In years past, that pleasantry was fightin’ words on the Fox News frontlines. Instant throwdown, and you would be accused of being a warrior in the War on Christmas. This nonsense started sometime in the mid-Aughts, and the origins of it can be traced to a single book and a single jackass.
If you don’t want to click on the link, I’ll give you two hints on the jackass: Bill and O’Reilly. Remember him?
The War on Christmas has raged most years, but it seems to have lost a bit of its appeal among right-wingers recently. This year, I feel like the War on Christmas stuff is nearly non-existent. Perhaps it is because Professional Big Loser Donald Trump declared victory last year, taking credit for winning the war.
My own theory is that they no longer feel the need to code their dislike of The Other by declaring Christian holidays are under attack. Attacking trans people and declaring themselves big fans of white supremacists seem to be more of their jam lately. Maybe they feel that the War on Christmas is small potatoes.
Regardless, the war was never real. People who want to celebrate Christmas can absolutely do so. But it is really about, like most right-wing things, forcing everyone to do what they want. We also have Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, agnostic, etc. people in this country, not just the pushiest Christians. “Happy holidays” is about being inclusive, and they just do not like that stuff. It is not domination, which is their goal.
And the idea of the “true meaning of Christmas” is really nothing new. As a kid in the 1970s, I remember some Christians getting bent out of shape over the use of Xmas instead of Christmas. It’s taking Christ out of the holiday, they would rail. This, of course, is not what is happening with Xmas, because the letter “X” has long been a symbol for Christ. That controversy was/is pretty stupid too.
Overcommercialization of Christmas concerns are likely more legitimate, and those are pretty old as well. In fact, the beloved Peanuts classic television special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is pretty much 30 minutes of anti-commercialism. That was released 57 years ago, by the way, in 1965. Charlie Brown was not going to let his capitalism-focused dog ruin his holiday.
My own personal belief is to celebrate what you want on Dec. 25. Go to midnight mass, visit a Chinese restaurant, eat KFC, hang out with friends, or whatever. I find lecturing people on how to celebrate as ponderous as the ghost of Marley’s chains. My nightmare is to be stuck in a corner at a holiday party between Sam Harris and Bill O’Reilly arguing about whether Christmas is a pagan holiday.
There are no good wars. Especially fake ones over what is supposed to be a fun and happy time. So, enjoy the season (or ignore it) in the way you see fit.
In other words, happy holidays.
The last word goes to the great Vince Guaraldi. This and “Skating” are my two favorite tracks on that particular classic album.