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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: 20,038,938  

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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 

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.

The Sweeper

For Malinthas
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.

In Frith

Merry Yule! Dec 16th. at 3:36:20 pm EST

Denise (Florida) Age: 25 - Email

I was raised in a Catholic home, with influences of Santeria. I was also exposed to Christianity and Jehovah's Witness and a trickle here and there of other beliefs. I've always seen the holiday as a time of eating and being with the family. I don't think anyone should be offended by a Merry Christmas or Happy Channukah, or whatever. Everyone has their own beliefs, and I truely believe we are overly PC in today's society. SO, the only thing that aggrivates me at this time of year is waiting in line for 30 minutes to buy a gallon of milk or going to the stores to find a t-shirt and the only thing on the racks are sweaters. I LIVE IN SOUTH FLORIDA!!! :) Merry Yule, Happy Channukah, Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Happy Kwanza and anything else I forgot, just remember to love your family and friends and spend time with them this holiday and everyday.

Sometimes Yes, Sometimes No Dec 16th. at 3:53:29 pm EST

Julie (Arizona) Age: 33 - Email

It took a lot for me to get in the "mood" this year, due to a lot of personal issues about spirituality and acceptance.
My husband is an athiest, who was raised in a Methodist home, and never really got "into" Christmas or Solstice until after the kids were born.
As for me, I always marked Solstice with a small candle and a quiet midnight meditation, enjoying the longest night of the year. Since I live in the desert, the sun is a mixed blessing, and having a long night is nice for me.
My inlaws have always been very present oriented on Christmas, so they buy a lot of gifts for everyone, but since my kids have been born, they've gone overboard in my opinion. When we do "do Christmas" at my inlaws, my mother-in-law is always trying to talk me into going to church with her. Sometimes I give in and go, and sometimes I don't. Most of the time I'm so worn down by the Christian messages that I don't really feel like arguing with her. Last year I did argue, and she threw a royal fit! In the entire 10 years I have been married to my husband, his mother has never threw such a hissie fit about my refusal to go to church. She ended up missing church because she hit the sofa with her hand and then insisted that she had to go to the hospital because it was broken (it wasn't).
This year my friend will be taking my kids to a Solstice party (and I am hoping to be able to go too), and afterwards, I really hope we can take the kids for a drive to see the lights, since we all love colored sparkling lights. At home, I'll probably light a candle like always and think quietly.
My children are still babies (1 1/2 and 3) but I am figuring out how to talk to them about Solstice.
Am I offended? Sometimes, I guess. Sometimes, not. I usually just say, "Thank you" when someone says "Merry Christmas" to me.
We are planning to go through the kids toys (when they're visiting) and donate all of them that they don't play with, and I am going to take the babyfood that my daughter didn't eat to the food bank (as I always do when I get a bunch of babyfood).
I would suggest that folks get a bunch of good canned foods, AND babyfood and formula and donate it to the foodbank. Food banks never have enough babyfood or formula. People don't stop to think that they need baby food as much as regular food. I also regularly (not just on holidays) donate any clothes we can't wear to Goodwill or shelters (the fire department has a box in front of it that I leave clothes in).
That's a nice way to 'celebrate' the season.


Tis The Season.. Dec 16th. at 4:55:34 pm EST

MoonOwl (Egypt Lake, USA) Age: 39 - Email be jolly... No, Christmas does not bother me. Christmas music in September bothers me. The mass commercialization of Christmas bugs me. Christmas and I have been at odds since 1975 when I found my mother dead on the 18th of December and my life went into a very dark phase for quite a few years. As time heals all wounds, so did my pain at Christmas. Thou I still get teary when I hear certain Christmas songs.

I have a four year old and I love doing Christmas for her. I lie to her about Santa. It's a right of passage in my family. When she asks me if he's real I tell her yes and that everytime she gives a gift she is Santa too. We have made donations of toys (we do food all year) and she enjoys picking out new things she thinks a little girl her age would like and going thru her toys that are still in good shape to give away. I want her to enjoy the magic of Christmas. I've also told her this is a day to celebrate baby Jesus being born (we're a Christian/Pagan household)

We also celebrate Yule (my wedding anniversary). I take this time to tell her about the Goddess and the rebirth of the Sun God (like she gets it:}) This year we will make peanut butter & seed pinecones for the Cardinals in our backyard and make something (haven't decided yet) for the squirrels and other small critters around our house.

I want her to grow up accepting all religions as legit. paths. No one is better than another and when she is bigger she will choose which sings to her. I think that's the responsible thing to do.

I think PC has gone way too far. All the bickering takes away from what we should all be celebrating, which ever Holiday is yours.

