Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, when people deck the halls with boughs of holly, mistletoe, beribboned wreaths -- and Festivus poles made of beer cans.
Each year, some people attempt to put up Nativity scenes in state Capitol buildings and governor's mansions, and others try to put up secular displays right next to them.
Groups like the American Humanist Association and the Freedom from Religion Foundation have been on the front lines of challenging religious displays on public property, arguing that they violate the separation of church and state. They often file lawsuits and pressure government officials to block Nativity scenes.
"This is like a bunch of groups within the United States right now who are trying to take Christianity out of the United States totally," said Bob Jackson, a county employee in Harrison County, Mississippi, where the AHA is protesting a Nativity scene in the local courthouse. "It's harmful. It's painful to me to see the federal courts that will listen to them more than they will listen to the majority of the people who live in the United States."
Private citizens also go after these Nativity scenes on a more personal level, erecting Festivus poles, Satanic displays and other dioramas.
The president of the Thomas More Society, a public interest law firm that co-sponsors Nativity scenes around the country, told the Christian Post that he isn't bothered by the secular displays.
"Anti-Christian, anti-Christmas rhetoric and Satanic expositions merely serve to provide sharp emphasis by means of their stark contrast with the positive, uplifting, hopeful and joyous message of Christmas," Tom Brejcha said.
Below are some of the protests going on this holiday season:
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
Supporters of GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) went beyond dioramas this year and recently staged a live Nativity scene
outside the Michigan Capitol.
Starting on the Saturday before Christmas, state Sen. Rick Jones (R) will put up his own Nativity scene, which he is required to take down and reinstall each day
, under state rules.
The Satanic Temple of Detroit will be holding a ceremony on state grounds that same day in protest. It will also place its "snaketivity" statue -- a snake on a cross -- on the Capitol lawn for the second year in a row.
There will also be an event by the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and a Festivus pole sponsored by The Humanity Fund, a group based in Florida.
An organizer told MLive that the pole will include "a gay pride flag
, glitter paint and a disco ball."
Nati Harnik/Associated Press
Nebraska once again has a Nativity scene in its Capitol building -- but it won't be there the week of Christmas.
"Atheist groups had already snatched up all available display space
on the Capitol's ground floor for the week of Dec. 21, forcing the Nativity scene to come down a week earlier than it did last year," the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
One woman is planning a protest on Saturday, the day after the Nativity scene comes down, to show her displeasure with the atheists.
“It doesn't make a difference if one or two show up," Sylvia Driskell said. "It's God looking down
and seeing that people care. His children care. Those who believe in Him."
Brendan Farrington/Associated Press
In 2013, Chaz Stevens set up a Festivus pole made out of beer cans across from a Nativity scene at the Florida Capitol building.
Over the years, there has also been a "Happy Winter Solstice" banner and a Satanic temple diorama
The Florida Prayer Network said that this year, it will not be erecting a Nativity scene.
"My hope is that the Christ in Christmas is louder than a wood display
and some figurines," Pam Olsen, president of the Florida Prayer Network.
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Chaz Stevens, the Florida man who put up a Festivus pole in Florida, is expanding his reach to Oklahoma
this year, which also has a Nativity scene in the Capitol building.
The pole he's installing in Oklahoma will be "approximately 6 feet 6 inches tall
, painted with purple glitter, covered in rainbow colors and topped with an 8-inch disco ball."
Joel Martinez/The McAllen Monitor/Associated Press
The city of Orange, Texas, has decided to take down its Nativity scene
after an atheist group requested permission to put up a sign next to the display, which sat on city hall grounds.
"We didn't care that there was a nativity there as long as we could be included
as well," Josh Hammers of the Orange County Atheists told the Houston Chronicle.
He said the group's banner would have read, "Whether you are celebrating Saturnalia, Christmas, the Winter Solstice or any other holiday this time of year, the Orange County Atheists would like to wish you 'Happy Holidays!'"
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) backed the Nativity scene and encouraged Orange to "stand up to the demands of a select few who wish to see God thrown out
of the public square."