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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
| Tis The Season ||Dec 15th. at 9:20:12 pm EST|
|Jen (Reading PA) ||Age: 29 - Email |
The holiday season is definately too commercialized. I find it interesting that since we started celebrating Yule two yeas ago my daughter has asked only for two gifts for the holidays, food to donate to the animal shelter, and toys to donate to the needy children. My immediate family celebrates Yule, and both of our families celebrate Christmas. The only thing that people say to me that offends me, is "I'm going to pray for you to find your way back to [the Christain] God". I just let it go, but I'd really like to say "I'm going to pray for you to have a more open mind".
Merry Yule To You All & May All Blessed Be!
| Surreal ||Dec 15th. at 11:31:59 pm EST|
|Rose (DFW Texas) ||Age: 34 - Email |
Having grown up in the Christian faith, I was bothered by the references to Christ in my early pagan life. I felt they were trying to cram their religion down my throat. But after 8 years, I'm realizing that a change has come over me. I realized it the last time I went to my mother's church with her. Christianity to me now is like a fairytale. I don't feel threatened by it. It just seems like children's stories, and these poor blind souls have nothing else to believe in. So when I hear the Christmas songs, to me it's no different than hearing a story about Hansel and Gretel. Disturbing, but harmless, maybe even interesting. And the majority of the Christmas songs are about the birth of a new baby and a mother's love, and what is more pagan than that?
| A Spiritual Season Turned Secular ||Dec 16th. at 12:07:03 am EST|
|Lady Macbeth (Rice Lake, Wisconsin) ||Age: 22 - Email |
Personally, the thing that irritates me the most about the holiday season ISN'T the "Christian" aspect of it. To me, it's the "faith wins out in the end and makes everyone happy" propaganda that's pushed in the media. IF such messages were true, would good, hard-working people like my parents be barely scraping a living and own next to nothing? But, that's life in general I suppose.
As a pagan, I feel nothing "uncomfortable" about Christmas. Their holiday is theirs to celebrate. Those who don't object to my celebration of the Solstice don't receive any objections from me about their celebrating Christmas.
When it comes down to brass tacks, the entire holiday season has become very secularized. It's all about "how much can you spend" and "what do you get" instead of any kind of spiritual relationship. I think Christmas suffers this worse than the Solstice/Yule, simply because of the more widespread recognition and the association with "gifts". I think far too many "good Christians" have forgotten the origins of the holiday in "Christ's Mass", but again, that's a subject more far reaching than just the holiday season.
To me, the season is about winding up the year, spending time with loved ones, and refining/retuning my own spirituality. I'll be spending the holidays with my parents and brothers. I'll also celebrate Christmas with my husband's family - opening gifts and ooohing over who got what as they do every year. -_-; Our two families won't be in any kind of "get together" because they don't really understand each other. My family relies on family and togetherness during the holidays, and my husband's spends a great deal of time on the trappings and hub-bub of the season, worrying over gifts and dinners and who gets what from whom. It's a give and take situation for me. While I hold my own beliefs, I also compromise for the sake of my marriage and participate in his family's way of celebrating as well.
I love the magic and bits of spirituality that still manage to peep through during the season, but things like the constant fighting and the destruction of the remaining holy cities in the mid-east due to gunfire and bombings, the gross commercialism, preachiness about the poor and weak winning in the end when people with money squash the little guy each day - those things make me want to say "Bah, Humbug!" to the whole works and just sleep in for the whole month of December.
| The Reason For The Season ||Dec 16th. at 12:28:30 am EST|
|Anne R Naugler (Nashua, NH) ||Age: 29 - Email |
What offends me about the Christmas season is the Christian saying "Jesus is the reason for the season." This statement, to me, shows extreme ignorance of both human history and other faiths. Jesus may be the reason that the season is commonly called Christmas ("Christ's Mass"), but humans were holding festivals and celebrations at the time of the Winter Solstice for thousands of years before the birth of Jesus. The Roman Saturnalia, the Jewish Hanukkah, and the Pagan Yule (to name just a few) had alredy existed for centuries when Jesus was born. And the Ancient Egyptians held a festival for Isis (the name of which I cannot remember) at the time of the Winter Soltice 3000 years before Jesus! So don't tell me that "Jesus is the reason for the season." If you think about it, Jesus is the new kid on the winter holiday block!
