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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
| Yule/Christmas ||Dec 17th. at 8:31:54 am UTC|
|Allison (USA) ||Age: 41 - Email |
Christmas does not offend me. Why should it? Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, 'Id al-Fitr - none of them offend me either. They are all in some way celebrations of light. I personally don't celebrate "Christmas" since I am not Christian but I have many friecds and workmates who are, so I don't come on as the arrogant Heathen telling them how this and that is wrong with it, I just play along. It's not as if they are insisting I go to church with them or anything, they know I am Heathen and respect that. But I am not afraid at all to adapt to any given situation. And when these people come into my home at the holidays they respect the way I observe Yule and we learn from each other.
| What Offends Me ||Dec 17th. at 9:45:09 am UTC|
|bliss (midwest) ||Age: 34 - Email |
The greed instilled in our children...
The greed i see in the corporations that are more worried about thier bottom line than the state of our world and the condition of our souls...
The sorrow in the faces of those who feel the need to fall into the trap that all gifts must be bought, but don't have the money to spend and still go broke anyway...
The good behavior only shown during the "holiday season" and not during the rest of the year...
The stress put on so many to make the season picture perfect...
Every day should be treated like a holiday, not just certain days of the year. We should all rejoice in the love and the light and the gifts we've been given every day.
| Holiday PC ||Dec 17th. at 11:02:44 am UTC|
|Nikki (Fort Worth/Dallas, TX) ||Age: 25 - Email - Web|
I personnally say Happy Yule to my friends and family.
However, while I am at work I try to be as PC as possible and say Happy Holidays.
My cubicle is decorated (so far) with stocking, stars, lights, angels, carolers, Yule trees, and a little holiday village.
These are all things that make me happy to look at durring the holiday season.
I agree I am very tired of the stores around me moving in the Holiday stuff before Samhain is even over!
I think we out to start a group to stop spreading the Holiday Cheer out before December 1.
| Not Easily Offended ||Dec 17th. at 1:02:25 pm UTC|
|Angela Winterbottom "Anjorraine" (Louisa, Virginia) ||Age: 21 - Email |
The holiday seasons don't offend me it's the people celebrating those holidays that are offensive. When I told my mother I was Pagan she stopped giving me, when my grandmother found out she sent me dozens of Christian books for beginners w/questions and cries uncontrollably every holiday. My inlaws are very old time Baptists. The first time I spent the holidays w/them I felt like Alice in Wonderland (I thought those stuffed mushrooms had some sort of "special" ingredient inside). They don't know my beliefs and are often pressuring us to join in w/their church. We try to be polite but the pressure is applied two-fold around this time of year. I am a firm beliver in "to each their own" but when someone is forcing their beliefs on another person that is when I get uncomfortable. I have found though that if I suck it up, wish everyone a happy holiday, and keep a smile on my face it is easier to live in the shadows.
| Can I Talk About The Music? ||Dec 17th. at 2:53:04 pm UTC|
|ginger (Syracuse, New York) ||Age: 41 - Email |
I love many things about this season and deplore many others, much of which has already been addressed. This will be my first Yule; I am quite new to my path. I was a practising Christian for about 8 years before having the self doubts, questions, yearnings, etc that began change. It would be hypocritical at best for me to pretend offense when wished a Merry Christmas.
But for more than just the last couple of years (rant begins HERE), I have wished I could stopper my ears to the dripping, sappy, overdone XMAS songs in which various artists try to outdo each other in emoting a superficial, media-created form of sentimentality designed to paint a picture of something between Currier & Ives and Eight Is Enough. BLECH!
Music is a big deal to me. I don't foresee myself having any problem with the purely religious components of Christmas. Musically, I prefer the hymns! I get asked to sing more during this season than at any other time, and I do not feel disrespectful at all singing the religious hymns because I still love them regardless of how or whether the messages touch me. I SO much prefer singing "O Come O Come Emmanuel" over "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (which I personally have renamed "Have Yourself a Knobby Little Christmas" because to me it evokes the image of the affluent, "uppercrusty" societal element - sorry, it just does).
I would love to learn some Pagan carols for Yule, even if I'm never asked to perform them. I don't yet know where to find these, but find some I will!
As far as being PC - that's Xmas. What purpose does it serve other than the commercial interests of predatory merchants? If a holiday has its base in religion, then don't strip it of its meaning - let it be religious! Who says you have to adopt the beliefs in order to be respectful? Nonsense!
OK, end rant.
I love snow and evergreens and candles. I love to cook. I love guacamole and chocolate (not together). I love being with my relatives & giving them presents. This year, because it was agreed that no one was to make any pricey purchases for gifts, everyone is getting 3 blocks of charcoal withsome frankincense and myrrh blend to burn on them. No one in my family uses this type of incense, nor do they know of my path change. I like the idea of giving a gift similar to that mentioned in the story of Jesus' birth. So what if my personal celebration will be of a different birth? Most of the recipients are celebrating the birth of Jesus, and those who aren't still like incense.
