Friday, December 02, 2005

What's in a name?

Merry Christmas!

Not "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" or "Have a good winter vacation." Merry Christmas.

Honestly, I get so sick of hearing well wishes and seeing Christmas decorations that so blatantly avoid the use of the the word Christmas it's laughable. What are we trying to hide here, folks? The holiday is called Christmas. I understand that there are also many other celebrations that take place in and around December. Hanukkah (or is it Chanukah?), Kwanzaa, sometimes Ramadan, etc. I agree that it's important not to forget about these celebrations and to acknowledge that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but it's SOOO over-the-top politically correct nonsense to remove all mention of the name "Christmas" from our lips. It's a struggle to even find greeting cards ... ahem... Christmas cards that use the ever-increasingly "dirty word."

Community centers put on events like "Frosty's Winterfest" and kids now go on "Winter Break." And apparently, even our beloved decorated evergreens are falling victim to this trend. In November, officials in Boston called a symbolic gift from the town of Oxford, Nova Scotia a "holiday tree," causing such a ruckus that the city council in Oxford made a decree that December was to be known as none other than the Christmas Season. Even Canada's Governor General told her officials to stop calling the the decorated trees at her residence "holiday trees," preferring instead the more traditional term.

It's important to be sensitive to people who don't celebrate this particular holiday. Don't go up to someone who you know doesn't celebrate Christ's birth and wish them "Merry Christmas." However, I don't think people are as offended as officials worry they are when they hear a cheery greeting using the name of the holiday instead of some watered-down don't-offend-anyone euphemism. How do you feel about the use, or lack thereof, of the word Christmas?

Regardless of how the culture changes and how much people try to push this fact to the background, Christmas will always be about Christ. It will always be about a baby born in a dirty, mucky stable in a nowhere town in Palestine two thousand years ago. But most importantly, it will always point to a cross, an empty grave, and the best Christmas gift ever given.

Merry Christmas!


Tara said...

I totally agree with you. I remember looking at my partner with a totally lost blank look on my face when this whole ruckus started. So, from one blogger to another,

Merry Christmas :o)

Balagan said...

I Absolutely agree. It's not a "Winter Holiday" or "Xmas," but CHRISTMAS.

I don't see our officials referring to Ramadan as the "Fasting Holiday."

The fact they call it by its rightful name doesn't offend me -- even though I'm not a Muslim, so I don't see why referring to Christmas should offend non-Christians.

So here's to the demise of Frosty's Winterfest, Freedom Fries and Holiday Trees. This year I'm sending out Christmas cards, eating French Fries and putting up a Christmas tree.

Oh, and Merry Christmas to You!

Davey Jones said...

I wouldn't be offended if someone wished me a happy hanukah, or ramadan, or kwanzaa, or whatever. So why be offended over christmas. Regardless there is such a load of cultural crap around christmas (santa, presents, etc...) that has nothing to do with religion or christianity, that its almost ridiculous to think of "christmas" as a purely religious term. Its a cultural thing mostly.

Political correctness needs to get a life.

MommaK said...

Just stopping by to say hello. I always love hearinf from a fellow Survivor disher;-) Have a great weekend!

SlushTurtle said...

I completely agree. I was happy to see that Wal- Mart has a tv commmercial that actually says "merry Christmas" now. It's about time!

AfricaBleu said...

Yay, Hillary - you're the hero of the day for this post.

Yeah, yeah, and YEAH.

BTW - I love that picture of Santa bowing to Christ...

Paul said...

Good post Hillary, but I think we need to be really careful. You said "It's important to be sensitive to people who don't celebrate this particular holiday. Don't go up to someone who you know doesn't celebrate Christ's birth and wish them 'Merry Christmas'", but Jesus was incarnated for the benefit of us all. Yes, we need to be sensitive, but if we go too far out of our way to avoid wishing people a happy Christmas, we risk making Christianity look like an exclusive club, and turning our back on the truth that Jesus came for everyone.

anne said...

i totally agree with the lack of usage of "Christmas". It's gotten as out of control as how early Christmas shows up nowadays. But i am also very against boycotting places and sending them letters saying that i disagree with them doing what they do. it's not worth the boycott or effort. rather put letters and time into hungry kids, life-altering efforts rather than how someone says something.

Dana said...

Amen! Christmas is a holiday and if you don't celebrate Christmas, don't celebrate, but Santa is such a big part of it now, that it is going to be in your face the whole month. Other religious holidays don't bug me, why should Christmas bother others? I don't get it.

Like a few others said, I am not going to be offended if someone wished me a Happy Kwanzaa (is that how you spell it?)

Karen said...

Happy Jesus' birthday!

I wonder if the government would agree with that more? Ha ha!

I'd never heard the term "holiday tree". That's just sad.

Anonymous said...

School's 'Giving Tree' Turns Into 'Giving Counter'

December 6, 2005

BELLEVUE,WA - School kids at Medina Elementary wanted to help those less fortunate.

The kids and their parents decided on a "Giving Tree." It would have mittens as decorations and the mittens would carry the age and sex of the person getting the present and what they would really like this holiday season.

But the efforts ran afoul of some sensibilities. A parent complained that the tree was a Christian symbol. The principal agreed to remove the tree, but continue the giving effort.

The school is now operating near the Crossroads district of Bellevue as Medina Elementary is being rebuilt.

Near Crossroads, Mike Eddy has a Christmas tree lot.

He says the trees are symbols to him: "Well, for me, it is a very religious thing for me. I'm a Christian man and it is a symbol of Christianity."

Exactly why it's a Christmas symbol is a subject of lot of lofty arguments. But we all call them Christmas trees.

Principal Betsy Hill told KOMO 4 News: "Well, I was very gently reminded that the tree represents some part of Christianity."

The tree, itself, was a nondescript coil of silver with a star on top. The school covered the star with a bow. But that wasn't enough for the critic.

And the principal had a thought: "We can easily carry on our giving efforts whether we put the mittens on a sled, a snowman, a tree, or a counter. And so our mittens are now on the counter."

A sign edited by the student has a line through tree of "Giving Tree" and above the word tree is counter.

But her decision to put the mittens on the counter is lighting up the phones.

According to the school's officer director Chris Metzger, many callers are upset: "Generally they are disappointed that we had to take the tree down that it's come to that."

The school principal adds: "I think there are about as many people calling to say you did the right thing as there are people calling to say 'you are a coward, you caved in.' "

Hill insists she didn't buckle. She says the most important thing is keeping alive the giving spirit and relocating the mittens has allowed that to happen.

Some, like Judy Petrovich, don't understand why the giving tree is history: "A giving counter! That's ridiculous!"

Kim Raskin, who is Jewish, says the tree didn't offend her: "I am fully in support of having the Giving Tree."

The school says wherever the mittens are, it's the giving that's important. That's the spirit of... well... the winter season.

Amie said...


Dee said...

Amen and well said! With your permission, I'd like to add this post to my list of similar articles!

Hillary said...

By all means! :D