I was driving home from seeing a customer and an advertisement came on the radio for a travel agency. The voice over person said “come in and save this holiday season with our lowest price guarantee”. It wasn’t the “lowest price guarantee” that stuck out to me, but the use of “holiday season” because those “War on Christmas” memes are already bombarding my social media experience with shares from friends and family.
As an Atheist I don’t really care if someone wishes me a Merry Christmas and I don’t care if the shops are filled with traditional carols signing about the birth of Jesus or the “true meaning of Christmas”. As comedian Tim Minchin mentions in his Christmas inspired song ‘White Wine in the Sun‘, even though the lyrics of many Christian songs are dodgy (to us non-believers), the songs have nice chords. I’d add to that sentiment of his that many Christmas songs have some of my favourite melodies as well, and I’m not just talking about the secular Christmas songs.
What many critics of “the true meaning of Christmas” who, like me, love celebrating this festivity seem to forget is, without this story, whether myth or real, there would be no Christmas. And because I love Christmas so much I’m happy to let the religious part of it continue even if I don’t believe the story myself.
Another thing that those who get up the Christians for stating that there is a war on Christmas don’t realise is something that I took from another comedian, the late Bill Hicks in his routine about the War on Drugs.
“It’s not a war on drugs, it’s a war on personal freedom…” – Bill Hicks*
It’s not a war on Christmas, it’s a war on personal freedom. Seeing that this war on Christmas is basically an American thing – although we do have it here in Australia to some extent – it can be held up with all those other freedoms that our friends in the US think they are losing the battle against. The War on Terrorism is being fought against the Muslims because they want to take away the Christianess (sic) of the States, and once America is no longer a Christian country, ALL of the freedoms of the people will be taken away. But they’re not.
You are not losing your freedoms dear Americans. And you are definitely not losing your freedoms dear Christian Americans.
Sadly, just like George Dubya’s War on Terror sent the troops in to find those Weapons of Mass Destruction that were never there, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, the man who is credited as declaring that there is a war on Christmas back in the early 2000s has sent “his troops” in only to find out that the IS NO war on Christmas. But to maintain face – and to maintain the rage, because that keeps his viewers watching – he’ll keep stating there is a war even though last year he declared that;
“It isn’t a mythical war on Christmas. It’s real, and we just won…” – Bill O’Reilly, The O’Reilly Factor December 2013
And yet he’s at it again on 2014. The war he said he won last year is still being fought.
Now in the title of this post I suggested that there is a case for using Happy Holidays. And there is.
Here in Australia many people take time off from work from Christmas Eve (some having a half day that day) until the first Monday after New Year’s Eve. Unless you work in retail or in an industry that can’t shut down for any period of time (bread, milk and other food processing plants) and the holiday industry itself, many places this coming holiday season will close from half day on Wednesday, 24th December 2014 and remain closed until Monday, 5th January 2015. Seeing that the first Thursday and Friday of that break – being Christmas Day and Boxing Day respectively – are public holidays, and New Year’s Day is also a public holiday, for many Australian workers they will only get docked four days from the annual leave for a break of eleven (or eleven and a half) days.
So for us, it truly is the holiday season and saying “Happy Holidays” is very fitting. And that’s NOT at the expense of “Merry Christmas” because in all the years of saying it, I have never had anyone offended by me wishing that to them, even those supposedly Grinch-like Atheists that don’t believe in the Jesus myth.
And in the US, the term “Holiday Season” and the well wish of “Happy Holidays” IS NOT about taking the “Merry Christmas” out of Christmas, it’s about acknowledging that from the fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving) until the 6th January there are holidays and celebrations abound. And do you know what that 6th January celebration is? Epiphany. Yes, another Christian celebration that most “let’s keep the Christ in Christmas” followers wouldn’t even know bout, let alone celebrate.
On the term, “Happy Holidays” in the United States, Wikipedia suggests it refers to;
“a collective and inclusive wish for the period encompassing Thanksgiving, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Winter solstice, Christmas Day (The Nativity of the Lord), Boxing Day (St. Stephen’s Day), the New Year and Epiphany.”
Happy Holidays is ALL encompassing. It’s so inclusive.
So Bill O’Reilly, take a listen to the words that John Lennon wrote back in 1971…
“A very Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear
War is over, if you want it,
War is over now…”
Yes Mr O’Reilly, THERE. IS. NO. WAR. ON. CHRISTMAS. And if for a brief fleeting moment there was, it’s over now…
*Please note, I do not advocate recreational drugs and am actually against using them myself, but used this quote to serve it’s purpose.
Are you a Merry Christmas type of person? Are you a Happy Holidays person? Maybe you’re a Season’s Greetings person. Maybe you’re all three.