Have a wonderful Yule, everyone!
Kesair aka Ginger
| No Problem ||Dec 17th. at 3:48:26 pm UTC|
|Amanda (New York) ||Age: 18 - Email |
I don't have a problem with it. My parents and siblings celebrate Christmas. I celebrate Yule on my own, and then have Christmas with my family. I like it that way:) Christmas is for them what Yule is for me.
| What's A Christian-raised JeWitch To Do?! ||Dec 17th. at 6:11:22 pm UTC|
|Melanie (Auburn Hills, MI USA) ||Age: 22 - Email - Web|
I do not mind at all that there is an abundance of Christmas-related subject matter this time of year. That is the time of year that it is. It's true that I dislike much of the music played at stores this season, but that's frankly because I find the songs themselves annoying; there are many Christmas songs which I like very much. (Unfortunately, I work in Retail and the sheer repetition wears on my tolerance....)
What I *do* mind is that celebrations from other traditions at this season are often *ignored or overlooked*. (Chanukah is sometimes an exception, but only because of it's Gregorian proximity to Christmastide, not because of what the Holyday itself is. However, as Chanukah [thankfully] came "earlier" this [Gregorian] year, I'm not nearly as annoyed....)
I do not feel any more or less uncomfortable if wished a "Merry Christmas" than I do whenever any assumption is made. Rather, as with any such case, I correct the person. Regarding "Merry Christmas", I usually tell them that "I am not Christian", or give a more general reminder that not everyone is Christian. It usually takes me a few wishes of "Merry Christmas" to get myself into that frame of mind though, and until that point I'm more likely to say nothing or simply "you too".
I despise Political Correctness. It's a poor solution to erroneous thinking and assumptions. Instead of trying to incorporate a little bit of everything, we should be educating ourselves as to what the individual things mean in their own right. I've heard of Christmas trees decorated with dreidel ornaments and a certain Santa holding a Chanukiah (the Menorah used specifically at Chanukah), for example. I don't feel that the combination of two conceptually un-related Holydays that happen to fall close together on a particular calendar adds to either celebration, but rather detracts from both. It's frankly a shame. The beauty of the individual celebrations is lost when we try to cater to them all at the same time. That is not the answer. I don't like to offend people either, but if they are insecure enough in their faith to be bothered by me celebrating mine in my own way without challenging theirs, then there is nothing I can do to please them. What I can do is learn about their traditions and why the season is important to them. The best way to avoid offending someone's Holyday is to not overlook it, and in a public setting to devote equal time to it. But in its own right as its own Holyday celebration, not because it happens to fall close to the more widely practised Holyday.
As for me, my Yule celebration is still evolving. Many of my traditions are family Christmastide traditions simply because they are traditions for me at this time of year. It doesn't bother me that they have always been celebrated as Christmas traditions specifically because I find that they are completely compatible with my conception of Yule, many Christmas traditions being derived from Pagan practises anyway. But family is a strong tie to the past for me and for my spirituality, so why shouldn't I incorporate them into my religious tradition? To do otherwise would be to ignore too much about who I am and where I came from. What is important about what I do is what it means to *me*, not what it means to other people. In this cold time of year that is Winter, I love the promise of Spring that the Sun's "return" brings. The Sun gives Life-energy to plants, which will grow anew come Spring, and in turn give life to the other creatures that share this Earth with them. And I will celebrate that as I partake in the traditions of my family at this time of year. Yes, they celebrate it as Christmas and I celebrate it as Yule, the Winter Solstice. But we are together as we have been years before. It is a tie to the past and a look towards the future, just as every Sabbat reminds us of the Cycle of the Year.
This time of years is important to many people in different ways. So we celebrate for different reasons, but we celebrate. I will celebrate other Holydays if invited, and I sometimes invite others to celebrate with me. If the person is important to me, then it is important to me when something is important to them. That it is not mine doesn't matter. I want to share in the joys of those I care about. So I will celebrate with my Christian friends and family. (There are no Jewish Holydays that coincide with Christmas or Yule this year, but if it did then I would celebrate with my Jewish friends and loved ones.)
What makes me say "Humbug" this time of year? The repetitive stupid music, for one! But mostly the Catch-22 of it all. We all want to make the season more meaningful and focus less on the commercialism that has developed, and yet if we do just that then we're Scrooges. And so what's a Christian-raised Neo-Pagan with Jewish leanings supposed to do?!
