Thursday, December 23, 2004

Christmas (Or Should I Say Holiday?) Musings

-On Tuesday, my sister and I went out and did our Christmas shopping. Unlike past years, we started a bit late. However, we were still able to get the vast majority finished. We were able to avoid going to most of the extremely crowded places like Best Buy or the mall. However, we did have to go to Wal-Mart. We bought the most stuff from Target and Circuit City. In the end, we got presents for Mom, Dad, Auntee, Aunt Barbara & Uncle Bayne, Rhonda, and each other. My sister bought the majority of the gifts with money she got from selling back her college books. In previous years, I bought most of the gifts. As I'm still unemployed, I'm grateful she was able to take on the cost of the gifts. She really wants tickets to see the Bulls play Sacramento at home, and she took money that would have easily gotten her a nice seat and used it for Christmas gifts for our family and friends. Even with our limited funds, our family always finds a way to give gifts. I hope that we will enjoy the gifts we got for each other.

-I turn 24 tomorrow!

-I've been thinking about the controversy of the use of "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." It's become an increasingly big deal over the past few years. There's even a site trying to get the Federated Department Stores to use "Merry Christmas" again.

Personally, I could care less if a store uses "Merry Christmas" or not. Companies and stores want the money of consumers and they will do anything to insure that a large amount of people spend their money. While the creation of Christmas mascots (such as Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer) was the main tactic to get money in the past, the main tactic now is to appeal to a cross-section of people who will buy gifts but not necessarily for Christmas. As for the use of Christmas in schools and public places...I really don't see a problem with it. Christmas has been secularized for a looong time. Christmas is as much a cultural holiday as it is a religious one. My friends are a good example of this. One is an ex-Catholic and no longer a Christian at all. One is agnostic. One is not Christian, but lives by a set of philosophies that include elements of Christianity. Every single one of these people will celebrate Christmas without being involved in it religously. They will buy and receive gifts and see their families...all without ever thinking or caring about the birth of Christ. I'm sure that there are a lot of people out there who wouldn't consider themselves Christian that will partake in the secular version of the holiday.

As for the inclusion of songs about Kwanzaa and Hanukkah but the exclusion of even secular Christmas songs...that's a bit of hypocrisy. I think everything should be embraced. Include songs from all the holidays of the season. You can celebrate the variety of holidays Americans celebrate during this season without excluding the one that most of us celebrate. Our children can only gain from learning about others' traditions. No one gains from being intolerant and disrespectful during the holiday season. No matter what holiday you celebrate, everyone wants to be happy.

So I say (even if it's already passed): Happy Holidays! Season's Greetings! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Boxing Day! Happy Saint Lucia Day! Happy Winter Solstice! Happy Ramadan! Happy St. Nicholas Day! Happy New Year!

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