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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: 19,700,349  

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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 

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.

I Don't Have The Joy Of Saying 'merry Yule' Dec 16th. at 6:45:16 pm EST

brad (San Diego) Age: 19 - Email

with growing up in a christian home and such some phrases for me get engraved into my mind. im so used to saying 'merry christmas' that it hurts because i know in my heart i've changed. i would be so elated for someone to go through the grocery store and after im done bagging their groceries to hear them say 'merry yule'.
and about the whole buying thing. i try to keep it simple (this is the first year im buying) by only getting presents for the people that i recognized for helping me throughout the year. as for my girlfriend im going to get her a "booby" gift and keep the "witchy" gift in my car (her parents dont know about her being a witch as well as my parents and are against the idea). its all about protection to us

Nope, I'm A "some Yuletide Cheer Person" Dec 16th. at 7:07:51 pm EST

Rowan (MD) Age: 14 - Email

Personally,I perfer to say Blessed Yule, and smile sweetly because it's fun. Unfortunately ths jerk behind me in line while I was buying Yule gifts for my friends was very Rude. He came right up got in my face and said, "Merry Christmas!" Very Loudly, I smiled nicely and said "Blessed Yule." He wouldn't let me pass and said "merry Christmas" Louder so I said back "blessed Yule" and he wouldn't let me leave. One of my male friends and a store manager had to get him to leave me alone before he let me pass to leave the store. It was rather disconcerting, but other than that, I enjoy celebrating both religions holidays, Santa Claus has his roots in paganism, from our beloved oak king and his wonderous gifts upon return, alas we mourn the jolly Holly king's passing, but he shall be back soon enough. Both Yule and Christmas are very similar so I don't mind eitheir... However I HATE christmas music, I Hate it... errr it just irks me soo much My school bus has the radio constantly on the christmas music station... which has been playing since November! One of the girls I sit next to in french class has her own pet peeve... people who talk about what they want for christmas in October... Sadly, some holidays are being lost to greed, and afluence... someone needs to show some people the joy of a giftless christmas or a giftless yule (which I've heard from a few grown pagan parents).. but alas I don't think i have much else to say.

Bightest blessings and May The Yule-tide bring you all much cheer,

The Season Is What You Make It ! Dec 16th. at 7:20:31 pm EST

ContraryCrow (Madison,WI.) Age: 33 - Email

Every pagan holiday has a meaning and ways to experience that meaning. How you celebrate Yule depends on how your tradition and you personally perceive this holiday. If you wish to celebrate Yule, then do it and do not worry what others are celebrating. Happy Yule to all!

I'm Not Offended Dec 16th. at 7:43:11 pm EST

Kat (Va.) Age: 33 - Email

I am not offended by Christmas at all. I have too many good memories with my family celebrating this time of year. I am sort of new to Paganism and Wicca (I have been studing going on 3yrs), so just dropping one religeous holiday for another is not that simple. I enjoy celebrating the holidays but I try to do it with an open mind. Since most of my family, including my husband, are Christians I do plan to celebrate the holidays with them. I do that voluntarily and I because of their views I would not ask them to celebrate Yule with me. With some of them that would start world war three.

Happy Yule

I Love Christmas AND Winter Solstice Dec 16th. at 8:01:48 pm EST

Connie (Los Angeles) Age: 40 - Email

I grew up Christian and I have many fond childhood memories of the Christmas Holiday. I am no more offended by Christmas than I am by Chanuka, Ramadan,Kwanzaa or any other December/Winter Holiday.

The simple fact is, most of my family and friends are Christian and I enjoy spending the time with them; singing carols, feasting, giving gifts, the whole works.

Christmas/Winter Solstice is about the return of hope to a dark world. What difference does it make which God's birth you are celebrating. As a Jewish friend of mine puts it, "Same bread, different wrapper".

Happy Solstice & Merry Christmas

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