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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 89 - 12/15/2002
Bah-Humbug! Are You Offended by Christmas?
Do all of the Christian-based celebrations, songs and religious programming at this time of the year irritate you? Do you, as a Pagan, feel slightly uncomfortable if someone wishes you a 'Merry Christmas'? Do you 'correct' him/her, just let it go (The season is just too short!) or counter with a 'Happy Solstice' or 'Merry Yule' without further explanation?
Or, on the other hand, do you think that PC (political correctness) has run amuck and that the efforts to please everyone -- and to offend no one -- during this time of year has virtually expelled any and/or all spiritual meaning from the season? Is Christmas just another secular/commercial holiday these days?
And finally, what does the Yule season mean to you and how will you celebrate? Will you also join in Christian or Jewish holiday events with family or friends? What do you love about this time of year and what always makes you want to snort, 'Humbug'?
| Reponses: There are 173 responses posted to this question.
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| I Wouldn't Exactly Say It's All That Bad.... ||Dec 19th. at 6:23:28 pm UTC|
|Bevin Moonshadow Faolan (Ridgeley, WV) ||Age: 15 - Email |
Christmas may be rooted on the birth of "Christ", but it's really been so commercialized that the focus is no longer on the roots, but on presents and lights and really seeing how much money you can spend in the time from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve. But to tell you the truth, I'm not really all that bothered, my family is all Catholic, but they've accepted my so-called "differences" and I celebrate Yule anyways. But really, if you think about it, Christmas traditions aren't truly Christian or Catholic. When I was younger and had to go to sunday school with my family they would teach us all about the "Christmas traditions" of bringing trees indoors and lighting candles in windows, along with all the other christmas stuff. But I realized how much they lied or just "omitted" to me when I was younger. The truth about most christmas traditions isn't even rooted in christianity. Bringing evergreen trees inside around this time of the year was rooted with the Druids, who brought them into their houses because they saw them of having very magickal properties because they stayed green all year. Yule logs were another tradition not rooted in christmas, although that story has slipped my mind at the moment, but most things like present giving were rooted internationally. Infact, in italy, their "santa" is a kind old crone who delivers presents as she searches the continent for something(for some odd reason what she was searching for evades my short memory too) Nonetheless, the comercial christmas, or I would be more correct in saying X-mas goes by whatever name you call it, mine may be Yule, others may have different names, but whatever it is, it makes everyone feel close and spreads a sort of joy and ood will towards men that wouldn't be around any other time of year. I'll leave you with those thoughts. *Insert Holiday name here* Greetings to you and yours! ;)
| So What.... ||Dec 19th. at 6:48:18 pm UTC|
|Stacy (Mesa, AZ) ||Age: 23 - Email |
So what if someone says merry Christmas to you, just reply with Merry Yule, there is no reason to bite off their head. They are in a good mood and this is the best time to create awareness of the Pagan community, people are not only more open hearted but open-minded as well, we should set an example of this by not getting mad but making others think. I personally celebrate both cause my family is totally Christian and my seven year old daughter still believes in Santa, I usually meet with them at this time of the year as opposed to any other time because that is when we arrange to get together and their is no good solid reason not to visit with them, so what if they celebrate Christmas because of the birth of Jesus and I celebrate it because that is when Santa visits my child. I celebrate Yule with others like myself on the 21st and then four days later celebrate Christmas for my daughter. I am raising her to know the true history of this season and unfortunately not many people have that luxury so they should be made aware, how can we help them become aware by automatically getting after them for their "Merry Christmas" comment. So what I was born on the 21st and they think they were born on the 25th, That does not mean I cant have my birthday, just as they should be able to have there’s four days later, if you get bad over this than it is like telling a child that they have a right to be mad as hell because there sibling was born a couple of days after there birthday party, to each their own. Tolerance is the most important thing.
| Holidays! ||Dec 19th. at 7:12:02 pm UTC|
|TigerSong (Plymouth Meeting) ||Age: 15 - Email |
Well, considering that my mom was raised atheist Jewish, and is now Buddhist (kind of), my dad was raised Lutheran and is now atheist, my sister is Catholic, and I am Pagan, we've celebrated so many holidays in this time of year it's not even funny. This year, to cut down on holidays ;), we opted for Yule (YAY!), though when we go down to Florida we're going to have Christmas with my Unitarian Jewish aunt and uncle...
There are very few holidays at this time of the year that I don't at least have some connection to. Though I don't celebrate Kwanza or the Islam holiday of this time, that still leaves four others. With a schedule like that, you really can't get offended at whatever holiday someone tells you to have a happy one of.
