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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
| Doesn't Concern Me ||Dec 20th. at 10:30:17 am EST|
|Ashe Winterwolf (Irving, TX) ||Age: 38 - Email |
The basis of Winter Solstice and Christmas is so similiar that I don't even make a distinction. What does bother me is the overwhelming commercialism. What determines a "successful" Christmas these days...why the profit-margin of course! Sady, very sad.
| Miss Grinch ||Dec 20th. at 10:46:02 am EST|
|Katie (Indiana) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I am tired of all the hipocrasy that follows christmas. The real meaning has been lost. All you hear about is "I want, I want, I want" Its the holiday of greed. Now I am a pagan and I see almost no difference in those around me (pagans i mean) Its all about what can you give me and it had better be a lot and it had better be good!
| Take It In The Spirit It Was Meant ||Dec 20th. at 11:00:49 am EST|
|Starwalker (Down East, NC) ||Age: 54 - Email |
When wished a Merry Christmas, my responses vary; if it's in passing in the course of business, I often say "Merry Christmas to you as well" because I DO live where the majority profess Christian belifs and I DO wish them a merry time on their holiday, just as I wish my Jewish friends a Happy Hannuka (I know I misseplled that.. ) If it's someone I know, I will probably thank them and wish them both a Merry Christmas AND a Glad Yule. And if it's ME initiating the holiday greeting in a business environment, I offer a "Happy Holidays" as I always have, to be respectful of all belifs.
I am disturbed -- not sure I would use the word "offended" -- by the rank commercialism. I have never bought into it. Raised 5 daughters outside the mass market culture and we never "filled Christmas requisitions" as we term the typical "what do you want for Christmas" tradition. For us, still, the empasis is on suitability of the gift (note the use of the singular) rather than price or quantity... and indeed our most treasured gifts have been things we made for eachother or occassionally when one of us found something the we knew another had been searching for, unsuccessfully, for some time.
I am, however, going to have to deal with how the "other side" lives this year, as I will be spending next week with my best friend and his family; HE if of my belif system but the rest of his family typify the material culture, including his young nieces. As a point of ettiquitte I felt bound to bring them a small gift; it will be interesting to see how the books I bought will be received. In this case, I have learned that it is far better for me to put a modicum of energy into buying an appropriate, reasonably priced gift that to deal with the personal hurt of having my handmade offering -- with far more energy and attention in it -- shunned.
| Hey, It's All The Same!! ||Dec 20th. at 11:45:20 am EST|
|Jessica Bledsoe (Dayton, OH) ||Age: 23 - Email |
My husband and I "head" a very large group of...people (can't say Wiccans or even Pagans...we have Catholics, Christians, Shamans, and Buddists) who come to our circles (revolve around pagan holidays) and worship whatever or whomever they feel, it's all the same. We celebrate Christmas and Yule rolled up into one. My parents, grandmother (last grandparent alive) and my brother and sister-in-law all know about our faith and whereas they are Christian, they are perfectly ok with what we do. In fact, they come to our big Yule celebration ever year. In turn, my husband and I celebrate Christmas with my family every year. It really is a time to be with family...to share what we have, to give thanks for everything, to give gifts if we have abundance...after all isn't that what both holidays are about in the long run? If we all would put are fists down and look at each and every religion, we would see how very similar a lot of them are.
Blessed Yule! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!
| Depends On Where ||Dec 20th. at 12:24:09 pm EST|
|dragonstar (Indiana) ||Age: 19 - Email |
It really depends on where you go. Friends and aquantances I have no problem with, when they wish me a Merry Christmas, but in the stores and things they need to go a little further to support all beliefs. Anyone you know should be able to express their wishes for the holiday, but it shoulden't be forced on you by any commercial store. There are places I won't even go because it's so bad. The holidays kind of depress me, because I used to be a part of this big thing, but I tend to feel lonley now around this time.
| The Reason..... ||Dec 20th. at 1:13:48 pm EST|
|Qolos (Kansas City MO) ||Age: 26 - Email |
For the most part I'm okay with it all. Every now and then I crack jokes about "Merry Business" but away from the stores family and friends seem to remember what it's all about. I am the only one in my family who is not Catholic but I celebrate with them and as when I'm assaulted by a christian view on things in any other situation I just shrug it off and remember that we're all entitled to our own beliefs; they simply don't understand mine. So I say Merry Xmas when I'm thinking of Yule and everything is fine in my little world.
Except for one thing. One little thing that gets my goat and annoys me to no end. Thus far nobody has said it to me directly so I've never been challenged with how to deal with it interpersonally but I've heard it said to others and I've seen the billboards and it makes me sick. What I am referring to is references to a nativity or a cross or a baby with a halo and the words "The Reason For The Season".
Now I am fine with others having their own religious way but this.... seems to go to far to me. The implication that this holiday originated with their religion in that way..... maybe I'm just anal about history but it gets on my nerves.
