(Ed. Note: I know I’m posting this early. I want to get ahead of the issue because if I were to post it after someone sent me one of the 50 million e-mails a year about boycotting this or that because of this subject or that, they may think I’m “aiming” it at them. I’m not. This is just an observation I made a long time ago. Enjoy!)

Merry Christmas!!!

Such a loaded phrase…those who say it have the best of intentions, but some of those who hear it, may be “offended”.  I have to tell you that I truly don’t know what being offended is. I know what pissed off is, like when someone accuses you of doing something you didn’t do, but as far as hearing someone say something with good intentions and getting pissed or hurt or “offended” , man, my brain just is not wired that way. I don’t think many people at all actually “get offended” when someone tells them Merry Christmas, I think the vast majority of them are just assholes who like to get mad about stuff – gives them a feeling of purpose in life.

pissed_off_baby

Now before too many heads go to bobbing in affirmation of that little screed, I need to warn you that that particular knife cuts both ways. Why would you get offended if someone says “Happy Holidays” to you if they mean well and are truly wishing you a happy time? I find it both hilarious and sad that a person will stand there in righteous indignation and lambast the “ultra-sensitivity of the politically correct these days” one minute and the next, blow a freaking gasket because the 85 year old greeter at Wal-Mart says “Happy Winter Solstice” instead of “Merry Christmas’. What is really interesting is that it is that very duality that gave birth to the issue in the first place.

I remember back when I was a kid going to church, and being around church folks for the most part, that every year when Christmas came around there would be this groundswell of grumbling about how Christmas was too commercialized; how the real purpose of the holiday was getting lost; how it should be a celebration of the birth of our Savior but it was getting to be just an excuse for some people to sell a lot of stuff and others to go into debt for the next six months. This theme was carried right down the nave of the church to the pulpit where it was bellowed with voices of thunder and righteousness (I went to a Baptist church so even if something started out quiet, it ended up being thundered). I even remember there being petitions circulated to get Rich’s and TG&Y and Richway et al to quit using the phrase “Christmas Sale” and “Christmas Blowout” and such as that. People would raise hell because there were all these Santas and reindeer and elves decorating the stores and yet they were using the word Christmas – a word made from the combination of “Christ” and “mass” to signify the “Christ Mass” celebration of the birth of the baby Jesus. This just would not do!

Now I agreed with all that in principle. I under stood that, as some people said, perhaps a majority of the people were “hijacking” Christmas to have drunken parties and give toys to kids and lingerie to wives. But while I agreed with those assertions, I also still wanted that really cool telescope from Sears. Yeah, I kinda saw this as a dichotomy but not too much. I mean the very people at church that nodded in affirmation of the injustice of this theft of one of our most holy days, still gave their kids more and cooler stuff than I got, for the most part. So, these people were participating in that which they so firmly decried. What ev, What did I know? I was a kid – must be missing something.

As I got older, I noticed something – there were fewer and fewer stores using the word “Christmas” in their holiday promotions. It started out with “Christmas / Hanukah” then Kwanza came along and what’s a store to do? holiday montageThey just started saying “Holidays” to wrap them all in a neat little bundle. It’s like the stores were saying, “Whatever you celebrate, have a good one! And buy your presents for your celebration from us!”

“Surely”, I thought, “this will make those folks happy that were so worried about stores hijacking Christmas.”  I gotta admit, this was before I developed my “Soap Opera Theory”. If you haven’t read that yet, it might be worth clicking the link.

So the answer is “No”, the people who wanted the stores and secular world not to hijack Christmas got pretty pissed when the stores and secular world quit hijacking Christmas. A modified case of “Be careful what you ask for…”

Well, what are the complaints now? At first it was a variation on the “Taking ‘Christ’ out of Christmas” that was a problem when people started abbreviating Christmas as “Xmas”. But it just became a matter of taking Christmas out of winter sales while still acknowledging that people of all stripes are having celebrations from the end of November to the beginning of January. Some celebrate Christmas, some celebrate Hanukah, some just celebrate a time when Santa comes or when all their friends and family get together and exchange gifts and have fun. Whatever you celebrate, December is a banner time to do it. Very cool sales, party stores are in full bloom, people seem to be in a relatively good mood considering the shortest day of the year, and therefore the longest night, should otherwise drag the happy meter down a notch or two. As a matter of fact, my wife’s birthday is December 22 so lucky me gets to take advantage of Christmas Holiday sales whilst I search for her present.

x-mas-birthday

How could this be a problem? I just don’t know. On a purely logical level, I really don’t know. Is it a matter of “It was our holiday first so you’ll have to play by our rules if you want to celebrate it”? If so, does that mean I can’t go buy my wife a present because it’s in the Christmas season? And, besides, you really don’t want to go there against the Jews. They go WAY back. WAY back. And so do most of their holidays.

Is it that you truly believe that your belief, faith, and joy in the celebration of the birth of your savior will be harmed or lessened because Wal Mart (Your Savings Place!) doesn’t reinforce your religious convictions for the 20 minutes you wander the aisles of their store? If so, that’s a personal problem between you and God. I mean, rly? Srsly? Do you go to Wal Mart for your Salvation? Do they have to be your source for EVERYTHING? Do you require the gasoline pump where you buy your gas to print out “Merry Christmas’ on your gas card receipt or just print the receipt so you can be on your way because buying regular unleaded doesn’t HAVE to be a religious experience? I mean, I’m every bit as thankful for that tank of gas as I am for the rutabagas I get in the produce section (more, actually, cause I hatez some rutabagas), so why would one require one retail transaction to affirm their faith and not another? Like I said, logically speaking, I just don’t know.

So before you sign one of these ridiculous petitions to boycott this or that store for not saying “Merry Christmas”, just chillax a bit and think – Does it really matter as far as what is important to you in this world? My guess is, probably not.

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