After all, the point is that they want you to be happy, right?
| Oh Yeah! ||Dec 19th. at 7:13:48 pm UTC|
|TigerSong (Plymouth Meeting) ||Age: 15 - Email |
Did you see the Holiday Greeting thing that Nickolodeon has as one of it's commercials? It made me very happy.
| The Time Of Year To... ||Dec 19th. at 7:20:00 pm UTC|
|Whitetiger (Arlington, Tx) ||Age: 29 - Email - Web|
Laugh, cry, scream, and feel pressured... That is was Christmas seems like anymore in this time and age.. we have the pressure to buy things, spend loads of money, and eat lots of food..
it is also the time where people push, shove, and yell at the stores.. and well all chaos reigns..
So do i mind when people say merry Christmas.. Nope.. I just return there cheer with happy holidays, Happy yule., and even Merry Christmas!..
i try to spread as much joy as I can during this time of year.. greating people with smiles and laughter and just trying to make this all to stressfull holiday better.
Do I think it is all about the mighty dollar bill? OHH YES..YES it is.. There seems to be no Religion in this holiday anymore.
| Yule Should Be Celebrated During The Season. Not One Day! ||Dec 19th. at 7:49:27 pm UTC|
|Lord Bonnie Of The Isles (Berkshire County, MA) ||Age: 49 - Email |
As I write these words; the commercialism of the season has been a real turn-off to me in recent years. All it is, is that family often bickers and fights because they did (or in that matter) did not get what they wanted. My true feelings is playing the music during these holidays and just giving my heartfelt wishes to friends and loved ones. Now that to me is the true spirit of Yule that should be celebrated during the season. NOT on December 25 or for that matter, January 6. They really don't know when he was born.
Bright Blessings in Yule
| It Is The Season Of Kris Kringle ||Dec 19th. at 9:11:12 pm UTC|
|Adam Miller (Owego NY) ||Age: 39 - Email |
I am a Wiccan High Preist. The commercialism people speak of only enters if you let it. This is a season for majick in the minds and hearts of everyone. But especially the children, I love to see childrens faces when they talk of Santa, they are happy, excited and anxious for his visit. I remember when I was little feeling the same way and I still do feel that way today. I am tired of the talk of commercialism, how many of you speaking this way as a child wore out the Sears Wish book dreaming of christmas morning. I was raised pagan all "christmas" meant to me was a visit from Santa Claus, it was the most majickal time of the year for me as a child. Let us not take away from our children what we experienced, just because we now know words like commersialism. Its the time of giving and let us give our children and some of us adults the majick that this season has always given us. the joy of giving and receiving gifts from those we love. And if we have really been good maybe a couple of nice ones from Kris Kringle.
| No Humbug Here ||Dec 19th. at 11:44:55 pm UTC|
|Bryony Ravenwillow (Kansas City MO) ||Age: 34 - Email |
How can one be offended by a holiday celebrating 'peace on earth, good will towards men'? The meaning is universal, even if the religion espousing that sentiment isn't. And in a time when our government 'leadership' seems to have forgotten it, it doesn't mean that we should.
I celebrate both Yule and Christmas. Yule with my husband and Pagan friends, Christmas with our Christian families. I tell people 'Happy Holidays', since that covers Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and all the other holidays that are crammed into the time between Thanksgiving and December 25. I decorate a tree, send out cards saying 'Seasons Greetings' with pictures of reindeer and holly, and use wrapping paper printed with pine cones, reindeer, holly, etc. I bake some of the best gingerbread people on earth and bring it to work to share. I smile at all the exhausted retail workers, because they need it. I sing 'Deck the Halls' and 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer', and I still have a soft spot in my heart for 'O Holy Night', because it's a beautiful song, even though it's Christian.
No, I'm not offended.
Blessed Yule, everyone!
| As A Cultural Holiday, Love It But Hate The Shopping Mob ||Dec 20th. at 12:33:19 am UTC|
|Briar Rose (Jacksonville, Oregon) ||Age: 50 - Email |
So here we go again, good old Santa. Yes, I truly do love
Santa and his elves. I am elf, in my heart, and I was born with pointed ears. And
my spouse used to be Santa at a local shopping center. A Canadian Santa, eh? But
seriously. This season is full of many things to many people. And full of excess
And all that goes with. But I have learned to cut it down, leave my expressions of
well wishing as " Have a Merry Yuletide season, full of cheer". We get the religious Christian
cards, heck I have two born again sisters. They send "He is the reason for the season".
I send back "May your Yuletide light shine bright". I believe we are saying the same thing
in different ways. Peace, and goodwill are not patented by any religion. Neither is love
understanding and compassion for all. So now where is that favorite cookie recipe of mine.
