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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
| It's The Presumption ||Dec 20th. at 5:06:40 pm UTC|
|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 UTC|
|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 UTC|
|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 UTC|
|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 UTC|
|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 UTC|
|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 UTC|
|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.
| I Like It ||Dec 21st. at 1:22:19 am UTC|
|Mothrae (Pennsy USA) ||Age: 38 - Email |
I guess I could go into the blatant commercialization and the dreaded consumer wars in the KMart, I could complain about the alleged holiday shows showing absurd ideas of what the holidays are about (some clown saving Christmas, for instance), and I could moan and groan ad nauseum.
But I won't. I love this time of year. I love that some (not all) of the people actually smile. Someone wishes me a Merry Christmas or a Merry Meeting, it's okay either way. I love the riots of lights and the intense decorations on the houses. I even like the holiday music on the radio.
I refuse to do the mall thing. Things I give are from me, not from some commercial enterprise.
So many different versions of faith coming together. I like seeing the Santa, the Nativity, and the Menorah side-by-side in the park.
I am comfortable being what I am. And I enjoy the season. Celebrate as you see fit, and have a great time.
Blessed Solstice and Rebirth to you all!
"We heard Santa yell as he turend toward the sea, Brightest Blessings to all, and to all Blessed Be!"
Blessings to all...Moth
| It's A Family Thing ||Dec 21st. at 3:30:01 am UTC|
|Jessi (In a house) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I was raised in a Christian/Catholic/Jewish family, and while I think it's funny to see people running around malls like a bunch of rats in a maze, and even a bit offensive that most of them think they have to buy the biggest and most expencive gifts in order to show their love, I still feel it is a wonderful time of year. It's my opinion that this holiday, comercialized as it is, still revolves around the children. Personally I look for any excuse to give presents to the people I love. Even though I am not Christain, I still say Merry Christmas to those who follow that religion. It seems rude and disrespectful to me to correct them. I wouldn't want my children to grow up thinking it's okay to tell someone their religion is wrong, or make them uncomfortable by saying 'sorry, I'd rather you say Merry Yule'. My sister likes to correct people, and I have seen them respond with everything from anger to tears, to a casual shrug. To me it just seems kind of pointless.
This year I think we are doing the Christian thing,every few years we get together and make gifts for each other. I think this year it's candles and soap for the adults and sewing for the older children. That's what I love about this time of year, my family gets together, we laugh, talk and love, our religions don't even enter into it.
| PC Is What Bugs Me. ||Dec 21st. at 8:04:29 am UTC|
|Dracor (Tacoma, Wa, USA) ||Age: 19 - Email |
Yes, this season has become a commercial thing, more about money than anything else, but I really don't care that much. You see, for me, it is something else. I don't care if for everyone else in the world, it means listening to songs with the word Jesus in every other line and scrambling in lines at the mall to buy the biggest thing you can't afford and hoping others do the same for you. For me, it means taking a little time to be with family and friends and appreciate that I have any.
As for the Politically Correct thing... Ugh! First, people need to stop worrying about offending everyone. Second, people need to stop getting offended by every little thing! I don't even get that offended when someone says "Jesus Loves you!" I just smile and say "Well, that's always good to know." PC is boring. Life needs a little Political incorrectness. Why else would it be so much more fun, or funnier?
And do me a favor, NEVER tell a child there is no Santa Claus. That is a lie that can forever destroy their ability to believe in magick. Remember, Santa is real to millions of children. If they believe in their hearts that he is real, who are you to kill that in them? I may not believe there is a fat man in a red suit who's going to come down my chimney, but if my three year old cousin believes in him, then he's real enough for me.
| Perspective ||Dec 21st. at 10:00:05 am UTC|
|willow (Ontario Canada) ||Age: 40 - Email |
As most I was raised in a Roman Catholic Home, went to Roman Catholic school, and NEVER felt that I fit in or was at peace. Christmas to me as a child did not hold the majic that it should have, my parents had me quite late in life and there was a 7 year age gap between my brother and I (he being older). My memories of childhood christmas in part is of getting gifts of toys and games that require 2 or more players, and having no one to play with on that day; of having to wait until 2pm til my brother dragged his sorry hung-over butt out of bed to open the gifts.. what DID make me all warm and fuzzy inside was the gathering of family... the big decadent meals that were filled with foods we only prepared at that time of year and the sounds of laughter. The smells of tourtiere cooking, the sweets that we NEVER had any other time of year, the sound of the doorbell ringing as yet more cousins, aunts, uncles arrived. I would sit quietly and just watch them all, see their faces, hear the joy in their voices, and see my mom looking truly happy. THAT was priceless to me. THAT is what Christmas was for me. And now, I still keep some of the traditions for the sake of my children. We've had some difficult years so my children are well aware that the holiday is not about material things, but an opportunity to be together and be thankful that we are healthy and have one another. Celebrating Yule and Solstice make far greater sense to me and have given me that peace sense of belonging i so yearned for as a child.
If someone wishes me Merry Christmas, i'll wish it right back. Same as Hanukkha, or any other holiday. I am still mindful of the discomfort of others around what i believe and celebrate and will take the opportunity to inform and educate when it's presented. I will NOT ram my beliefs down anyone's throat any more than i expect theirs to be rammed down mine. There is no place at this time of year for taking offence, or dishing it out. As someone else already said, there are places in this time and planet where we would be killed for not following the doctrins of the polititians. We are truly blessed for our freedom to celebrate our Diversity.
Blessed Holiday Wishes
| Christmas,Yule, Hanukah, Kwanza ||Dec 21st. at 10:21:01 am UTC|
|kelly (ontario canada) ||Age: 31 - Email |
All individuals express and share these occasions in different ways. I consider myself wiccan and therefore am a person who is accepting of all things, i do not judge as it is not my right. When wished a merry Christmas I usually just reply with Seasons Warmest to you. This way whatever the occasion people know that warm wishes for their happiness is sent their way from me. I do feel that PC has gotten a little over the top. I think too many people are too concerned about offending people they are afraid to make friends. My opinion may not be shared by others and that is ok too. I try to be an open person i do not judge as i will too be judged by others and i want to be able to give them nothing but good things to say. Thanks for the opportunity to state this.
Seasons Warmest Love n Light to all
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