I lived in Mission Viejo in the early '70s' and the town did the Season wonderfully. True, it was only Christian & Jewish (and maybe a little pagan thrown in) but I loved the Manger and the Star of David and the Cross and the huge tree and the decorated street-lights and it was magical My daughter will never see stuff like this if we keep going on the PC path. What happened? There was a time when it all coexisted together and that was wonderful. No one complained. Where I live now, nothing is done by the City. There were flags on street-lights after 9/11 but no trees or candycanes this year (yet) I think our little world is a much cheerier place with all the lights. But that's just me. (having a kid has turned me into a softie)

I'm not offended when someone says "Merry Christmas" to me. I say it right back. It's that religious tolerance kick I'm on. Live & let live. I don't feel the need to declare my beliefs tosomeone I don't know. I say "Happy Holidays" or my favorite "Seasons Greetings" to people I don't know because it is generic yet cheerful. Besides, someone might sue me for assuming their beliefs:} Yes, PC is way out of control!

I will celebrate the Solstice w/my daugher and then privately w/my husband after she retires!

I will celebrate Christmas w/my family. I'm hosting and we will have a great time. In both our families it is about good times w/family & friends. My husbands parents are more religious about Christmas, but they know I am a Pagan and are very accepting of that. It is about getting together with each other and having fun and being thankful for another year. Not who got the best gifts.

Thou my daughter will be upset if Santa doesn't bring her that Rainbow Mermaid doll she really, really, really wants. I think he'll come though. First, he may have to surprise her w/a lump of coal and a letter about making more of an effort in minding Mommy & Daddy, but he know's she's only four and that's a tough age and next year he's sure she'll try much harder. (I wanna see that face!???!???!!) Then we'll find that doll under the tree.. Because sometimes she is a BRAT! The Goddess decided I needed to learn lots about patience! She has quite the sense of humor! I am humbly in Her service. Sometimes it is hard!:}

May the Lady and Lord watch over all of us this "Holiday Season". I wish you and yours a wonderful Yule celebration.

Hmm. Dec 16th. at 5:27:57 pm EST

lilith (lost angeles) Age: 33 - Email

i am not offended by christmas the holiday. i am offended by christmas the big giant commercial. i think this time of year is potentially magical but i have a hard time with it. i dont believe menorahs and christmas trees and nativity scenes should be banned. i dont know why christmas retailing has to start on the first of september, complete with music and red-and-green crap, before halloween or thanksgiving has even had its run. i dont correct people when they say merry christmas but i may say happy soltice in return. the materialism and the incredible amounts of junk clogging everything this time of year is like vast amounts of cholesterol. yesterday night i saw a woman in a cadillac escalade having two employees from a home decor company unloading FIVE shopping carts into her vehicle, and not more than two seconds later a homeless person tottering up the street, hopefully out of the rain by now, but that sums up about half the problems i have with christmas, and my family situation sums up the other half. but is that christmas or is that just an actual bunch of problems that would exist whether the holiday did or not?

i think maybe the problems are just thrown into stark relief at this time of year.

for me halloween is the high point of the year. that is the holiday i take the most seriously. christmas is a lesser and far more stressful holiday. so im trying to strike some kind of balance with these things and find what i know is there that is good in the yule season. it may take me awhile to find it, but i know its out there.

Why Would I Be? Dec 16th. at 5:56:57 pm EST

Noshgard (Dallas) Age: 40 - Email

I love the holiday season. I love the songs. I love the solstice. I love the joy of children and the optimism of a new year. So the songs are all about Christain views - so what. I can sing a song to jesus as well as the next person and still be very comfortable with my relationship between me and the goddess. In fact, is not mary just the christain version of the goddess. Smile, happy yule and share the love.

Yes And No Dec 16th. at 6:35:54 pm EST

Amber-Liriel Dawson (Minnesota) Age: 13 - Email

I don't think that Christmas is a bad thing in itself with the whole have a good time attitude and all. What I don't like is when the Christmas season becomes more like the buying season. Is this really supposed to be about running up a huge credit card bill? I think that the people reading this already know the answer.

I Celebrate Christmas And Yule Together Dec 16th. at 6:40:45 pm EST

WindRaven (USA) Age: 18 - Email - Web

I am not offended by Christmas at all - I actaully celebrate it. Most of my friends and family are Christians and they celebrate Christmas, so I join them in the celebration. I don't want to be left out - LOL! I buy presents, put up a Yule/Christmas tree, and even put up lights. But I do my own celebration of Yule. I hold my own ceremony, follow my own traditions, and celebrate solitarily. But that makes it all the more special, meaningful, and spiritual. It is a very special time and I treasure it.
The only thing I don't like about Christmas is how overpopularized it is. Countless places have only Christmas decorations up, with maybe a menorah scattered in. A local radio station is having a '12 Days of Christmas' song marathon and play nothing but Christmas songs all day for 12 days. They do not play any Hanukkah music, any Yule music, etc...and even then, does it have to be all day? Not to put down the spirit of the holidays at all, because I love them, but it can get to be a bit much.
But in general, I love the Christmas, and it doesn't offend me - it's joyful. But Yule is a very special personal holiday for me, too.

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