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When did Christmas stop being a Holiday?

December 3rd, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments
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The real war on christmas

It’s that time of year again. No sooner do the first snow flakes fall and the rhetoric around whether it’s appropriate to replace “Happy Holidays” with “Merry Christmas” begins to fly. It’s one of the most divisive issues surrounding this season.

Firstly, there are the annual campaigns via email and social media promoting the “put the Christ back in Christmas” polemic. I’ve always found this particular argument curious. Last time I checked, Christ hadn’t left Christmas. What has changed is that fewer people are celebrating Christmas as a religious holiday — if at all. Christmas is still a Christian derived holy day, and Jesus is still very much a part of that day for those who follow his teachings. For believers, Christ is present and accounted for in the celebration of this holy day.

Following this are the claims that somehow Christmas has been hijacked by other cultures’ religions. The arguments usually follow the reasoning that because we live in a Western society built on the Judeo-Christian tradition that Christmas should take it’s rightful place as the holiday of the land.

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It’s true that our heritage is that of a Judeo-Christian tradition, but our heritage also includes unequal rights for women and minority groups, child labour, the assimilation of First Nation’s people… need I go on?

Societies evolve, and for us this has included the separation of church and state.  Citizens are free to practice the religion of their choice.  States, however, are required to keep religion out of its affairs (in principle anyway). It’s a bit ironic that so many Westerners have much to say about Eastern nations living under religious rule, yet so little to say about the idea of forcing Christmas on ever person living in this hemisphere.

So, we’ve reverted to calling Christmas a holiday. What’s so wrong with that? It IS a HOLY day for Christians, but it’s also a HOLY time of year for a number of other religious groups. Using the term “Happy Holidays” is merely an inclusive way to wish everyone a joyous season — and really isn’t that what this time of year is all about?  Shouldn’t we be trying to spread joy and our very best to everyone?

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It’s interesting that while so many of us have been debating this tiresome rhetoric, that we’ve failed to notice how the sacredness of this holy season has been hijacked by rampant consumerism.  Maybe those are the real issues we should be examining.  Why has a holy day meant to bring families and people together in joyful spirit become a sacred day for big box stores and credit card companies?  Just something worth thinking about…

Happy HOLY-DAYS!

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  1. March 7th, 2012 at 17:12 | #1

    It’s also my first holiday soasen as a single (wo)man in 12 years, and I don’t feel like celebrating at ALL. Add to that, the fact that I decided to renounce Christianity this past year, and a lot of my family members aren’t aware of that, yet. I’ll probably end up having to tell them amidst their Jesus-loving celebrations, and that just doesn’t scream JOY! to me. I’ll get the damn tree because my kids will demand it, but I’ll probably just let them decorate it however they want while I guzzle wine straight from the bottle and call it good.Reply by on November 16th, 2010 at Tuesday, November 16, 2010 @ 7:34 am@Dre, well, I do think that one can celebrate Christmas without being Christian the spirit of giving is a secular one I definitely understand where you’re coming from.

  2. March 7th, 2012 at 09:55 | #2

    MargaretThanks for this inclusive look at the rpastuility of the season the historical perspective is also important, the baby bringing us away from pomp and to the miracle of birth and the new. The connection with the winter solstice is also important to so many as the hours of light increase again at least in the northwest!!!

  3. Laura
    December 3rd, 2011 at 09:27 | #3

    For me, it will always be Merry Christmas. I am even heavily encouraged to say ONLY Happy Holidays…I simply don’t like the ring to it… that’s it!
    And I agree with you, that each person out there right now, their main concern should be over spending and going into debt.. for Christmas (not the holidays) then whether or not it’s important when greeting a neighbour, friend or passerby with a seasonal salutation that fits their religious views.
    I wonder if the whole Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas war was perhaps started by a retail or credit card company to distract us from paying attention to our yearly over consumption? Nah! That is too much of a conspiracy… or is it? 😉

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