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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 19,139,530  

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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 

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!!!

Theres No Reason To Get Upset Dec 20th. at 6:56:32 pm EST

Casey Crandall (Kansas) Age: 15 - Email

My whole family celebrates christmas and naturaly im expected to join in. i really have no problem with it. We should be tolorant of other peoples holidays and traditions if we are to expect them to be tolorant with us. So i join in and have fun and i believe there is nothing wrong with that at all.

What Kind Of A Question Is That? Dec 20th. at 10:19:22 pm EST

Bradhadair0 (LongIsland) Age: 15 - Email

What kind of a question is that? I am only 15 but I have seen enough discrimination to last a life time, and all because of what I believe. Why should we be offened by anothers holiday. Bloody Hell, I think some witches rag on christians too mcuh. No wonder we gort a bad namer. We are all people out to worship the God (and Goddess) in our own way. We shouldn't feel intimidated or pffened by another persons religion. As for all the christmas song, good for them. Some one thought em up and now they are rich. They have a right to listen to it. Freedom of speech people. I say lettem have it. They deserve to be respected just as much as we do...

I Don't Have A Problem With Christmas Dec 20th. at 10:19:54 pm EST

Casey~Elizabeth (North Carolina) Age: 15 - Email

I don't have a problem with people saying 'Merry Christmas' because they are just trying to spread the holiday cheer. If someone says Merry Christmas to me, i just say Merry Christmas back. If i know someone is Christian, i will say 'Merry Christmas' and if i know that someone is Pagan i will say 'Blessed Yule', and if they'rJewish 'Happy Hanukkah, etc...
Most of my family is Christian. So i celebrate Christmas and Yule. but the way i celebrate Christmas is in a secular, family tradition, sort of way. My mom and my grandparents recognize Jesus' birth as their reason for celebrating, but me and my dad(who is an Agnostic) just like spending time with the family, and the giving aspect of the holiday.
I love this time of year(just not the commercialism,but hey, that happens with just about any holiday) because almost everyone seems to be celebrating something, and a lot of people seem to be more caring and loving toward others than they usually are. It's great to see people giving, sharing, and showing good-will toward others(even if, for some, it's only for a small portion of the year).
So i really think that all of the holidays around this time of year are great for whoever celebrates them, as long as they aren't trying to push their holiday and beleifs of anyone else(like the "Jesus is the reason for the season" signs).

Blessed Yule everyone!
Love and Light

Let's Be Thankful They Even Said Something Cheerful! Dec 20th. at 11:41:57 pm EST

Katy J (Madison,WI) Age: 19 - Email

In a world where people are more likely to glare at the sidewalk as they pass, or are so caught up on whether or not the toy store may still have a copy of "Chicken Dance Elmo", I think it really means a lot when they reach out and wish me a merry anything. If they make it this far out of the cocoon who am I to shun their lack of political correctness. So I wish them a "Happy Holidays", nice and ambiguous. Tolerance goes both ways and most people are just trying to be friendly, so I figure they deserve some friendliness in return. I like this time of the year because it forces, those of the colder climates to deal with each other more often. It's also nice to get gifts for people just because. It lets you reevaluate how well you know someone and inspires random acts of kindness. Besides, it strengthens the economy. I don't agree with the way it's been commercialized and the competition forced on parents to get the best gift. I always thought it was nice just getting something that assured me my parents really remembered me, even if that was a Barbie playset, but I always liked unique gifts like the stuffed handmade doll my grandma gave me. Her name was Ella and I can't remember anything else I got that Christmas. (My parents are Catholic)
I'm looking forward to spending this Christmas with my extended Catholic family, and yes Mass will make me slightly uncomfortable, but each time I go its less so. I realized its not the religion that inspires the fear, rather some of the people. Anyway I love Christmas carols, me and my grandma will be belting them in the first pew. See you there with your pentagrams on!! Merry Solstice and a Happy Yule to y'all.

Okay... Dec 21st. at 12:03:17 am EST

Phil (West Virginia) Age: 16 - Email

I'm a Christian, and quite frankly, Christmas offends me in a way. I cannot remember the last time I celebrated it for the "Birth of Christ". The way I see it, it has become a horribly commercialized monstrosity, good for only giving gifts and hopefully expressing love. I personally could do without all the carolling, the prayers, the nativity scene that most people want to know what its supposed to be, and the other things that can go wrong.

Christmas in the United States has become a holiday of money and greed. Money...the driving force. I admit it is still a nice time to be with family and friends, but what is the use of doing anything else? I mean come on, because a principal in a local elementary school didn't want to recognize Hannukah he banned even the mention of the word Christmas. Instead of a Christmas Party, it was a "Holiday Party".

Anyhow, even as a Christian, I tend to think of this season more being about Yule than Christmas. After all, it came before Christ's birth. I guess now that it's crossed midnight and become Saturday I wish you a Merry Yule.

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