All I’m Gonna Say About The War On Christmas

Is that it gets dumber every year.

You know, I went into yesterday thinking this was gonna be another holiday-blues year, where I was bitter and annoyed at everyone and everything, but over the turkey I started to relax and realize that it just might be okay, and I remembered how tiresome it is this time of year when hipper-than-thou assholes try to make you hate the holidays.

I’m not just talking about O’Reilly and the Merry Christmas Blacklist or whatever where we track who says what to you when you leave the store, like it’s a game somebody can win, like good wishes are ranked by the beliefs of the wishers (and like the store clerk wishes anything but for you to leave, happy of course, but leave so he or she can go home) and this is something you need to rack up points at.

I’m not talking about people who genuinely have reason to despise something, either; bad associations come with everything that’s happy to somebody else. If a loved one died or a disaster occurred around this time you have the right to deal however you want/need to up to and including pretending the holiday doesn’t exist. For years I used to volunteer to work Thanksgiving. It sucked for Mr. A, who was stuck with a Boston Market turkey sandwich picked up on my way home, but my grandfather died at Thanksgiving and I’ve hated it ever since.

I’m talking about the folks who feel the need to life you all day long that Americans spend too much money, that our holidays are too frantic, that we should all do X or Y, retreat to the woods, refuse to give presents, not eat any treats, screw Santa Claus, people are killed by Christmas tree fires, the whole thing is stupid and by extension/implication you’re stupid and trivial for taking part. Moreover, the Authenticity Olympics come into play: My holiday is morereal because I limit my spending to such-and-such, or refuse to drive anyplace, or don’t speak all day. My Christmas ismeaningful. Yours is consumerist and fake.

Such speeches come from people of every political persuasion and age and never fail to exhaust me, because: Dude, do whatever you want. If your Christmas is quiet, in the woods, with a million squirrels and no people and you love that, DO IT. If your Christmas is wassailing around from party to party walking in the door with your arms full of treats yelling Merry Christmas! to giant crowds of people and you love that, DO IT. If your Christmas is working your job so that co-workers with kids can be home with theirs (as my Dad used to do for his younger colleagues) and that makes you feel good, then do that, too. Just don’t ask me to weigh in or even give a damn about what way is better because I so deeply don’t care.

I know not everybody has a choice in how they spend their holidays, but for those that do: I have no stake in how you spend your holiday except that if I care about you I will want you to have happiness. It’s not anybody’s place to judge what’s real to you and what’s not, and it just smacks of neediness and justification. I don’t feel like suiting up for any kind of War on Christmas at all.


12 thoughts on “All I’m Gonna Say About The War On Christmas

  1. it IS exhausting.
    December is a month of emotional minefields for me. this time of year, I just try and keep my head down and get through it.

  2. Why wasn’t I notified of a reupping of hostilities against Christmas?
    I’m with Pansypoo there — three (or even two) fucking months of carols is three (or two) fucking months too many.
    My personal view on the subject, not shared by practically anybody is, you want to celebrate Christmas? Fine, good, celebrate Christmas. Celebrate Christmas the way Jewish people in North America celebrate Purim — on your own time, without anybody else noticing.
    I’m quite fed up with this “It’s after Halloween, so the entire culture has to go batshit crazy for two and a half months!” stuff. I don’t like Christmas and given my druthers would not only not celebrate it at all, but would happily tell anyone who wants to wish me one to fuck off. Frankly, I resent the hell out of the culture’s dominant religion getting to commandeer the entirety of society for1/6 of the entire year, especially since aside from that they’re all bound and determined to make everyone else celebrate their damn holidays, they can’t even agree on who’s Christian, who’s not, and what the hell all they all believe. That’s fucking nuts, and that kind of overweening privilege isn’t accorded even proportionally to any other religious group.
    Bah fucking humbug.

  3. In a lot of ways it boils down to two things: the need some people have to tell other people what to do and how to live, and the insecurity some people have in their god. I’d have thought an omnipotent, omnipresent deity, for whom we have national holidays and a slogan on the money, didn’t need secular protection. And I’d have thought that demanding that people greet them as you they demand just to be validated might bug them on some level because it’s not as likely to be sincere. But then, I’ve been daring the Invisible Sky Cop to smite my ass for almost forty years, and it hasn’t happened yet.

  4. Wow, some serious holiday fatigue here. I suggest you all get in the proper mood by reading “Hogfather” for a dose of twisted sort-of-Christmas humor all mixed up with world mythologies and that all-important anthropomorphic personification himself (no, I don’t mean Santa). That’s what always does it for me. Or watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”; whatever works for you.

  5. We go all-out and we’re all either atheists or Jews or Jewish atheists– but gotta have the tannenbaum (sp?), the stockings, the Christmas dinner with the good silver and china, crackers next to the plate. Then… sometimes… we have Jewish Christmas– listen to the Queen on the Beeb, go to a movie, end up at a Chinese restaurant. The main thing is– we do whatever, and you can do whatever. I get a laff out of O’Lielly these days with his War. He has single-handedly put the bah into humbug for basically cheery types during a cheery time. So I try and ignore and go help my sis bake cookies.

  6. I’ll go all contrarian here and say I love carols. My chorus worked from May till November 21 on a Christmas show, and I loved every minute of it. (Well, maybe not the 42nd runthrough of the middle of the Rejoice medley, but the rest? Definitely)
    My one beef? I am pretty much agnostic, and the sole reason I love Christmas music is the *music*. So I really get bent out of shape when people tell me I should or should not sing the stuff because it’s too religious or not religious enough.
    It’s music, damn it. And beautiful music should be appreciated. Just as I got steamed at one of my students for getting pissed off during my Reformation lecture because the church was spending money on *paintings*. Okay, I get it–I do–the church then was spending way too much money on stupid shit, and not enough on the people who needed it. I GET IT. But do not, DO NOT, tell me that I shouldn’t love Michelangelo’s work because it took food out of the mouths of little babies. Art should happen, and be supported, because it’s something humans create that makes the world just a little bit more beautiful.
    Bach should matter, Mozart should matter, hell, Irving Berlin should matter, regardless of whether you’re religious or not. When I hear stories about how White Christmas became an anthem for GIs in hot, steamy jungles in World War II, that doesn’t say to me, “Gee, why’d those GIs obsess so much about a commercial, overly Christian faux holiday?”

  7. Maybe it’s because my birthday is 12/28, or because I grew up in FL and it was the closest thing we got to a change of seasons, but this atheist loves the holidays so much that we celebrate Christmas and Chanukah, start playing my Christmas mix CDs (everything from Billie Holiday and Louis Armstong to Bob Rivers and Jill Souble) the day after Thanksgiving, and teach everyone who comes to the house during those 5 weeks how to play dreidl.
    It makes January suck hard, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay.

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