And I will observe Yule in the wild wood as always, in my circle of stone, with a candle lit
on the altar. And all I have to is walk out my door, for my heart is as wild and free as any
beast in the wood, and the Goddess sings on the wind. She would not want any of her beloved
children to lose sight of what is important about Yule. So send out that love to one and all
and just smile back at those who smile at you, no matter the words on their lips.
| Offended By Love? No. ||Dec 20th. at 1:03:22 am UTC|
|Morrigayn (Knoxville, TN) ||Age: 21 - Email |
The only thing that bugs me around Yule is that a lot of people put up signs and things that say "Tis the Season" and things like that. 'Tis the season for what? Other than snow, I see no reason that "Christmas time" is anything special. My point? Be loving, kind and generous the whole year, not just for a month when it's PC to be nice. Live your life with a kind heart and forgiving soul. There is no reason that love, gifts (if they be something hand made, something needed, money or food to the poor, etc.) and general cheerfulness should be something most people only find once a year. It's sad but true. I am not offended by the Christmas theme of love in general. I am offended that people will only be nice one time a year and that some people think that what matters is the gifts you give.
| Come On, Now! ||Dec 20th. at 1:23:08 am UTC|
|Zach (Massachusetts) ||Age: 22 - Email |
Seriously. Who could be offended by Christmas? Even if only superficially, as my friend likes to say "Its a time of year when everyone's nice to eachother. Seriously. Once New Year's is over then everone goes back to being an asshole, but for a few weeks, everyone's nice." How can you be opposed to a holiday where people who are normally jerks are compelled to be nice? And people go out of their way, sometimes to the point of neurosis to decorate: to make our world just a little more beautiful than it already is. And who isn't moved by all the singing? Tell me your heart isn't made just a little lighter by a good round of "Silent Night" or "The Little Drummer Boy." I dare you. And don't tell me you're so narrow minded that you can't appreiate Christmas carols because they're Christian-themed. I know there's excessive commercialism, but think of it this way. People are spending ridiculous amounts of money ON OTHER PEOPLE. Its the polar opposite of unabashed greed, its rabid selflessness. People open accounts at the bank which they spend an entire year filling that they will never see a penny of; that will have no pay off to them. And if that isn't enough of a silevr lining, then remember back to your childhood when you were watching the Charlie Brown Chrstmas special. Are you going to let commercialism dilute the spirit of the season for you? And finally we get to Jesus. Why do Wiccans have such a problem commemorating his birth? Granted it wasn't on December 25th, but we don't observe Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, or George Washington's birthdays on the actual dates either, and can we really claim a monopoly on the winter solstice? Besides, Jesus wasn't a bad guy. He was a political dissident who fought against society's corrupt upper crust. He proclaimed spiritual equality for those the Jewish elite saw as unclean (women, the disabled, gentiles). If he could see the state of his following, he wouldn't be impressed to be sure. Why would we object to the observance of the birthday of a crusader for justice? And socially some people feel jaded and wonder why no one's recognizing their holiday. Well, what you see is the Christian majority recogniizing their own. A holiday's representation is proportional to the number of people who celebrate it. If Paganism ever attracts 4 billion followers, you'll see a lot more solstice wreaths and Yule lights. We can celebrate our own holiday with other Pagans and deck the halls with solstice gear (which is actually what they're doing on a much larger scale). I also don't understand the contempt for 'Merry Christmas' and the relentless pursuit of political correctness. If someone is wishing you well do you really have the gall to nitpick over how they said it?
| Enlightenment ||Dec 20th. at 3:19:50 am UTC|
|susan (usa) ||Age: 47 - Email |
I respond with Happy Holiday and always participate in secret santa gift exchange.I also take off from work on Winter Soltice and volunteer to work christmas explaining why when asked.It is no secret to friends and coworkers that I am Pagan. I donot discuss my spirituality with my cathloic and reborn christian family members however as they are not an educated or tolerant group,just assuming that I am christian.Useless conversation.I ignore and purposely back away from the materialism of this season always explaining why.It always pleases me how many people are interested in my spirituality,respectful of it, and how many agree with its root principles. Everyday education through everyday conversation achieves much,I even have a friend who is reborn christan celebrate Hallow Eve and Winter Soltice with me and another always calls on my Holydays. How Blessed by the the Goddess I am.What bothers me the most is Pagans keeping quiet. It is up to us to have others honor our spiritualism through open commu action. It's surprising how many are receptive to understanding and terefore respect, Happy Holiday. Walk in beauty
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