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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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| Sillyness! ||Dec 18th. at 9:47:51 am EST|
|AshMoon (Oregon, Usa) ||Age: 15 - Email |
Kay, what i dont understand about this is there isnt saposed to be faith bashing here right? right! i got that down. now the next thing i dont understand is, i thought wiccans or witches or whatever each indavidual calls themselves, i thought they were open to new things. Like xainaty, or jews. I have NOTHING against the other holidays, and yes, i plan on celebrating them with my family. Im not fully wiccan, i just have wiccan influence, i have xian influence, jewish influence, hell, i have buddhist influence. Im my own religion! so im gonna celebrate each and every holiday i can! why gripe and complaine about other peoples religions/ holidays, when you could be out there, celebrating your own, and having a good time. which is what EVERY holiday this time of year is about.
| Christmas ||Dec 18th. at 9:48:53 am EST|
|Avalon Skye (Hampton, GA) ||Age: 17 - Email |
To me, Christmas is not offensive...my family and I gather around and give gifts to each other every year...just because I've decided a different path won't change things...I'll still celebrate with them...
| Enough Already! ||Dec 18th. at 9:52:18 am EST|
|Kay Warren (Sacramento CA) ||Age: 37 - Email |
I am seriously fed up with Christamas, and Christian holidays. I've been a witch priestess for more that ten years now, and my scrooge level has not diminished. Mind you, I don't have any problem with the idea of "Santa", the spirit of peace, and giving tokens of caring and love to those you're close to. I happily participate in that. The season is a great time to slow down, reflect, and reprioritize. To renew and deepen connections with family and friends. What I object to, is having Christianity shoved down my throat. Stores start the Christmas music as early as Nov 1. By the time the 25th of Dec gets here I'm ready to strangle someone. There is seasonal music that is secular, (jingle bells etc) and I don't mind it so much. "Joy to the world" makes me seethe. Why is it that they are allowed, and often encouraged, to shove their faith down everyone else's throat for a month and a half straight. Across music and airwaves, with no respite, and we are expected to take this with good grace? In many ways the whole PC thing goes too far, but not in this. "Happy Holidays", is fine with me. "Jesus is the reason for the season" is NOT! What disgusts me about Christianity year round... aside from the fact that they have no problem forcing their religious opinions into public law, is the way they hijack popular culture to get their message out. I saw a sticker on a truck about a month ago. Picture a bloody hand with a spike through it, the tag line is.."body piercing saved my life..". You see it in their use, adulteration, and appropriation of corporate and fashion logos perverted to their purspose. The CK (calvin klien) emblem with smaller letters to the side saying "Christ is King", Tommy Hilfiger logo becoming "tommy hellfighter"... the list goes on. If I were the designer, I'd sue. The spirit of peace, I have no problem with, but to have Christians promoting it is hipocrisy of the worst sort. They are the bloodiest religion on the face of the planet, and we pagans forget that all too often. We fall for the candy fluff, we want to believe in the goodness of all people. Indivduals are rarely outright BAD, too often they are merely misguided. Too many Christians don't care enough about their faith to give it a critical examination. They fail to look carefully at what they're actually standing for, yet without doing this they pass judgement on those not in their club as "bad" or "evil". Chistianity is about duality, "us" vs. "them". They will find an excuse to do wahtever they please in "scipture", yet they act as if they have a lock on all that is good. This is a recipe for war and strife, not peace and love. Thanks for letting me rant.
| Yule, Christmas, Etc. ||Dec 18th. at 11:09:52 am EST|
|Vivhianna (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) ||Age: 20 - Email |
Solstice, Yule, Christmas, Santa Claus Day, whatever! =)
I honestly can't think of any reason whatsoever to let Christmas irritate or offend me, or even
make me uncomfortable. It's always been a happy time of year for me. I get to see relatives who I
haven't seen in awhile (several of them live out-of-province), and besides, there's my choir's
annual Christmas concert, which is always one of the highlights of my year. Though most of the
repertoire is Christian-themed, I don't mind. I used to see the Divine in the same way that
they do, after all, having been raised Roman Catholic; it was my choice to change, so why should I
be offended by the traditions of the religion I used to be a part of?
I do have a bone to pick with those who have taken political correctness to such an absurd level,
though. You can't please everyone. And no matter what you do, somebody is bound to be offended.
That's all I have to say.
As for how I will celebrate, well, on the 21st I will go outside and hold a quiet little ritual of
my own in private, the same as I do every year. I'll spend the 24th and 25th with my family, and
we'll do the same things we always have--the special breakfast, the tree, the gifts, the visiting,
and all that. This sort of thing may not be for everyone, but it works well enough for me.
Happy Holidays, however you choose to call them.
| Christmas Is Fine ||Dec 18th. at 12:01:43 pm EST|
|Castalia (Central Ontario) ||Age: 39 - Email |
Of course I am not offended by Christmas. The intent of Christmas is well-wishing. I am a citizen of a country, Canada, where Christmas is recognized as a popular social time. The religious aspercts are very pretty.
As a witch, my gods want me to be not only tolerant of non-pagan things, but to enjoy them
! All acts of eggnog are my rituals, or something like that.
| Thank The Goddess And Pass The Gravy! ||Dec 18th. at 12:35:30 pm EST|
|Saille (Missouri) ||Age: 26 - Email |
I sometimes do cringe internally when someone wishes me merry Christmas, but I always grin and say "thanks, you too." The other day a co-worker of mine absentmindedly belted out a "merry Christmas" to a man in a t-shirt emblazoned with a Star of David and wearing a skullcap. I watched him cringe the same way I always do, then he grinned and said, "thanks, you too." I gave him my best sympathetic smile.