I could go on and on now about the real "Reasons for the Season" but it occurs to me I'd be preaching to the choir so I will digress. Glad to share my thoughts though.
| My Opinion.... ||Dec 20th. at 2:46:08 pm EST|
|Nokturnal Temptress (North Carolina) ||Age: 16 - Email |
Well, I usually just say Merry Yule, smile and drop it. Everyone has the right to his or her oppinion. I think that people just want to wish good fortune for others and they do it accordingly to how they believe and worship. No harm comes from wishing happiness to another no matter how it is done. It's just like different languages: it doesn't really matter how you say it, it's what you are saying that really matters to the world. And another thing is that all holidays are about comercialism. I mean, let's face it the world likes to make money no matter what it takes to earn money. But that doesnt mean that's all people think about during the holiday season. So grab a friend tell that you love them and to enjoy their holiday however they wish to do so. Well, i guess that's my two cents for now. Blessed Be Your Journey!
| Why Bother Getting Offended Or Upset About THIS? ||Dec 20th. at 3:45:09 pm EST|
|Randy Morobitto (Pittsburgh, PA) ||Age: 36 - Email - Web|
I have no problem with someone wishing me a Merry Christmas... Why should I, when it seems that MOST religions / belief systems have a holiday at this time of year? Is that baby Jesus or Mithra? It's SYMBOLISM, and can be viewed however one wishes. The Goddess Mother, Mary, Isis, is the same, regardless of the name associated with the characters.
As far as the Christian influence, well, it IS still a primarily Judeo-Christian country, so less should not be unexpected. Rather than getting freaked out about a Nativity Scene, why doesn't someone, or some Pagan group put up a Pagan Yule scene?
Rather than waste all the time and energy in being upset about what they see and hear at this time of year -- PARTICULARLY AS MOST NEO-PAGANS (by whatever name they call themselves) CAME FROM THE JUDEO-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS -- thank your Gods and Goddesses that you CAN do this. There are places in the world where not following the national religion is reason to kill you.
As someone else said in a previous post, when someone wishes you a "Merry Christmas," respond with "Happy Yule."
Wishing y'all a Happy Yule, and may the Brightest Blessings be upon us and our nation!
| I Don't Think Most Christians Even Know What They Believe ||Dec 20th. at 4:20:39 pm EST|
|Laura (Manassas, VA) ||Age: 43 - Email |
I'm offended at times. I have Yule pictures and poems posted in my office and people go "What the heck is that". I do take the time to explain because I think it's important.
My husband and I do what we're comfortable with. This year we're staying home for the 25th as it really has no significance to us, as Pagans. Now the Solstice is important and I've been letting everyone at work know that the Solstice is upon us - then I have to explain what that is also. It strikes me funny that people don't have any clue what the Earth is doing.
We have a tree (fake) in our house and presents under the tree. We went to see The Nutcracker ballet put on by a local dance troop and our local symphony orchestra. We went to one holiday party.
I have to say I was offended to hear (as I did not attend and boy am I glad!) that at our city government holiday luncheon they recited a Christian prayer ONLY. I know you can't do everybody's so I just feel it's better not to pray at all at a government sponsored event. But it seems these days there is WAY TO MUCH Christianity in government anyway and it may not change any time soon. Such is life...
I just decided I wanted to enjoy the entire season this year, sort of live and let live. I've said Merry Christmas to people who I know celebrate that and I've also said Happy Yuletide. I think it's a pretty wonderful time of year - people's attitudes are just better. It's a shame it's only one month per year, but I'll take one rather than zero any day.
So, Happy Yuletide to you all. So mote it be!
| Addendum ||Dec 20th. at 4:24:41 pm EST|
|Laura (Manassas, VA) ||Age: 43 - Email |
Oh sorry, my previous headline read said "I don't even think most Christians know what they believe" and what I meant by that is people don't seem to really be talking about the so-called "birth of Jesus Christ", they're into presents and parties and all the hooplah that goes along with the season. I don't see anybody taking any of the "real meaning of Christmas" to heart. They're partying...well, that's what all the Pagans were doing around the Winter Solstice - partying!
Maybe I'm wrong, but I really don't think they believe in all this Jesus stuff, I think they want presents!
| It's The Presumption ||Dec 20th. at 5:06:40 pm EST|
|watrfae (the suburbs) ||Age: 24 - Email - Web|
I've been pagan for 8 years now, and my husband (atheist) was rasied Jewish. Now we don't mind doing x-mas with the extended family as they are mostly atheists and the celebration is completely secular.
What annoys me is people saying 'happy holidays' when Hannukah has bee over for weeks. The presumption that we all have a tree, go carolling, etc is iritating, and I think more so from seeing it from my husbands stand point. I can't imagine being a child made to sing christian xmas songs (and this wasn't all that long ago) or feeling left out when the teacher askes the class what 'Santa' brought them.
It would be nice to think that xmas is secular..but just read the name. The fact is that yes, we do have a lot of christians in the United States but until I get automatic paid leave for all of my high holy days... I think I have the right to be cranky about it.
| Is Christmas Really About Christ Anymore Anyway? ||Dec 20th. at 5:15:54 pm EST|
|Lyn (Memphis, TN) ||Age: 33 - Email |
I used to feel rather insulted when people would push Christian oriented holidays on me, and I would immediately tell them that I didn't believe the Christian idea of God, or the bible, or Jesus. And yes, the looks I would get and the immediate, "Why?" At first, I felt that I should explain myself, and I would say that I practice the art of Wicca and don't believe in Christianity, and I would proceed to tell them that Christianity was a sham in my eyes. Needlesstosay, I lost a great many friends that way. But now, as I look at the world, I see that Christmas really isn't about Christ anymore anyway. Its about the sales, the profits, the many gifts for children they will play with for a few weeks, tops, and be off to something else. There are a great many parents out there that have lost the very simple reason for the seaon, Love! When did it become a game to see how many gifts you can give and how far into debt can you get? When did people lose sight of Love? No, Christmas doesn't insult me, the lack of care and love in the world, however, does.
May you all be Blessed in the art of Care and Love!!! Blessed Be!!!
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