The ‘War on Christmas’

There’s been quite a bit of news regarding Christmas trees, holiday parades and what Mainers display in recent weeks. Some say that there is a war on Christmas, saying that liberals want to make everything P.C. Some people get offended when people say ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas.’ It’s true that many liberals believe in political correctness. It’s also true that some liberals want to make other holidays known other than Christmas. But the idea of a war on Christmas is simply laughable. While some Christmas celebrations have had to be altered, it still isn’t a war and it is foolish to even use such a word to describe it as such.

First of all, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” So, nobody is stopping anybody from the private celebration of Christmas. I celebrate Christmas at home and nobody is stopping me from doing so.

Regarding political correctness, there should be displays of all religious holidays for December. Just because a majority of Americans celebrate Christmas does not make it right for the other holidays to be ignored. I have friends who are Jewish. Granted, Hanukkah was early this year, but a menorah should still be displayed. The origins of Hanukkah are actually some of the most fascinating. The holiday is about a miracles, something that captures the spirit of the holiday season. I can honestly say that I barely know anything about the other holidays people celebrate. I know a tiny bit about Kwanzaa, which is not celebrated much in Maine. I don’t know anything about the Winter Solstice but would welcome the opportunity to learn more. What’s so wrong with learning about other holidays?

As it so happens, Christmas is not my favorite holiday. While I love the reason for celebrating Christmas, I feel that the holiday is too commercialized. It’s very ‘let’s see what expensive item can be put under the tree this year.’ That bothers me. And the reason why Christmas is on December 25th is factually inaccurate-Jesus was not born in December. Scholars believe him to be born sometime in the spring or summer. I’m not a mind reader. I don’t know who celebrates Christmas and who doesn’t. I like it when people say ‘Merry Christmas’ to me, but I wouldn’t be offended if somebody said ‘Happy Hanukkah’-quite the contrary, I would like to celebrate the holiday one year.

If your biggest problem this holiday season is that you’re offended that people might have different holiday traditions or might just want other people to be included, take some time to do something nice for somebody else. There are more important things than the name of a light parade in downtown Bangor or whether or not a tree is put up in Bar Harbor. Pay it forward. That’s really what the holidays should be about.

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope it’s a good one.