I declare a War on the War on Christmas. And since the barrage of the holiday season has begun, I thought I should launch a preemptive strike.
Every year the religious right and the conservative news pundits claim that there is a plan to attack Christmas in America. I am tired of it. And I hate to disappoint them, but there is really no such plan. Non-Christians may ask for inclusion in the "Holiday Season" and there is no question that there are other holidays in the month of December. But a nod to Hanukah or Kwanza does not constitute and attack on the singular biggest holiday on the American calendar.
As a secular American, I love Christmas. And I know many other atheists who celebrate it as I do, with the whole nine yards: a tree (which has no religious connotation that I can find), gifts (which may or may not be a symbol of the gifts of the Magi to the Christ child), Bing Crosby (I even like "Silent Night") and the food (not to mention the drinks!).
It seems that many of the traditions which celebrate the High Holy Day called Christmas are not holy at all. They are more American then they are Christian. And many stem from paganism, sun worship and other pre-Christian traditions. Going to midnight mass may be the most religiously significant part of the celebration, but I doubt it is the most popular. If you look at the amount of money we Americans spend on the holiday you will see that the gifts, decorations and the special vittles are what makes it a Merry Christmas.
That's right, a Merry Christmas -- the greeting I use all December long. I may be an atheist, but I am not a humbug.
I don't focus on the religious aspect of the holiday, but I do educate my family about the true meaning of the day. I think it is important to understand what is being celebrated -- however secularly. To that end, I have a crèche scene. I love having Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus on my piano for the month of December. They come up from the basement in the box with the cookie cutters (stars, bells and Santa's boot shapes are my favorite) and the holiday themed movies. All of which are what makes the holiday bright for me and mine.
If secularism constitutes a war on Christmas, I would assume that the true believers only celebrate the parts of the holiday that are truly religious. But that wouldn't really be any fun. So why not drop the whole war idea (which also isn't any fun). Let's all wish each other a Happy Everything and get on with what that matters most: enjoying mid-winter celebrations of all stripes.
December has many fun-filled dates to look forward to, and Christmas is clearly a contender for champion in the arena of good times. Instead of having a war about it, let's have a party. I'll bring the eggnog!