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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.
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| I Make The Grinch Look Nice... ||Dec 16th. at 11:29:41 am EST|
|Ravenseye, Mafdet-Athtor (Miami, Florida) ||Age: 15 - Email |
I used to love Christmas, but now I can't stand it. I mean, if it was a religious holiday, whatever, I can deal. I'm a tolerant person. Heck, I love nativity sets, I collect them for fun! But Christmas isn't a religious holiday. It's run around to make your front yard look better than the neighboors time. It's buy everything everyone wants then drop a lot of annoying hints so you get stuff too. There's just no real giving. You don't see anybody donating money, giving food to the poor, etc. They just buy stuff for other people and themselves. When people say Merry Christmas, I find it so hypocritical. They're using the name of a supposedly religious holiday to describe all this secular poop. Today in my school meeting, and mind you my school honors all religions, we all had to stand up and sing extremelly Christian hymns. They were nice and I liked to listen. But I didn't like that, because I refused to sing, I was given a detention. If someone says Merry Christmas, I say Merry Yule. At least I'm not running around forgetting the true meeting of my holiday...
| I'm Not Offended ||Dec 16th. at 11:31:24 am EST|
I am not offended by this rush of holidays. I even actually like carols quite a bit. It is hard for me to hold my ground and not sing them before Thanksgiving. I love decorating, I love being with my friends and family, and I love giving gifts. Sure I could do these things year round, but I think I'm still a kid at heart and I have not lost who I was to who I am. I don't always buy gifts, since I'm very creative, and made gifts are fun to give. This year there are no made gifts, though, because I have a very young baby who takes most of my time.
This is the first year I will be celebrating Yule, although I've wanted to celebrate it every year I just didn't know how. We are also going to Christmas dinners at our parents' houses. When some one greets me with a holiday greeting I give it back as they give it to me. If some one says, "Happy Holidays," I say it too, and if some one says "Marry Christmas," then so do I. I believe that this is a time to spread good cheer and not anger. That is just what I think.
| Happy Yule ||Dec 16th. at 11:35:23 am EST|
|Bronwyn (Ellijay, GA) ||Age: 23 - Email |
This will be my first Yule as a Wiccan, but I've always has a problem with x-mas. I grew up in poverty, and all of our presents as children came from the local church and various charity organizations. I remember hating this time of year, because everyone in our small town knew that we were "that poor family who couldn't afford presents" and I hated being pitied.
So I married into a family who was pretty well off (compared to mine, anyway) and x-mas suddenly became a competition. My sisters-in-law have to see who can outspend who, who can buy the most expensive, most extravagant gifts. They used to sit at our family x-mas meal and actually compare receipts! The first few years I tried to keep up with them, but it got to the point where I was so depressed during this time of year that I've decided not to buy gifts anymore. It just isn't worth all the frustration and stress and crap that comes with it.
| Let It Be.... ||Dec 16th. at 11:53:15 am EST|
|Lyric (Virginia) ||Age: 49 - Email |
I have never celebrated a Christmas that had overtly religious overtones. I know those who do, many in my own family. Some have the tradition of reading from the book of Luke. This is very meaningful to them and I listen, then listen to their feelings about the holiday. To do any less would be disrespectful of the people and their beliefs. I do not have to agree or subscribe to the beliefs nor do I have to initiate dialogue whenever I hear them. I am not offended. If one of them tried to argue me into the Christian mindset I would not be offended, there is simply no reason to be. For years I have received some type of cross from a Christian friend. Every year I thank her, wrap it up and put it in a box. This is not offensive. To her, her faith is a joyous thing and as her friend, she sincerely wishes to share that with me. That is love.
I have never subscribed to the "one size fits all" concept of this holiday. No matter what I hear or see on the outside, my celebration and my tradition are still uniquely my own. To use some of the religious symbols of the holiday in my home would be hypocritical. I do not "believe" in them, therefore do not display or use them. The tree is always refered to as "the tree", some presents are wrapped in Santa Clause paper, some in snowflake design, never a religious theme. To me, to use the symbols held in such reverence by some people would be a mockery of their beliefs and that is something I would not knowingly do.