As for terminology, I try to say "Holiday" instead of "Christmas" not because of my own beliefs, but because I work retail. No matter how I feel about PC (I personally think it's gotten way out of control), the company I work for believes in diversity and wants its employees to use the term "Holiday" in order to be all-inclusive. In my personal life, I still tend to say "Christmas" because that's what I was brought up with. I still celebrate with my family and friends, although I've downsized on the gift-giving over the past few years. I tend to make most gifts now instead of buying them, although I will buy at least a few things for my closest family members and friends. My family is primarily Catholic, although very few of them actually go to church regularly. For me, Christmas has lost most of it's religious meaning, and I look upon it as a time to celebrate life, love, and family.
| Middle Path ||Dec 16th. at 12:54:09 am EST|
|Wolf's Voice (Singapore) ||Age: 27 - Email |
I call myself a 'ChristoPagan' (ugh, labels!) for the sake of identification/categorization. For me, Christmas is simply the birth of Christ *and* the celebration of family. I see it in the Mother and the Child. I see it in my family when we all get together and celebrate. It's simply family and that's it. I don't care whether it is either Christianity or Paganism or other sorts of 'isms'. Cut it down to the bare bones - we are celebrating a miracle (or is it a Mystery? :) ) of Life. Christmas right now - the *commercialized* Christmas, btw - is too glitzy. But I am just back-to-basics.
| Doesn't Matter To Me What You Call It... ||Dec 16th. at 2:04:29 am EST|
|Brian (Mission Viejo, California) ||Age: 42 - Email |
To me it's still Solstice. When I left Christianity I had a great deal of bitterness, but that's pretty much gone now. I don't cringe when I hear the name Jesus (I'm a witch, not a vampire :)), so if people wish me a merry Christmas I just say "Thank you, the same to you." I prefer to say "happy holidays" myself, especially if I don't know that the person I'm talking to is a Christian, but since I don't believe in wearing my religion on my sleeve (or around my neck), it's OK if people mistakenlyassume that Xmas is my winter holiday of choice.
| A Holiday In Retail ||Dec 16th. at 2:19:51 am EST|
|Titania T. Moonfoster (Reedsburg Wisconsin) ||Age: 20 - Email |
heres a poem about my feelings for the holiday season... :>
Now I lay me down to sleep
to catch some winks so my sanity I keep
hoping that my boss won't mind
(although I doubt it, he's been institutionalized)
It's Christmas time in our humble store
time for lights, trees, and wreaths for the door
supposedly a time for cheer, but not for me and mine
we have customers that moan, complain, and whine
I want this! I need that! Why don't you have my size?
I was first! Where am I? Hey, did I win a prize?
The lights, the noise, the darned X-mas tunes
all are tools to cause massive swoons
Customers care not where they leave their crap
Whilst we get to clean, finding bras by the gift wrap
Spooky stuff happens when nuts dissapear
only to show up inside a jar of dill spears
X-mas time is here, ringing true all old sayings
causing all to gain religion and bringing on mass praying
"Please Gods, make it end. I promise next year I'll try to fail
in giving proof to 'I know there's a Hades, I work in retail.'"
For me the holiday is WAY to materialistic and over commercialized. in my store we've been playing holiday music since thanksgiving, with the only exception being packer games. i think i might snap this year, i don't know. but anyhoo, I will be gathering with my "Christian" family and celebrating with food, drink, football, music (shudder), and the yearly arguments (all for fun :>). they don't shove their values down my throat and let the season be about family and of course the huge german banquet, with enough food to feed us til may.
happy holidays & BB,
| Offended? ||Dec 16th. at 2:35:40 am EST|
|squib (oregon) ||Age: 32 - Email |
hardly. yeah the music gets irritating, but only because i've had to hear it since November 1st. If someone says merry christmas, fine. I'm sure i can think of more hefty things to get offended by. And, yes, i do think PC is completely out of control.