We're not the only ones barraged by unwanted Christmas cheer.
On the flip side of that, on Yule I'll light a candle and spend some time outside alone in quiet celebration, then on Christmas day I'll open presents and sit down to Christmas dinner. As the rest of my husband's family says their prayer to Christ, I'll thank the Lord and Lady, tip my hat to Jesus, and dig in for some turkey.
Happy holidays, everybody, whatever those holidays may be.
| Tis The Season? ||Dec 18th. at 12:40:05 pm EST|
|Laura (California) ||Age: 56 - Email |
i object to the commericalism. buy, buy, buy is overdone. some of the music is fine, of course too much of anything is not good.
general, we use this as a time to say our 'thank yous' to many as we prepare for Full Moon and Winter Solistis.
| Just Move On ||Dec 18th. at 12:57:31 pm EST|
|Haze Wing (Maryland (The USA)) ||Age: 16 - Email |
My mothers side of the family is Christan and my fathers side is Jewish. Out of respect i celebrate (or rather, come downstairs and watch) Chanuckah with my family. I am fine with this but sometimes my (Jewish) Grandmother will try to make me read prayers in Hebrew, that makes me uncomfortable, so I refuse. At Christmas, I pretty much do the Chanukah thing. The indoor tree and electric lights bother me because I dont feel that they keep with tradition. I celebrate yule with my friends rather than family. We choose the tallest pine we can and decorate it with candles and the like. We then celebrate yule normally. For me, the Yuletide season will not be spoiled by others wishes and I have learned just to move on.
Merry Yule (in 3 days!!)
| AStefalumpy ||Dec 18th. at 1:04:59 pm EST|
|Stef (AOL) ||Age: 17 - Email |
Look Christmas is about peace between all cultures pagan and wiican and christian etc alike
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| Peace On Earth... ||Dec 18th. at 1:39:20 pm EST|
|RuneWolf (Reston, VA) ||Age: 44 - Email - Web|
I grew up in a strange era – the Pledge of Allegiance was said every morning in school, and nobody quibbled over “one nation under God.” At the same time, our young teachers were very enthusiastic about teaching us the true (Pagan) origins of many of the Christmas traditions. So very early on I had the sense that we Christians – I grew up Christian – were only celebrating “our version” of Christmas, and that there were other, different, sometimes older “versions” out there.
Later I learned of Chanukah and Kwanzaa and the deeper Pagan origins of our yearly celebrations, and it all seemed to fit nicely together.
I think that Christmas and the Christmas season are separate, the former being a celebration unique to Christianity, and the latter being a cultural/national holiday that has evolved there from. I know stone-cold atheist materialists that will still wish you a hearty “Merry Christmas!” and mean it, in the purely secular sense. A few of my Jewish friends don’t even bother to respond with “Happy Chanukah!” or some such. It is as if the secular holiday is now presumed above the religious.
I greet my Pagan friends with “Merry Yule!,” my Christian friends with “Merry Christmas!” and everyone else with “Seasons Greetings!” or “Happy Holidays!” When, that is, I am paying attention. When I’m not, everyone gets a plain old “Merry Christmas,” regardless of his or her faith. Its what I grew up with, and I have a lot of other re-programming to do on myself that takes priority over that!
My wife is Christian, so we celebrate both Yule and Christmas, and I never let her forget that Yule comes first on the calendar! We exchange token gifts on Yule, and then go full-bore on Christmas day. With my Pagan friends, I exchange gifts on Yule, do a group ritual or two, and then have a private celebration on my own, with just me, the Goddess and the God.
My feelings at Yule are a mixture of the Christian influence of my youth and the Pagan orientation of my present life. I think we desperately need a time each year when “peace on Earth, good will toward (All)” is the dominant theme. In fact, we need it every day. But if once a year is all we can muster, that will have to do for now. And even as a Pagan I don’t have a problem celebrating the birth of a man whose message was Love. I love autumn, but I am no fan of winter, so I look forward to Yule to mark the return of the Sun on the Wheel of the Year. In practical terms, it tells me that spring will come, in its own time. Metaphorically, the yearly return of the Sun is like the return of love and hope when we think it has left for good. It tells me that there will be “dark” times in my life, times of cold and dearth, but that these will pass as surely as Samhain passes, and the light of hope and love will return.
Merry Yule To All!
| I Love Christmas ||Dec 18th. at 2:01:26 pm EST|
|C A Tyron (Los Angeles, CA) ||Age: 36 - Email |
Christmas is about the power of love against the dying of the light. As a Pagan I will celebrate at the drop of a hat.I grew up with Christmas and the carols are a part of me now. Having been the child of basically atheistic parents I guess I don't have the strong angst that some folks have and the persecution issues. A beautiful song is a beautiful song, whether it is about Jesus or Santa Claus. We celebrate Yuletide and Christmas at our house.
I don't feel it is my place to define a Pagan creed but I do think it stands in marked contrast to the typical intolerance of Christianity. It is the Christians that are so worried about their purity and pedigree and keeping out untorward influences. To me, the Witches' life is all about a real relationship with ones environment-you know,like "What Would Earth Mother Do?" I believe She would continue to sustain us and judge not. Pagans are warriors but they are lovers first.
| Not At All ||Dec 18th. at 2:32:21 pm EST|
|GoddessofJava (Vermont) ||Age: 34 - Email - Web|
I mean, really...
Barring the Creche and the name, all the trimmings, trappings and customs of the holiday are as pagan as can be. Rebirth of the God, Mistletoe, feasting, gifts, candlights.
What the hey? A rose by any other name.
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