Thursday, December 14, 2006

my stand on christmas

let me start by saying- i genuinely enjoy this time of year. i have a christmas tree in my living room next to the lighted santa claus i have had since i was a kid. i send peace cards out via snail mail and bake cookies; make fudge, and dehydrate my own beef jerky to send to friends and relatives. we don't go nuts on shopping and i usually have everything bought, paid for and mostly wrapped by thanksgiving. i love giving gifts- not so much receiving them. more to do with my not getting many when i was a kid i suppose. my husband gets excited and starts nagging me at least 2 weeks in advance to open something. i could probably wait until new year. i love christmas music- christian and secular. i also love snow at christmas time. having said that- i will now say this- we do not have a right to put a christian holiday above all others.

it doesn't matter one whit if christianity is the 'dominant' religion in this country. it doesn't even matter if everyone but one person celebrates christmas. one religion cannot take precedent over another in public places. i really couldn't give a damn about decorating airports or shopping malls or whatnot. it is all retail inspired anyway. the decorations are not the meaning behind the spirit of the holiday season- and yes i did say holiday season. the holiday season is kicked off by thanksgiving. we have christmas, chanukah, kwanzaa, orthodox christmas, and epiphany- to name a few. while many are christian in nature, others aren't and it certainly doesn't make me a humbug to point out that other folks in this country celebrate differently.

now, my panties are not in a bunch. the only reason i pointed any of this out- is the religious right's insistance that there is some 'war on christmas.' there isn't. the money is still jingling in the retail coffers. the airlines are still making buttloads of money to hassle travelers about shampoo and toothpaste containers. and santa claus and the baby jesus are safe in the homes of christians everywhere. if you say merry christmas to me, fine. i will respond happy holidays to you. if you say happy chanukah to me, again, i will say happy holidays to you. it is my right and my choice- the same as it is yours to say whatever to me. airport wants to decorate- include a menorah. it is only fair. that way- everyone gets to enjoy the magic of the season.


spadoman said...

I agree with you Betmo. Totally. Earlier today, I was eating a bowl of home made granola, (man, this batch is one of my best efforts), and I sat down and took a short break in front of the TV and watched a little news. Hell, I missed that Peter Boyle passed because I don't usually watch the news except for Democracy Now.

Anyhoo:-), like you say, I was watching the news and saw a story about someones nativity scene decoration and how someone had stolen the baby jesus and replaced it with an empty beer can.

I lauhjed my arse off and told Barb what I had seen. She laughed too, then we started in berating the news media outlet because these assholes don't even mention the warin Iraq, poverty, hunger, aids, and so on and so on. But putting a beer can in someones decvorations, a childish prank perhaps, but not news. Not in the least.

Anyway, I agree. Say what you want. Do what you want. There is no war on anything. "They" want the war, in Iraq and here at home on christmas. These extremests want everyone to be like them in every way. I don't want it shoved down my throat. No thanks, I'll do it my way.

Thanks for the post.

The_Dizzy_Diva said...

Bah Humbug, bet *wink*

Seriously, I'm with you. The Christians ranting and raving about "the war on Christmas" are being hypocrites. They cry about "their" traditions being trashed but have no problem trashing others traditions.

If the season is "about Jesus" it seems to me that Jesus would be respectful of all mankind, as he was when he walked the earth. "Love one another..." I never read anywhere where he added..."except those people who don't believe as you do..."

We definitely observe the more commercial aspects of the season (sales, you know) but mostly because my husband was raised as a Jehovah's Witness. He's 35, but he's only been celebrating Christmas for 10 years, so he likes to go a tad overboard.

I like receiving gifts throughout the year, but Christmases were not "all that" when I was a kid, so I don't hold my breath about asking for things, even now because I NEVER got what I wanted for Christmas until I grew up and bought it myself...don't need a holiday to get my own gifts.

But, although I do things for people throughout the year, this time of year seems to be the best time to go that extra mile because it seems that fewer people question your motives (rather are a little less jaded this time of year).

