Merry Christmas, everyone! Yes, I said “Merry Christmas”. Not “Happy Holidays”. Not “Seasons Greetings”. Not “Best Wishes for Profiting from Free Market Capitalism”. That’s right, I said, “Merry Fucking Christmas” people. Oh no, now I’ve done it; I’ve gone and pissed off people on both sides of the increasingly divisive and ironic “War on Christmas”.
You see, folks on the left want to dogmatically forbid certain religious terms such as “Merry Christmas” from the common lexicon, suggesting that these terms both represent and reinforce a latent hierarchy of one religion over another. Others on the right somehow suggest that eliminating their chosen religion from the celebration of the holiday season is an erosion of our society’s moral fabric. And both of these perspectives are missing the point entirely.
Take the recent dust up over the red Starbucks cup. Angered that Starbucks was replacing their cups from Decembers past that featured various holiday themes with a cup that was instead a solid festive red, there are actually people who were so offended by this affront to their enjoyment of the holiday season that they boycotted Starbucks. Ignoring for a moment that the holiday cups they yearn for never actually had specific references to Christmas anyway and instead were mostly general winter themes of snowmen, snow flakes, etc, where do these moralizing bastards get the gumption to try to dictate the verbiage of the season?
If you want to say, “Merry Christmas”, by all means do so, but mean it for crying out loud. If you are Christian, you should revel in the season and express it however you like. But respect the rights of others to equally celebrate the season without any reverence or acknowledgment of your beloved Christ. Their doing so is not a war on your Christmas. You know, why? Because wars focus on others. No one is taking away the right of any individual or privately owned business from expressing all of their crazy Christmas love any old way they like. I put up a Merry Christmas sign in my yard. No one has asked me to take it down. YOU can say “Merry Christmas” all you damn well like.
But you cant force others to say it with you, and that’s what really drives these nutters crazy. They want everyone to say “Merry Christmas” with them or it somehow ruins their festive spirit. But sorry Charlie, you don’t have the right to impose your religious views on others. It’s in the Constitution- you can look it up. Same with public buildings and entities- they need to stay religious neutral. Again, something in that pesky constitution eliminating state sponsored religion….
As a company, Starbucks has the right to invoke the holiday season in whatever way they feel best maximizes their profit. If they, in their infinite wisdom, believe that going with a cup that they feel embraces the celebration of the season by all their customers rather than some, why should we care? They are not stopping anyone from saying “Merry Christmas” in their stores. If you are that offended, don’t boycott them; instead, go in to the nearest Starbucks (it can only be a mile or so away) and order a “Merry Christmas” latte and when they turn to go and make it, ask them to throw in a couple of extra shots of “Birth of Christ” for you. Shit, you can stand at the front door for a whole afternoon just greeting folks with a warm handshake and a throaty, boisterous “Merry Christmas to One and All!!” Just let Starbucks put on their cups whatever the hell they want.
But you can put up a Nativity scene in your yard that would make Vegas proud, and I’ll happily stop by and admire it. It might even move me. Because even though I am not a Christian, I too am inspired by much of what Christ had to teach us, even if those same teachings seam lost on some of the people who invoke his name most. Yes, I do hold Jesus Christ in reverence because he taught us to love all of God’s creations without judgment, a lesson some of his “devout” followers might look to heed a bit more closely.
Even more so, I love the Christmas spirit that is engendered by his teachings. When I talk to my children of the Christmas spirit, I speak of loving each other, of giving oneself in the blessed connection with our fellow brothers and sisters, of helping others not out of pity but out of love and mutual respect. One does not need to subscribe to the theology to believe in the spirit of Christmas; those values of love and compassion transcend those lines.
And isn’t that just what Santa is? He has no official religious symbolism. As far as I remember the stories, he wasn’t holding the baby Jesus in the manor. No, he’s a fat man dressed in a funny suit who decided to share with others. He is a symbol of love and compassion. Who can’t be cool with that? Santa is not so much a Christian symbol as he is of the universal spirit of brotherhood that we can all embrace a bit more this time of year.
So instead of bitching about whether someone did or did not say, “Merry Christmas” or “Holiday Seasons”, consider the sentiment instead. That’s the package; the words are just the wrapping paper. In your decisive need to impose your erspective on the other side of this debate, you have lost the wonderful essence of what Christmas is all about: to love everyone without judgment. Now that’s a sentiment I can buy into. And so I say to one and all, be they Christian, Muslim, Jew or Atheist, “Merry Christmas!!!” And if that offends you, well, go fuck yourself.