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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
| Season Of Light ||Dec 21st. at 4:52:17 pm EST|
|Berry Featherstone (Westtown, NY) ||Age: 46 - Email |
What a delightful time of year -- a time when celebration is universal, regardless of faith!
As a Roman Catholic slowly dancing into Paganism, I currently work in a church. This season, we have been inundated with gifts for people who have no means to celebrate. People are so generous, and they don't even know who will be receiving the presents they offer. They don't care. They simply want to make this time precious for others. I wish people who do not work in charity-based organizations could observe the overflow of good will at this time. I'm all for Christmas if it means that those who are well-off can not only recognize that they are and give thanks for it, but will also go out of their way to help other people. It seems to be the one time of year that some people recognize that we're all connected!
Isn't a season of good will truly a gift -- from God, from the Goddess, from the source of all creation. I don't care what name it's given -- it's a blessing. It's an ackknowledgment of the divinity that lies deep within each of us. Amen!
| But Why? ||Dec 21st. at 7:17:10 pm EST|
|Thomas (Sweden) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I, myself, do not like Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I like the concept of Christmas. I like that there is a day when people try to be generous and kind and so forth... but why must there be such a day? Why can we not instead show generosity, and kindness, and love for each other every day of the year?
Me, I try. I'm not good at being universally loving, but I try. When someone annoys me, or does his best to rile me up, outbursts do happen. But in the end, I always forgive. Usually, I forgive as it happens, and reply with a smile. But why can other people not do that? Why must they always be so cruel to each other, so "cool"?
I think it starts in school. There's Litterature class, and Mathematics, and History, and all that. But what happened to Being Human? What happened to Kindness, and Generosity, and Love? Why can we not have something in school where people are show how they can be good to each other?
Okey, I'm getting off track here. I suppose that if I have to look at the Big Picture, I like Christmas. It seems to me that during Christmas, there is less suffering in the world. Or at least a little more joy and kindness. More love.
| I Am Not Really Offended ||Dec 21st. at 7:29:44 pm EST|
|Stella (Pasadena, CA) ||Age: 24 - Email |
I am not really offended by Christmas. I will be very very glad when we can stop playing the same Christmas CD over and over again at work, but that is probably the worst of it for me. I love it when someone genuinely wishes me a Merry Christmas. For the most part people mean it in a very caring way. I wish them a Merry Christmas right back. No one ever has, but should someone wish me a Happy Hannukah, or Happy Kwanzaa, or Happy Wednesday the 25th of December I would be perfectly delighted.
I always loved christmas as a kid. My parents were not particularly religious, but my mom went out of her way to make Christmas a very magical time for us. It was a bright spot in an otherwise dull and dreary midwest winter. Christmas seems to me, like a lot of holidays, to be a thin veil draped over a very pagan holiday. I just try to ignore the "Jesus is the reason for the Season" people and focus on the pagan aspects of the holiday.
| EHH! ||Dec 21st. at 9:14:10 pm EST|
|Cassie (New York) ||Age: 15 - Email |
Christmas isn't my favorite time of the year. The music drives me crazy. There is just to much of it. The idea of Christmas is nice. The fact people are giving is good. But the children with there greediness drives me crazy too. Also seeing all this Christmas stuff around me and not seeing anything for Yule or even Hannuka is disgraceful. I know that most of the population of America celebrates Christmas but it's still no need for that much of it and not that much more of the other holidays.
And me being the age I am with to younger kids in the house and an entire family who celebrates the holiday makes it worse. Having to get up at 6 in the morning because they have to open presents, that will be there when I wake up at noon, early. And going to church and having to sit there and listen to even more than usual. I dont like church normally it's even worse on holidays.