| Scaling Down ||Dec 16th. at 4:25:58 am EST|
|Moon (New York) ||Age: 41 - Email |
I am not really offened by Xmas. I just wish it was a time for all to celebrate how they wish and not have to hide their beliefs. What does offend me is the commercialism of it all. I cannot afford to spend tons of money on gifts and I find it depressing to have to struggle through this time of year with a 14 yr old who wants everything he sees and won't get most of it. I am scaling down this year on everything..cards, gifts, decorations and the like. I just don't have the time or the money to do all I used to do. As for the PC, yes, I think it has gotten way out of hand and I am sick of hearing it. Seems the more we preach PC, the less of it we see. We all ought to just shut up and listen to our hearts and hear what this time of year means for ourselves and tend to our own business of celebrating in our chosen way. It is supposed to be a spiritual season and it is nothing but ugly how most people behave this time of year. Let it go for a change. It is getting old. I for one will celebrate on my own terms. I will do the Xmas thing with the family like always but I will have my own private celebration to acknowledge what this time of year means to me personally. Merry Yule to all and blessings in abundance.
| Help! ||Dec 16th. at 4:52:15 am EST|
|Araelus Stormwolf (England) ||Age: 32 - Email |
Please help me, I'm drowning in a sea of Tacky xmas lights and tinsel, I'm a Pagan, an Eclectic Witch no less. So why do I fear this time of year. A time of year when an overstuffed bloke dressed in the colours of the COCA COLA Co. Walks among us, A time when so many people seem to be high on something. They buy gifts for people they don't like, and worse still in many cases can't afford. At this time of year, people who know me wonder what I'll be doing. So I tell them that I'll be celebrating Yule. What they ask. So I start to tell them that their Xmas is a Dickensian myth, a little bit Victorian window dressing on a number of Pagan myths, stories, practises and beliefs. Tell them why the wreath is Pagan, tell them of their Holly and Ivy, and their other meanings. Tell them of the return of the Sun to the land of men. It's all become too comercial, come the cry of the Pagan masses. So instead of spending money on expesive gifts, give your Goodwill out in good mesure. Wish someone the greetings of the season, remember family past and present. Try to endure the bad TV. specials with good humour, live in peace and harmony, where possible, blessed be and Seasons greetings Stormwolf out.
| They Cant Help It. ||Dec 16th. at 5:18:48 am EST|
|Mawn (New Zealand) ||Age: 32 - Email |
Let’s face it most Christians are not thinking people, well at least not about their religion anyway. They believe what they are told and they are told this is the birthday of their god. I have no problem with them celebrating that, but I feel sorry for them. Not because I feel they have anything wrong but because if business did to my holy day what it has done to Christmas id be angry.
In New Zealand it is summer so not only do we have the commercialization but also the ridiculous images of snow when there is none to be had in the whole country. I mean I’m in shorts all day.
I don’t correct people but i do tell them that I don’t celebrate Christmas because I’m not a Christian, a challenging concept for some.
I and my group are quietly getting ready to celebrate Litha, not Yule.
| Deck The Halls! ||Dec 16th. at 8:37:24 am EST|
|Foxfire (Flintstone, GA) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I love Christmas! I really enjoy giving gifts to friends and family. As I've gotten older, my gift list has shrunk, dur to family deaths and kids growing up. I have no problems going a bit wild giving gifts. It is so much fun finding something that I know will make a loved one happy.
I sing the carols with the regular lyrics. They're what I grew up with, and I don't want to let them go. I the past I only said Season's Greetings or Happy Holidays. Today I sound out a hearty Merry Christmas! Just about every thing about Christmas IS pagan. I know that, and it is enough for me.
I'll be spending Yule with my husband and daughter. As we have always done, we'll open a gift or two, and this year celebrate with a small ritual. Christmas Eve; another gift opening. Christmas Day we'll go to my inlaws to open gifts and eat. Should be fun and exhausting.
A bitchin' winter solstice to everyone!
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