Back in October, when I noticed the first Christmas-themed display going up at a local store, I knew what was coming in the weeks ahead -- and Bill O'Reilly certain did not surprise anyone when he launched his annual crusade to remind us all that there is a "War on Christmas."
Maybe it's in poor taste to compare our country's treatment of Christmas to its treatment of ... well... all the other holidays. Honestly. Is there another occasion that even comes close?! It'd be like comparing an +MLB playoff to a pickup game in the park.
Exhibit A - how when celebrating the birthday of a friend or family member, gifts are given to the birthday boy or girl. When celebrating Christmas, however, everybody is expected to buy gifts for everybody else. Wouldn't it seem just a tad excessive if we expected such a practice for any other event of the year? And people can rationalize this tradition all they want, but shouldn't good and faithful Christians be demanding that it's Jesus's birthday and refusing to participate in gift exchanges altogether? (By the way, I have known a few churches to practically demonize this practice, insisting that gifts should instead be given only to the Birthday Boy Jesus. Through the church, of course.)
Exhibit B - compare the blatant pre-celebration of this particular holiday. Stores and malls are naturally going to exploit anything they possibly can to separate customers from their money, but the Christmas "season" starts as the last Halloween trick-or-treater returns home and fairly well continues until the countdown begins to our yearly vocal assault on Auld Lang Syne. According to my calendar, that's two whole months -- for ONE holiday!
Thanksgiving has turned into a rehearsal dinner.
Exhibit C - While a few companies have found a niche by remaining open on Christmas, let's also remember that this is the only holiday on which it's accepted as fiscally and politically correct for the vast majority of stores and restaurants to shut down early on the 24th and stay closed until the 26th. (Okay I'll admit that most of those businesses probably wouldn't think twice about staying open on Christmas day if not for the insane rush to shop that's created by the threat of stores closing for a whole day.)
Finally, I present to you Exhibit D - perhaps the most notable distinction any holiday can earn. Most atheists and agnostics, despite the very idea of Christmas running contrary to their belief system, STILL celebrate this holiday one way or another. Doesn't really matter that they're reconciling this conflict by avoiding use of the holiday's name and treating it like a second Turkey day. And it's not like many of them are refusing to accept a gift.
So Happy Effin' Whatever, y'all.
Oh yeah. Feel free to buy me something from my Wish List.