The entire holiday just drives me up a wall.
| 'tis The Season ||Dec 21st. at 9:46:54 pm EST|
|Lexy (ny) ||Age: 18 - Email |
When ever this time of year rears his ugly head, I always feel the need to crawl in to a corner. I really do not approve of all the christams music on every channel starting the day after thanksgiving and the big "one day only" christmas sales. to most relegions, christmas is all about presents and trees and ugly red flowers...to me, yule is all about being with the people I love and thanking the gods for what they have givin me in the past year. I join in on some christan activites. MOst of my friends are, so it makes it hard not to. I try to follow it all, and I also try not to put any one down, I feel that seeing as how I dont appreciate the critisism, I wont dish it out either.
| Christmas Is Just A Part Of Another Religon ||Dec 22nd. at 12:06:58 am EST|
|Sofia (Australia) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I don't really get offended by people wishing me a 'merry christmas', because not so long ago I did the same, but it is kind of anoying when you walk into a shop and all you hear is christmas carols playing in the background. I think that people can celebrate what they want when they want, but don't make such a big fuss over it because in the end people will loose sight of what they are celebrating.
| Hail The Solar Child ||Dec 22nd. at 12:39:20 am EST|
|Noelle (OH) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I love christmas carols. I attend Christmas Eve candelight service with my family. I love buying presents and spoiling the ones I love with tokesn of affection that last longer than kisses on the cheek or a hug (flannel pyjamas are a hug that keeps on giving!). Without this anchor in the midst of what would be just another mess of snow and bother.
Why get offended at cheerfulness? Sort of spoils the point of teh season, no matter what faith, doesn't it?
| Christmas Trees, For Pagans? ||Dec 22nd. at 12:54:42 am EST|
|desertsoleil (Montréal, Québec) ||Age: 36 - Email |
Merry meet everyone!
OK, maybe it's me, but the onslaught and pure saturation of Christmas and Holiday things drives me crazy. I read what others have to say in this rspect, and people are bringing up some very good points. That said, let's be clear here: although Christians hijacked many of our Yule customs for their holiday (see related links on the Witchvox page expaining the historical significance to Yule), I don't agree with those who happily do the Christmas thing because it brings back memories, etc.....not that there is anything totally wrong with that, and I certainly can understand where they are coming from, I guess that it is not my thing since I have been Pagan (a jewwitch actually) my whole life, and have no particular memories in which to relate. I am a Pagan through and through, and that means no Holiday songs and Christmas carols of candy for me. I mean, we shouldn't forget the millions who were either killed, or forceably converted by Christians for many, many centuries. I say, we Pagans stand up, be proud, and retake our traditions that were stolen from us, and make them ours so that the cheerful Christian holiday revelers recognise that these things (tress, decorations) might LOOK like theirs, but instead, they are distinctly different, and, umm, non-Christian. It sounds a bit rebellious perhaps, but it is time that we Pagans assert ourselves as loud and proud as possible. I don't get offended when others try and share good cheer by wishing me "merry Christmas," as there's really no way for them to know what I believe, but I am quick to point out that there are many, many holidays to celebrate (Yule, Eid, Kwanzaa, Chanukah, etc...), and their should not have a monopoly on this joy, ya know?
| Yes And No ||Dec 22nd. at 2:20:41 am EST|
|jeannette (San Diego) ||Age: 25 - Email |
I do not mean to cop out on this question, but this is a really difficult one to say either yes or no on. On one hand, I am offended when I am wished a Merry Christmas. How dare these people assume that I am Christian. What if I were Jewish? Or Muslim? Or Hindu? even Witnesses don't celebrate Christmas. But I must admit, I also put up a tree this year, for the very first time. Yes, it is rather cliche'-but was'nt it our tradition first? I feel that it is my right as a Witch to put up a tree and help to bring back the sun! To celebrate the Wheel of the year and the change of seasons. My tree is themed in purple and silver to remind me of the magic of the season, and in everyday life-and also to symbolise the return of the sun. I do believe that I can have my cake and eat it too. I see Christmas as a sterilized U.S. holiday. I get together with my family on Christmas, and my pagan friends on Yule. I can have the best of both, by taking the Christ out of Christmas- I have just taken back a holiday that was ours to begin with.
