Forget That ‘Peace on Earth’ Business


I spent most of last year’s pre-Christmas season in a holiday blues funk, either sick or getting there, and this year I am determined not to let the same thing happen to me. I love this time of year, the anticipation of seeing family and friends, figuring out what to give people that will surprise or delight them, making the whole house smell delicious with gingerbread and chocolates. When I occasionally long to be rich, it’s because I don’t want to have to budget for giving.

Add to that this being the only religious holiday I’ve ever really loved deep down in my bones. Easter was always chilly and miserable and meant eating hard-boiled eggs, and I was too young to appreciate the rebirth metaphor. It’s Christmas that’s always spoken to me, the story, the songs, the lights, the customs. So I’ve spent every day since Thanksgiving listening to carols and planning how to decorate the house and making a list of everything I need to make yummy treats. I will be merry this year if it kills me.

I find this “war on Christmas” stuff profoundly depressing, is what I’m coming around to. I resent having to defend my love of these days, I resent one more thing I enjoy being made a battleground for morons to tell me that if I don’t say exactly the right phrase to the Macy’s clerk then I’m committing some crime against the Christ Child. The whole thing’s exhausting and it’s beside the point. We’re quibbling over words at a time when we really need to be figuring out what the hell to do with the mess of a world we’ve been kicking around in. We’re fighting over what well-heeled shoppers use as a greeting while the earth is caving in. It’s selfish, and small, and appalling, and I want no part of it, attack or defense. Leave God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Rudolph alone.

Somehow we’ve got this idea now that if everybody doesn’t believe exactly as we do and act the same, that that diminishes us somehow, that that is a threat to our own beliefs. What earthly difference does it make to me what somebody says to somebody else in a store, or what someone else hangs or doesn’t hang on their house? Why should I feel affronted if my neighbor does or does not put up one of those giant inflatable Santas this year? I would decorate my house if I lived alone on a farm with no one for miles and no one ever saw my front porch. Put up a festive holiday pentagram and sacrifice a goat for all it would change what I’d do. Likely, living in the city, I’ll never even notice, as animal sacrifice generally denotes Thursday, but do you see my point?

It’s such beautiful poetry, Christmas. I loathe seeing it made into a weapon to decided who is right and who is wrong, who is faithful and who is not. I loathe the insecurity and pettiness that kicking up a fuss over someone else’s decorations implies. Just light some candles, already, and sing Silent Night. That’s all the magic that matters.


14 thoughts on “Forget That ‘Peace on Earth’ Business

  1. dancinfool says:

    Athenae! Are you really believing the war against Christmas crap? Honey, I thought you knew better than that. I just heard on Olbermann that Crate & Barrel, under fire from Bill O’Reilly for making war on Christmas, actually has no policy on happy holidays, merry christmas, glorious whatever. Their employess are free to use any term they wish. I hope most businesses heed the C&B way.

  2. thingwarbler says:

    Athenae, did you see the story about the woman out in Colorado who was fined for having a wreath shaped like a peace-sign on her house? My reaction was pretty much the same: screw peace, to the fundies, the harpies and the craven this time of year is all about war… Sad. Make the most of it — be nice to those around you who really deserve it, and maybe even to a few who don’t, just to show ’em how it can be done.

  3. dr2chase says:

    Years ago, in California (Berkeley, or nearby) I saw some delightful graffiti that said “Worship Santa”. It’s a good thing to make people think.
    We’re gearing up for our Christmas tie-dye run. All hail Dharma Trading [].

  4. Anonymous says:

    Damn these johnny-come-lately christians and their denigration of our traditional holidays!
    Why, I told the clerk at Wal*Mart “Happy Saturnalia!” and she looked at me like I was an alien or something! Let them get their own damn holiday, I say. It’s not as if their ‘savior-kid’ was actually *born* on December 25th. Sheesh!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Merry Christmas!
    I love Christmas. But sometimes I get that damned “Happy Holidays” song stuck in my head.

  6. pansypoo says:

    i detest christmas. all those shitty tunes. the fucking capitalisic push. crap crap crap
    i am all for that saturnalia if it includes bonfires.

  7. FeralLiberal says:

    Athenae, good on you! Don’t let the Religiously Correct crowd try and tell you how to enjoy Your holiday.

  8. Anonymous says:

    ugliest moment from last year’s war on christmas – at least for me:
    i’m on a subway in nyc, and a homeless guy comes in to panhandle. he begins his pitch: “evening everybody, i’d like to wish you all happy holidays…”
    some assclown looks up from his ny post and shouts, “it’s MERRY CHRISTMAS, PAL!”
    i, in turn, very politely asked “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?” ‘cuz christmas is all about browbeating the impovierished, you know.
    anyway, me and the wingnut had a nice shouting match and the homeless guy got a lot of money out of the car. so i guess this christmas story has a happy ending, or something.
    -dan mcenroe

  9. Anonymous says:

    Please remember there are four ‘a’s in Aaaargh.
    Kisses, your pal,

  10. BuggyQ says:

    There are a bunch of people who are donating money so the woman can keep her peace wreath up till after Christmas, despite the $25/day fine the HOA is imposing on her. And she’s gotten her message across to a much wider audience because of the HOA’s stupidity.
    Instant karma’s gonna getcha.

  11. BuggyQ says:

    Hee! That’s one of the songs our chorus learned for our Christmas show this year. That and “Christmastime Is Here”–the tinkly song from the Charlie Brown Xmas show.
    We refer to Happy Holidays as “Happy Ding-Dong” due to the boring lyrics the harmony parts get.

  12. BuggyQ says:

    For me, Christmas is all about the music. I love everything–the present wrapping (I’m almost as wild about ribbon as I am about office supplies), the baking, the snow, the lights–but it’s the music that makes it for me.
    My all-time favorite Christmas album is the King’s Singers with Kiri Te Kanawa. Their arrangements of Simple Gifts and the Wexford Carol are heartbreakingly beautiful. I’m not at all religious–raised sans church, and still that way–but it seems to me that all that is best about Christianity is captured in the music:
    The gift we deliver, the gift we receive,
    is the living spirit Mary did conceive,
    the royal gift of love incandescent flame
    Is given to all mankind in his name.
    I’ve always loved the words “the royal gift of love.” Isn’t that what it’s all about? It’d be nice if more people internalized that message.

  13. pansypoo says:

    i have 2 bearable Xmas CDs. one medieval Xmas songs and the nutcracker on accordian by Stas!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Have to point this out : Ever notice that the biggest selling toys for Christmas are guns / tanks / army suits / etc.
    Anyone remember the scence from “The Santa Clause” where Tim Allen critiques an advertisement using elves to sell a tank?

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