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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.
|| Reverse Sort
| No Humbug Here ||Dec 19th. at 11:44:55 pm EST|
|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 EST|
|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 EST|
|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 EST|
|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 EST|
|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
| Merrry Yule! ||Dec 20th. at 4:16:36 am EST|
|sanne (Netherlands) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I think everybody should have it's own feasts.my mom and dad and a lot of my friends just celebrate cristmas like every other christian,and though I am a Pagan,i respect that.but that doesn't automatically mean that I am actually celebrating cristmas.I try to fit in a bit to keep the family values high,but if someone wishes me a merry christmas,I have no other comment than merry yule!
| Meh ||Dec 20th. at 5:16:43 am EST|
|Morrighan (NC) ||Age: 24 - Email |
I'm not real keen on holidays as it is. I usually go home at Christmas and hang with my family that I only see at Xian holiday times. (Obviously, no one else is Pagan in my family). I do feel like a Ninny, though. They're all talking about Jesus, and I just smile and nod.
I like Jesus, don't get me wrong, but some of my family's views on the subject make me a little green, if you know what I mean. This year, I think I'm going to show some oomph! When a relative grabs hold of me and shouts, "Merry Christmas!" in my ear, "I'm going to return with Happy Yule."
Is that rude?....
| Not Offended, But... ||Dec 20th. at 5:36:49 am EST|
|amy wallen (southampton, england) ||Age: 22 - Email |
i do worry about the commercial nature of christmas. i'd never try and spoil any child's fun by moaning about it in front of them, but it does bother me. my colleague at work, for example, has a teenage son for whom she must buy a certain amount and certain presents, because of the tremendous pressure among people his age.
the shopping rush has become gradually worse year after year, and people are getting more and more stressed. for a season of peace and rest this is pretty strange. it's true you don't have to give in to the commercialism, but it is becoming increasingly difficult in this age of multinational bigwigs to give gifts that really suit the intended recipients. especially on a low budget. but i do try, and it helps to know you've made an effort.
as to the religious side of it, i don't get offended. people wishing you a merry christmas are for the most part just being polite. so i'll say merry christmas back. but the situation is complicated becuase while all religious groups deserve to celebrate their big holidays with as much pomp and circumstance as christmas is celebrated, i'm not sure that i would want the solstice to be overcome by the stresses that christmas inevitably brings. i think merely increasing the coverage for other holidays would not be enough. we need to change the way we do things altogether.
| Hermetically Minded Christian Alchemist ||Dec 20th. at 7:27:24 am EST|
|alex (arizona) ||Age: 22 - Email |
so pretty much what people are saying is, hey, i'd like My pagan religion (even though most wiccans aren't pagan, paganism is idol worship, heathenism is nature worship, and shamanism is worship of anscestors, course, this makes most catholics who worship idols (statues of the saints) pagans, but as i was saying) what people are saying is, id like MY religion out in teh open, and popularly accepted, but i'll be d@---- if i'll listen to anything that has to do with YOUR religion. People, this is the same kind of thinking that caused everything that occult practitioners are fighting against in terms of prejudice. Its religous afirmative action, and we don't need that. If your insulted because someone chooses to practice their religion in front of you, thats YOUR problem, not theirs.
| When Wished Merry Christmas ||Dec 20th. at 8:25:11 am EST|
|Rick (South Carolina) ||Age: 49 - Email |
Living as I do in the so-called "Bible-Belt" it would seem that I am surrounded by Christians. Or at least by those who profess to be Christians. This naturally leads to Christian Holidays being given even MORE special attention than when I lived in the Midwest.
When I first discovered the Pagan within me, it would irritate me. But as time passed I realized that most of the well wishes and decor and all that goes with this time of the year was much more secular than religious.
Fat, laughing Santa with his elves is far closer to paganism than any Christian meaning.
I figure, they mean well. They don't know any better. I can respond with "Happy Holidays" and we can each smile and go our own way. The cookies taste the same no matter what the baker's belief system.
| Not Offended-Love This Season-no Matter The Religion. ||Dec 20th. at 9:06:06 am EST|
|Mathair Cat (TN) ||Age: 29 - Email |
I don't mind Christmas. My family does their own thing for Winter Solstice and we celebrate the commercialized part of Christmas--they know the story of the birth of Christ (but know he wasn't really born in Dec lmao) but they like the story and all. I think living here in the Bible Belt that the only thing that bothers me about the holiday season is that people decorate their houses before Thanksgiving and some of them drape Christmas lights over crosses like a shroud. That is so tacky people. And the Christmas rush for gifts and greed of it all--if it's about love and the birth of which ever myth or deity you believe in--why the rush? Why be so rude..I tend to do shopping and planning before hand and stay at home away from SuperCenter Walmart's and Malls lmao. Other than that Dec holidays have been and will be my favorite season of the year--of course I was raised by open minded Methodist who Imo were more pagan than Christian in some aspects :) Happy Holidays all!! Merry Solstice!!
| It Doesn't Bother Me Anymore ||Dec 20th. at 9:55:58 am EST|
|Glen (Fl.) ||Age: 31 - Email |
I have been a wiccen for 10 years now and have gotten use to it.The people that matter the most know that i am a witch and dont celabrate christmas any more.My mother is a cathlic and dosnt understand my religion but tries.She will at times ask about my days and why.I go to christmas dinner and spend time with the family.Wish them a marry yule and go on my way.Others i simply say thanks and same to you or wish them a marry yule.I dont see any reasion to argue with then about it.I dont go to the company party and my boss knows why.I work on allmost all holadays and get mine off.Of course i try to avoid any kind of shopping.Ive learned to live with it.MARRY YULE TO ALL OF YOU OUT THERE!!
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