Fandango’s Flashback Friday — December 2nd

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 2nd) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on December 2, 2005 on my old blog. Sadly, not much has changed in the 17 years since I wrote this post.

The Big Christmas Controversy

A recent letter to the editor in our local paper condemned “sectarianism and ultra liberalism” practiced by stores that use the phrase “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.” The letter writer also objected to the word “Xmas” in place of “Christmas.” He suggested that shoppers boycott stores that “refuse to utter the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ for fear of offending a non-Christian customer.”

I’m a realist and I understand that the predominant religion in the U.S. is Christian. As a non-Christian, I feel fully assimilated into the American society for most of the year. But for the four or five week period between Thanksgiving, a traditional American holiday that my family and I celebrate, and Christmas, a religious one that we do not, I feel somewhat alienated.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy this time of year and I appreciate the overall cheer and festive atmosphere of the holiday season. I suppose I can even put up with the continual playing of Christmas music in malls, shops, restaurants, and on many radio stations. I am impressed with the decorative efforts of my friends and neighbors as they light up their homes for the season. My family and I will even drive around at night admiring the most tastefully and delightfully decorated houses.

But it’s also at this time of the year the fact that I’m not Christian becomes quite evident. Ours is one of the few houses in my neighborhood that is not lit up with Christmas lights and decorations. The view from the street into my living room window reveals the only house on our block that doesn’t show off a bright and blinking tree with an angel or a star on the top.

I sometimes feel uncomfortable at this time of the year because I’m often asked if I’ve finished putting up my Christmas lights or if I’ve completed decorating our Christmas tree. Sometimes I just smile and nod, rather than create a situation where everyone feels at least a bit awkward by saying, “I don’t celebrate Christmas.”

What I can’t quite grasp, though, is why some Christians find it so offensive for people to say “Happy Holidays,” an inclusive gesture of seasonal goodwill, when “Merry Christmas” is exclusive, even if just to a small percent of the population. Why is it so important, as the writer of the letter said, for those “who embrace the birth of Jesus Christ” to shop only in stores that make a point to remind those of us who are not Christian that we are different? Doesn’t “Happy Holidays” work for everyone who goes to malls, stores, and restaurants?

The letter writer doesn’t want secularism to “diminish the celebration of our Lord and Savior’s birth on December 25.” But what about those of us who don’t celebrate a lord and savior’s both on December 25th?

Malls and shops and restaurants, even at this time of the year, are not intended to be places to celebrate the birth of Christ, to practice religion, or to promote a particular theology. These are, in fact, secular sites intended for shopping, eating, or just hanging out.

There is, however, a definitive venue for those who wish to celebrate the birth of their Lord and Savior. It’s called church.

14 thoughts on “Fandango’s Flashback Friday — December 2nd

  1. Mister Bump UK December 2, 2022 / 4:50 am

    Ah, now I’m interested. I’d have thought the predominant religion there was “no religion”, no?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango December 2, 2022 / 8:10 am

      No. 70% of American claim Christianity as their religion. A few decades ago it was more than 80%.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Paula Light December 2, 2022 / 5:52 am

    I haven’t heard of any kerfuffling this year over “happy holidays” and such. What a stupid thing to get offended by… yet we’re the “snowflakes.” LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango December 2, 2022 / 8:14 am

      I know. I think, now that Trump is out of office, it’s toned down a little, but it’s still out there.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. newepicauthor December 2, 2022 / 6:03 am

    Jesus was not born on Christmas, and they even got the year wrong. It is thought that Jesus was born in 3 BC, but we can’t fix that mistake now because it would mess up all the calendars. December 25 was selected as the birth, only to take away from a pagan celebration.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango December 2, 2022 / 8:15 am

      Yes, I am aware of that. But many Americans are not. Or don’t care.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. ganga1996 December 2, 2022 / 8:00 am

    As you said nothing has changed much and it is not going to change. I am an orthodox Hindu and I do put up a Christmas tree. 😀 My thought respecting other people belief is important whether it is being religious or being an atheist. I think that is what 25 years of being a special mother has taught me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marleen December 2, 2022 / 10:04 am

    The late wife of one of my cousins was very Jewish. One autumn, when I was visiting in St. Louis, my cousin was pointing to a tropical plant in a large, brass pot in her living room while saying, “See my tree?” I had already noticed, but I turned and looked at the small tree — tropical rather than evergreen — with one brass dinosaur ornament and smiled.

    Her tone of voice and body language had been like she was getting away with something or enjoying something that some would deny her. It’s possible she was tickled about a dinosaur on a “Christmas” tree. Turns out (too) that, the last year we enjoyed with her wife, there were many decorative animals (having been collected over years now) on a traditional, tall tree.

    My cousin-in-law, who was maybe atheist, likely spiritual and not pushy about it with her spouse plus just not accepting of false habits and oppressiveness, as well, recounted — when my cousin was out of the room after we’d, all three, sung a Hanukkah prayer song together while lighting candles as we had done several times before — her having been against a Christmas tree but then realizing my truly atheist cousin only wanted the nostalgia of the decoration… not-to-mention, they were the most gift-exchanging couple I’ve ever encountered. Christmas/Hanukkah, birthdays, anniversaries (they might be the only couple I’ve spontaneously given a first anniversary gift). I told her I had gone without trees because it was a tradition [and the religion was a bent-out-of-shape concoction of the centuries].

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen December 2, 2022 / 11:59 am

      But I say “Merry Christmas” or a thank you if someone says “Merry Christmas” to me. [I vaguely remember someone saying it with a “you’re on the spot” vibe, though. I’ll probably resist there.] And… here’s the thing…

      I didn’t promote Santa Klaus at all — and I’m sure a wise parent doesn’t — but one of my sons decided that whole thing was fun. So, I ended up playing along. I still didn’t say that Santa brought presents or, “Here’s your gift from Santa” (which my mom did sometimes even though I’d debunked Santa myself before the age of five). But, for example, this son got Santa pajamas because I told his grandfather (who wanted to give all the kids scads of goodies) he wanted a Santa outfit. Being a parent can totally mess you up 🙃

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lolsy's Library December 3, 2022 / 9:04 pm

    I’m not Christian, but Christmas is my favourite time of year and I think Merry Christmas “exclusive” is silliness. I’ve only managed to find a “Merry Christmas” sign to place outside, but I am always looking for a Happy Holidays one too.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.