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| Open- Mindedness! ||Dec 17th. at 7:26:33 pm UTC|
|Mary (newport news, Virginia) ||Age: 12 - Email |
i think its all bullshit, I just think people of all religions should just ignore it all if you meet someone of another religion wishes you blessing of their religion take it. they may not like what you believe in but to wish you the blessings of what they strongly believe in is a compiment and must care about you or they dont know their relidgion very well. for the xmas songs which are over played i think they are stupid and geeky, if you happen to be in a store which is playing it sing your ownn song. this is also a time of ignorance and predjudice, stay out of those peoples way to act like that they aint worth your time leave them alonne and try to maintain peace. stay happy or at the least look like it so people dont think you are doing something you arent happy with.
- mary,age 12
| Why Would I Be Offended? ||Dec 17th. at 8:31:22 pm UTC|
|Amber Heathen (Cornelius Oregon) ||Age: 22 - Email |
There's no reason for me to be offended. I really like this time of the year. I like the lights, the trees, the food, the gifts (OH NO! some people are going to think I'm greedy!) I like buying presents for people, and seeing the look on their face when they open it. I also like it when people buy me something really cool or thoughtful. I celebrate Christmas with my family, not the religious aspect of it, but the getting-together-with-your-family-and-having-fun aspect of it. I don't freak out and come up with some flakey, half-assed retort ("But I'm not a Christian you narrow minded bigot!") when someone has *shudder* the nerve to wish me a merry christmas. I thank them and wish them a good one too.
| Bah Humbug, Indeed! ||Dec 18th. at 12:28:36 am UTC|
|Bittersweet (New Jersey, USA) ||Age: 29 - Email - Web|
Yeah, I'm offended by all the Christmas hullabaloo. Considering a *Christian* holy day to be "generic" or "secular" is dangerous. News flash: not everyone is Christian! Even when I was an avowed atheist a few years ago I found the constant barrage of Christmas imagery stifling. As a Pagan I find it disingenuous to make a huge deal out of Yule and not the other Sabbats. Do I put up decorations, buy gifts, and send out cards for Mabon?
I also find it annoying that I have to plan events around this holy day even though I do not celebrate it. The birthday of the Christian savior means the city isn't picking up my garbage? My credit card payment is late because a million people sent Christmas cards? I have to sit in traffic for 45 minutes without even *getting* to the grocery store because there were no parking spaces -- why is this again? Oh yeah, because the birthday of Christ is also the high holy day of Capitalism.
This Yule I will mark the occasion the way I did last year. Unplug all the appliances, turn out all the lights, and sit for a moment in that utter (well, almost utter) silence and darkness. Meditation, prayer, and a few spoken words. Then I'll light a candle and bring back the light. Bread and juice and a blessing ends the rite. No shopping, no over-indulgence, no stress. Goddess Bless to that!
| My Christmas ||Dec 18th. at 12:52:31 am UTC|
|Celestynne (Miami, FL) ||Age: 20 - Email |
Christmas in my family was a time for us to get together and feast on Grandma's lasagna. :) We exchange gifts, and I enjoy the day. Since school is over for a month now, I can actually relax and enjoy spending time with my friends, too. My favorite carols are the ones that convey the spirit of the season ("Let it Snow" and "Winter Wonderland", among others ;) ). When wished Merry Christmas, I smile and reply "Thanks! You, too." I'm a broom-closet solitaire, and so I keep Yule to myself and celebrate the family traditions with my family. It's just a fun time of year, and I figure (like with most things) that it's what you make of it.
I agree with what's been stated before: what makes me nuts this time of the year is the gross commercialism of the season. I have a pet peeve with the Salvation Army on their saying that need knows no season, yet you only see them in December. Working at the Rag Shop in high school, we got our Christmas stuff in June, so by time Christmas actually came I was so used to seeing Christmas stuff the season lost its magic.
Love, Light, Laughter, and Happy Yule!
| No Need To Be Offended By The Spirit Of Christmas ||Dec 18th. at 7:15:56 am UTC|
|phoebe (england/ united kingdom) ||Age: 14 - Email |
it is my view that the original spirit of christmas is nothing to be offended by. what we need to take into account is what it has turned into. hardly any children think of the meaning of chrismas ( christ was born ect.)anymore and just think about themselves. it's i want this and i want that mummy and i want it now! they are more interested in what they get from christmas instead of what christmas really gives them. christmas is about love and compassion for one another and spending quality time with your family. i am wiccan and have been for two years, i celebrate Yule with my mother and then celebrate christmas with my family. if someone says to me "merry christmas" i reply the same too, i don't tend to say merry yule unless they were of a like mind. christmas is not to be offended by, it's what mankind has made it into that people should be disguisted by.
blessed be and have a very merry Yule/Christmas!
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