Happy Yule. Merry Christmas. Happy Kwanza. Happy Chanuca. (sorry, I can't spell that)
| Hmmmm...... ||Dec 22nd. at 3:22:30 am EST|
|Jason (Calgary, Alberta) ||Age: 18 - Email - Web|
I cannot say that I am offended when people say "merry christmas", for all that they are doing is extending courtesy. It is however not right for them to accuse me of being catholic, for I have been raised Wiccan since childhood. To be offended by a misconception of another's kindness is not the Wiccan way, and thus I do not hold such tidings against others. I believe that we should try to rectify the christian belief of ownership over the Yule season, for Yule predates 'christmas' by far, and it is a little too convenient how us wiccans were celebrating the birth of the 'sun', while the catholics decided to celebrate the birth of the 'son'. I too despise the catholic church, and believe it to be nothing but a corporate machine... the church offers commercialization in exchange for eternal life in 'the light'... Christmas/Yule is not a time for talk of offense, it is a time of celebration, and of joy, let us keep it this way so as we can enjoy many of happy seasons. So until next time, merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again...
| Am I Offended? ||Dec 22nd. at 7:16:51 am EST|
|clio (York PA) ||Age: 29 - Email |
I have thought long and hard about this question and I think I've finally figured out an answer.
Christmas does offend me because I am a closeted Wiccan (especially since my family is very Christian). I find it difficult to participate in the prayers and the carols but I know I have to. Not being true to myself is offensive to me but in the case of the family I have to accept things as they are.
Do I get offended when a stranger wishes me a Merry Christmas? No. I realize that they don't know that I am Wiccan and I also realize that they are being kind and cheerful. And I wish that right back to them. If I wish holiday happiness, I just use the almost all inclusive "Have a good holiday." That about covers everything.
Actually there is one thing about the season that offends me: Just the fact that Christmas usually appears before Thanksgiving. Now that annoys me and offends me.
Hope everyone had a happy Yule. The moon was absolutely gorgeous last night.
| Politically Correct People Ruining Everyone's Holiday ||Dec 22nd. at 7:27:39 am EST|
|Grey Bear (Rochester, NY) ||Age: 37 - Email |
First off cruise over to www.lonsberry.com and click on "Today's Column", scroll to the bottom and select the article titled "WAR ON CHRISTMAS CLAIMS CASUALTIES". I have no affiliation with this site, but it eloquently describes what happens when mean spirited folks push their small minded agendas.
I have no problem with our schools decorating for Christmas. I enjoy the carols on the radio (for a short while). The lights on the houses, and the classic Christmas cartoons -- all of this is part of my life and history. You can wish me a Merry Christmas, I'll cheerfully respond "Happy Holidays" and leave it at that.
A Jewish friend sends me a Christmas Card every year -- it's the first card I get and I treasure the moment. I work out at the Jewish Community Center and the menorahs and Stars of David add to the look and feel of this quality institution. They never asked if I was Jewish, Christian, Wiccan or any permutation thereof. I am not offended that they have no Christmas trees -- I wouldn't expect one there!
Americans claim to be pushing for diversity. I expect to be exposed to other religions and alternative viewpoints -- otherwise I am insulating myself from reality. The poor woman in the article wants to prevent her child and all the other children in this school district from sharing in the wonderful diversity that is available to us today. Muslim teachings, Pagan tales, Jewish wisdom, and even Christianity's wonderful tale of the birth of Jesus are all means to the end. Full knowledge breaks down barriers, removes suspicion, and if you are a strong believer in your own path it will make you stronger! Our children can do away with prejudice and hatred forever, unless we continue to push for segregation -- Senator Lott is far less dangerous to minorities than this woman in Pittsford. She in insidious, she masks her racism and fear as indignation. She isn't offended, she is scared. Strong Wiccans should not be afraid of Christians, we should embrace the season, party with our Christians friends and neighbors, celebrate Yule with like minded souls, and spend the 25th hiking in the snow communing with the Goddess. Blessed Be!
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