With Halloween now in the rear-view mirror, we all know the world is about to jump on the Christmas bandwagon for the next two months. Never mind the fact that there’s a whole other national holiday in between the two (not that Thanksgiving doesn’t have its fundamental flaws as well, but that’s for another rant…).
Remember when Starbucks released its Christmas cup design back in 2015, and the entire world went nuts about it? Half the world seemed to be decrying the innocent cups as the end of civilization as we know it, while the other half of the world protested, “It’s just a cup! Get over it!”
The issue? The cups weren’t “Christmas-y” enough. Instead of sporting snowmen, snowflakes or a cheery “Merry Christmas!” message, the cups featured a minimalist red ombre design, devoid of words or pictures of any kind. Many folks saw this as one just more battleground in the so-called “War on Christmas.”
This was two years ago. Last year wasn’t so bad, and you might have started to hope the conservative religious community was finished with this particular argument. Surely we’ve all grown up a little and moved past this, right?
Wrong. President Donald Trump is in office and if you thought this ridiculous argument would go away, guess again. This holiday season’s sure to be the worst yet in that regard, and it’s clear Trump’s determined to resurrect the issue and get people yelling at their cashiers over their right to receive their preferred holiday greeting.
Trump Involved in my Christmas?
But of course! President Trump spoke for the conservatives on this issue when he addressed a crowd at the Values Voter Summit. “We’re getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don’t talk about anymore. They don’t use the word Christmas because it is not politically correct,” Trump announced, as he complained about the way stores and other businesses handle holiday decorations and celebrations. “Well, guess what. We’re saying Merry Christmas again.”
Extremist Christians always seem to be looking for a fight. This Christmas, you can bet President Trump is going to give them one. He’s providing a rallying point for all those who are convinced Christmas is under attack.
Is There a War on Christmas?
As you’ve probably realized at some point over the past few years, many people are convinced an ongoing War on Christmas is being waged in our country. The belief is that the powers that be are steadily trying to chip away at the things that make Christmas… well, Christmas.
I’m not sure how much more clearly I can say this. There is no war on Christmas. There never was. No one is trying to destroy anyone’s right to celebrate Christmas. Christmas is, by far, the most widely celebrated holiday in the country. Nothing even comes close to touching it. Yet, many Christians will try to convince you that Christmas is in grave danger.
The holidays are a diverse time of year. I guess you could say I celebrate aspects of Christmas. Not all of my friends do. Some of them celebrate other holidays that are treasured traditions in their families. Why are these celebrations any less important or worthy of respect than Christmas?
The Root of the Issue
Here’s some fun faith-busting for you. The majority of traditions that so many Christians are trying to reinvigorate actually aren’t tied to Christianity at all. Additionally, the bible is very unclear on the actual date of Jesus’s birth, but one thing scholars who have studied the bible extensively can agree on is that Jesus wasn’t even born in the winter.
Christians are pushing an agenda that doesn’t even make sense. But hey, what else is new. What is it that makes Christians feel the innate need to keep pushing their skewed agenda on everyone else? And why do so many people feel threatened by the idea of acknowledging the legitimacy of traditions that are different from our own?
It all ties back to the wave of nationalism sweeping our country. This wave of hatred for anything deemed to be “un-American” (what even is “American,” anyway?) is becoming a serious threat to the very fabric of society. It’s well-documented, and unfortunately, it looks like it’s here to stay for at least a little bit. Extremist Christians fit neatly into this bubble of alt-conservative anti-logic, and they believe that we’re forgetting what the holiday season is all about — they would say it’s about Christ. Cue the “putting the ‘Christ’ back in ‘Christmas’” crap.
But it seems to me that, if factual historical analysis shows us that Christmas isn’t really about Christ, then Christians are forgetting the only salvageable point of Christmas that is then leftover: the spirit of loving and giving. In fact, I seem to remember an often quoted phrase that says, “Peace on earth and goodwill to men.”
I don’t care how enthusiastically you celebrate Christmas. I really don’t. You can decorate your home with all the Santas and reindeer and Nativity scenes you like. No one is stopping you from doing whatever you want in the comfort of your own home. But please realize that your loud protests about the kind of Christmas you believe we’re all supposed to partake in are ruining the season, which is exactly what you claim you’re rallying against.
The Christmas holiday is ruined by all the loud arguments I overhear at the cash register, as some mother of three curses out a cashier who didn’t wish her a Merry Christmas. The Christmas holiday is ruined by the middle-aged man I see yelling at some poor Salvation Army bell-ringer who had the misfortune of wishing the masses a “happy holiday” instead of a “merry Christmas.” And the Christmas holiday is ruined when we log into Facebook to see photos of friends and family, only to instead find heated arguments and long-winded rants about how the liberals are trying to destroy Christmas.
Call me crazy, but it seems like the only ones fighting a war on Christmas are people like Trump who continue to spread ill will during an otherwise pleasant season.
Kate Harveston is a political activist and writer. She enjoys writing about anything related to politics and culture, and how those elements intersect. If you like her writing, you can follow her on Twitter for updates or subscribe to her blog, Only Slightly Biased.