Of course, more mention is made at this time of the year of charity, helping others, peace and love and it is a shame that these feelings don't seem to last much beyond the new year, but anyone can grab the tail of that kite and fly with it...don't worry about what the rest of the world is or isn't doing, just about what you can do to put your beliefs into action year round.
I hope that for all of you, your holiday, however you celebrate is meaningful, spent with those you love and who love you and is a prelude to peace and love to come.
| I'm Not At All Offended ||Dec 16th. at 12:08:08 pm EST|
|Bonnie (Indiana) ||Age: 40 - Email |
I'm not at all offended by the emphasis placed on Christmas. I came into paganism knowing that most people don't regard it as religious anything. So many of the symbols that the Christians use are pagan in origin so I feel like my holiday is more on display than theirs. I love Christmas carols. "Oh Holy Night" is one of my favorites. "It's a Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Carol" are both movie staples in our house. They both teach very good moral lessons and are spiritually uplifting. My daughters are Christian and they celebrate the Solstice with me (never cared for the term "Yule") and I celebrate Christmas with them. This year I will be celebrating during the afternoon with my group with food and ritual and then at home with just my daughters. We'll do a very small ritual and exchange gifts and have cookies and eggnog in front of the fireplace. This is a wonderful time of year and the PC mess just ruins it. We should be spending more time with family and friends and giving to others and not worrying about what's on display at the local courthouse. Do I care that my religion never gets a display? No. I don't have to show it off to prove something to someone else. I know what it is, how I feel and the goodness I get from it. That's all that matters.
| Christmas For Everyone ||Dec 16th. at 12:58:23 pm EST|
|Malinthas (Clark Mills, NY) ||Age: 24 - Email |
I hear a lot of argument about the "reason for the season", but I think it's mostly semantics. Some say Jesus, some say the Solstice, some say pints of oil burning all night. Whatever historical or astrological event you couch it in, the mid-winter celebration is about love for your fellow man. It's a time for giving, for caring, and for loving. It's a time for family, for friends, and for memories. Does the rest really matter? I light altar candles, you light an advent wreath, and she lights a menorah. Go ahead and call it Kwanzaa. Call it whoopdie-doo-mahogany day if you want to... just remember that the message is love, and I'll gladly celebrate at your side. I hate to say it, but maybe "Happy Holidays" got it right.
| About The Holidays ||Dec 16th. at 1:15:09 pm EST|
|Starling (Montreal, Canada) ||Age: 24 - Email |
I am not at all offended by Christmas, or Hanukkah, or call-it-what-ye-will, nor am I offended by hoiday TV programming. In fact, I embrace it and all the different ways to celebrate it that I find around me. I work in an office where there's Muslims, Greek Orthodoxes, Catholics, Protestants, just to name a few, so I usually don't wish people anything but "Happy Holidays" as to not offend anyone. It's generic, and they still know what you mean. And I show respect for my Jehovah's Witness co-worker by just telling her, see you on 'insert name of first day back to work here'.
| More Than Anything Else, I'm Tired Of It. ||Dec 16th. at 1:47:56 pm EST|
|Roguetamlin (Cambridge) ||Age: 30 - Email |
For me Christmas should be for children. And not as a present-arama, but as a joyful happy playful time. It is for friends and family loving each other as our child selves. But like so many others here, what I want is a far cry from what I see.
I see the mall culture of this country subverting any kind of spiritual value, be it Christian or Pagan or whatever, that Christmas might have. It's all about what you buy. Look at the Lexus ads advocating buying a car for your loved one. People are homless, but YOUR loved ones deserve a Lexus.
