include libation.