The holiday season would not be in full swing without hearing at least one person bringing up the whole “War on Christmas” thing. For those unfamiliar with this term, please stop reading and carry on with your lives. You will thank me for this later.
If you really do want to know, though, the whole war on Christmas thing is basically people claiming that heathens and other mean people are out to destroy the ability for anyone, anywhere to ever enjoy anything remotely related to Christmas or so much as think the word while not in the comfort of their own homes.
Okay, that is a little over exaggerated. Really, the whole controversy is the claim that the politically correct police are out to stop Christmas, or something. It mostly revolves around how the holiday is acknowledged by the government, media and other public arenas. Claims of a crusade against recognizing Christmas in public are generally brought up by those who actually do celebrate Christmas.
But here’s the thing, saying maybe we shouldn’t be putting a Nativity scene on public property, like that on the Huntington Green, is not attacking Christmas or the Christian religion. All that says is that maybe the public space is not the most appropriate place for it if other religions and beliefs are not also recognized during the year. Decorating the trees in the Green is one thing; Christmas trees do not quite carry the same religious messages as a Nativity scene does.
Likewise, preferring that shopping malls and other public places stick to playing Christmas songs like “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” instead of “Silent Night” or other more religious tunes is not an attack on Christianity, either. It is about being respectful of others and having awareness that not everyone does celebrate Christmas.
Saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” has less to do with hating Christmas and much more to do with respecting others and not assuming they do celebrate Christmas.
The “war on Christmas” thing boils down to the simple fact that a percentage of the population does not respect that not everyone shares their religious beliefs. America is a nation of people who come from different backgrounds and, as a result, share various belief systems. Yes, a majority of Americans identify themselves as belonging to a Christian religion but not everyone does. Similarly, not everyone who celebrates Christmas does so as a religious celebration. There are plenty of Americans who still celebrate Christmas, but do so as more of a cultural celebration akin to Thanksgiving.
What is perceived to be an attack against anything and everything related to Christmas has nothing to do with ending the holiday or forcing Christmas to be completely ignored in public across America. All anyone who is branded as fighting against Christmas is trying to say is that we need to be aware and respectful of our neighbors and their beliefs, even if they happen to differ from our own. After all, isn’t “Love thy neighbor” a big message in Christianity? The last time I checked that did not come with a footnote stating to do so unless thy neighbor happened to be different from you in some way.
So please, the next time someone says “Happy Holidays” instead of retorting with a pointed “Merry Christmas” or an unnecessary lecture about Christianity and Christmas (hey, I’ve seen it happen!) just smile and say “Thank you, you too.” Or you can even throw in your own “Happy Holidays” or even “Merry Christmas,” if you so choose. People generally respond well to kindness, no matter the holiday sentiment.