I love all of the traditional Christmas/Yule stuff, but increasingly the holidays are being co-opted into a corporate money grab. And the thought of buying presents becomes one of supporting this. I'm not crafty at all, so I've been trying to buy hand made goods from small shops or donating money on behalf of others, but I resent what this holiday has become and I am tired of it.
| I Like Christmas, I Hate X-mas. ||Dec 16th. at 2:14:30 pm EST|
|wynnen (Calgary, Canada) ||Age: 22 - Email |
I have to say I liked the religious side of Christmas, I liked being aroudn my family even if my family couldn't reasonably be around itself. I like the religious side of Yule, I like the meaning and the celebrations. I do however hate the fact that the biggest part of it these days is the commercial side. It absolutely amazed me to see X-mas being celebrated in Japan, a completely non-Christian country, and yet with very little difference from here.
It's rather sad to see ANY religous holiday co-opted for monetary gain and devalued so far as to make it a time of depression, sadness and isolation, when what people need most is for it to be a time of community building, of happiness, and of joy. And I don't really care which Holiday is applied here... I've come across people who celebrate Yule like X-mas, and it just makes me think why did you even bother changing the name? Just so you could corrupt another holiday with mass-consumption? I hope not. Part of the reason I decided to actually make a point of celebrating Yule was so I could make it a time to be with people and enjoy their company. I am actually makinga point of not exchanging gifts with people, the most i will really accept and give are cards, because the intention is to remind people that they are dear to you. And what better way than a lovely card with a personal message? I don't really need the gifts, but I like the cards jsut as much as the gifts. and I prefer to give a card, no worries aobut will this satisfy their lust for material gains. Probably not, but then again, maybe that lust isn't a beast that should be fed in the first place.
So on a happier note I wish everyone the best in this holiday season however you choose to celebrate it.
| Not Really ||Dec 16th. at 2:18:09 pm EST|
|Wayne (school) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I think we should let them belive what they want and if some one wishes you a merry christmas say seasons geatings or politly tell them you dont belive the same thing as they do but i think we would be hipocryts if we got pissed about it.
| Joy To The World ||Dec 16th. at 2:29:36 pm EST|
|The Sweeper (OK) ||Age: 48 - Email |
Oh my, I love the Yule season, Winter Solstice, the rebirth of the Sun God.
I love it because it pulls us closer to our Pagan roots, roots that extend back many thousands of years and we are drawn there whether are aware of these roots or not.
The Winter Solstice is a significant time for most cultures, celebrated with similar rites and rituals. Even the world of the anti-Pagan chooses to celebrate the birth of their son of god or in essence the rebirth of there god, at the time of the rebirth of the Sun God.
This time of year belong to everyone, we can choose to assume the worst of those around us, we can take all the Christmas carols as a personal affront, and frown at all who wish us Merry Christmas, or we can assume the best, enjoy the sound of Christmas carols as music not as scripture or propaganda, and except the many greeting of Merry Christmas for the wishes of joy that they are intended to be.
The single fact that gives me the most hope for this time of year is the same fact that causes Christians the most concern; Christmas is becoming less and less about the birth of Christ and more about other things. An example; I saw a movie on the family channel with Kelsy Grammer as Santa and not only was Christ not mentioned, but Mrs. Clause mentioned retiring to Valhalla. Oh My!
This is a Pagan Holiday, don’t hide and let others co-op it for there own purpose, celebrate, enjoy, and if you have the opportunity, talk about what this time of year really means and that many of there personal Christmas rituals predate the birth of Christ.
I want to add Whoopdie-Doo-Mahogany Day to my Calendar is that on the 21st or the 25th?
| PC Should Die, Politeness Should Reign ||Dec 16th. at 2:34:35 pm EST|
|Hrimdis (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) ||Age: 31 - Email |
I'm never offended whether it's a cheery "Happy Holidays", or "Merry Christmas" or whatever. I do think that it's nice when public displays go for a more general theme like Happy Holidays. There, after all, many holidays at this time. But that PC monster that rears it's ugly head, making everyone of any faith go nuts trying to decide what is offensive or not, should be dragged out and shot. PC tends to mess things up royally. It make people afraid of simply being kind to each other, for fear of offending. How messed up is that? I've wished many a soul "Happy Yule" and never once did anyone become upset by it. And I've been wished a "Merry Christmas" and it does not upset me. I take the spirit of the words. Curtesy and politeness are all that is really needed.
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