My opinion is that now is probably the time of year when folks should just lighten up. The time when "good Christians" (and even good atheists) should prove the true test of brotherly love.

True brotherly love is unconditional, it does not ask your religious affiliation. It does not go out of its way to offend you (to prove you are a better Christian or a better human). True brotherly love is not passive-aggressive (it might ask for equal treatment, but it won't be so insistent as to make the entire exercise pointless). True brotherly love welcomes all into the party and actually takes time to really get to know who's all in attendance without judging each others party favors first.

I believe this to be true all 365 days of the year.

Happy Holidays, bet.

Anonymous said...

I've been blogging extensively about this topic, because I think this "war" on Christmas is such nonsense. I rightfully pointed out that these far-right "Christians" are upset that other traditions are getting attention. They assume Christianity is the only "right" religion, therefore it should be the only religion embraced by individuals and the government.

Plus, "holiday" means "holy day," so it cracks me up that any Christian could get offended by the phrase! Jesus Christ isn't holy to them?

Anonymous said...

It’s been a while since I have commented. I have been really busy. Yes I know that is the worst excuse. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I have been reading and your posts lately have a vigor and a verve that is contagious.

Have a great holiday season, and get ready for your Dems to come into office next year and do things like this:

"If you think a new wind is blowing in Washington in terms of security issues because the Democrats are going to take over Congress, you probably have another thing coming," Christopher Hellman of the Washington, DC-based Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation told OneWorld.

2007 will be the year we take Betmo from the Dems and put her on the front lines of 3rd party politics!

betmo said...

bz- as long as the neocons aren't running things- i will back the best person- third parties are an admirable goal!!

jams o donnell said...

Nicely pit Betmo. Sadly the war on xmas thing has hit the UK and is just as fallacious..

At the end of the day, if you like to celebrate christmas then fill your boots (as we will) if not, then don't and tune out much of what you see and hear at this time of year...

Boo said...

bet - I think we might be arguing the same side of the coin.

I guess my point is (maybe, I think, possibly) that I dont understand why all this stuff is becoming an issue NOW. There used to be so much live-and-let-live at this time of year.

Do you think that the Right-Christians are pushing more than ever because they feel threatened by Muslims? Do you know what I mean? There's this knee-jerk thing going on... just an idea.

betmo said...

no boo- i agree with you. i just didn't want people to think that i am anti-christmas or decorations. the printed word doesn't always convey meaning as well as speaking. i think that there is a real disconnect between folks 'in power' and their minions when it comes to regular people. most folks are polite and happy and don't really give a rat's ass what you say to them- because they are enjoying the season. i get annoyed that being polite and inclusive gets labelled as too 'pc' when in actuality- it is respecting other's rights.

Anonymous said...

hey b, good post.

I have had many conversations about this with friends and co-workers and my friends teased me because I said something like "it looks like religion is 'in" this year."

Yeah, kind of a dumb statement, but I think saying their is a war on Christianity is ridiculous. The people who say that should try living in a less predominantly Christian country and then see how they feel.

As for the liquids and the gels. It's not the airlines, it's the TSA. The airlines, unfortunately in my opinion, would rather err on the side of less hassle, and possibly less security.

I thought the Seattle Christmas tree controversy was also overblown. I thought the Rabbi was wrong to threaten to sue--why couldn't he just say hey, next year how about some Menorrahs. I don't blame the airport for pulling everything when threatened with a lawsuit, but I think all sides could have tried harder to *talk* amongst themselves and *agree* on a solution. I think we often do not try hard enough.

betmo said...

i perceived that the rabbi had approached the airport and was told that the staff was too busy to redecorate. the rabbi had offerred an electric menorah to the airport and then they pulled the trees. my thought is- why did the airport not have a menorah in the first place? kwanzaa- ok perhaps not- but a jewish holiday in a judeo-christian country? come on. no brainer. anyhoo- there was no 'war on christmas' until o'reilly manufactured one to further drive a wedge into an already fractured country.