I’ve been wanting to write about this for a super long time, but I’m finally getting to it, because well, t’is the season and my creative juices are flowing.
This is my take on the whole “War on Christmas” thing, from my perspective as a Pagan. First, there is no war on Christmas. There are very few people who are interested in stopping Christians from celebrating their holy day, and for those that are interested in doing so aren’t really able to because of this amazing constitution we have protects ALL religious practices; whether it be Pagan, Christian or Buddhist, etc, you are protected under the “Religious Freedom” law to practice your faith as you see fit.
I’m writing this for everybody on all sides to get an idea of how I see the situation as an ‘outsider’- I don’t celebrate Christmas. Despite it being a federal holiday, at its core, it IS still a religious celebration, and fundies constantly remind us of that by announcing this “war on Christmas” every year. Christmas is not like Veterans Day, Independence Day, Martin Luther King Day, or even Thanksgiving- which are celebrations of monumental events and people of our country’s history. That’s part of being an American.
Why I refuse to say “Merry Christmas”.
It’s for very personal reasons, but as I understand it and especially how I understand it for myself- as a grown adult, I have the choice to believe what I see fit. I don’t feel the need or pressure to celebrate or acknowledge Christmas for the sake of my family, peers, or the majority of Americans. I embrace my Pagan faith, and for myself, I stopped pretending to celebrate the birth of a deity I don’t even worship from a religious tradition many of us may not even like. A lot of people might feel different and celebrate both, which is totally fine and your personal choice, BUT for those of us who choose not to associate under the umbrella of “Christian” just because I say “Merry Christmas”, we say “Happy Holidays” in respect to all seasonal celebrations, not just ONE.
Why fundies ruined “Merry Christmas”.
I’ve worked with a whole lot of people in various places for years and I’ve been thankful for the ability to express my faith openly by wearing my small Pentacle necklace and/or ring, in the same fashion people wear their crosses and crucifixes. I used to see anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand people a day at my old job, now I see maybe a few hundred at the MOST when i’m not working third shifts. But every once in a great while there would be that -one- person that would see my pentacle and start giving me attitude. Sometimes it would go even further beyond that to the inquiries of “do you go to church” or sometimes even a sour look and tone said with “what are you doing for Christmas” or “Merry Christmas”. (Isn’t it supposed to be “merry”?)
I would be honest with people and say, “no I don’t go to church” or “I’m not doing anything for Christmas because I don’t celebrate Christmas” or I’d reply with “Happy Holidays”. Simple. You can deal with it, or you can throw a fit.
What I celebrate is my personal business, but when people use their “Christianity” to attack people on “their holiday” you can’t help but get a little defensive because you don’t think they expect EVERYONE to be at home singing “away in a manger” under a tree, right?
I fully acknowledge that this isn’t my holiday, so why should I pretend that I celebrate it? This is my personal defense for not saying “Merry Christmas”. I am done pretending. And as I have stopped pretending, it should be something you (the fundies) should be thankful for because now you realize that there are more people out there besides yourself that are celebrating something different in such a diverse country.
This doesn’t infringe on your religious liberties, and it doesn’t infringe on mine. Better yet, this wonderful Constitution we have allows you and I to greet each other in whatever manner we please.
Greeting you with “Happy Holidays” opens the door to include everyone’s holiday- including yours, whatever they celebrate this time of year. Not saying “Merry Christmas” doesn’t mean I am “Anti Christian” or “taking your religious rights away”. It means that “as someone that doesn’t celebrate the same holiday, I will acknowledge your celebration along with the many others that exist this time of year”. It is a constitutional right to do so.
The BIGGEST reason why fundies ruined “Merry Christmas”.
Especially for Pagans, Atheists, etc out there that feel the same way: by saying “Merry Christmas”, as mentioned before it IS still at its core a Christian religious holiday- so fundies have taken this to heart and have held onto the idea that by saying “Merry Christmas”, you “acknowledge the truth in one almighty lord and savior God and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, therefore you are not what you claim to be*”. (Which would be non-Christian)*.
I know this sounds like something odd, but as Christian Extremists are infiltrating the churches and the current government, I feel that by saying “Happy Holidays” is a stand against that fundamentalist -however slightly true- line of thinking. This doesn’t make me more “Pagan than thou” because I don’t say “Merry Christmas”, but as an African-American gay Pagan, I am done pretending to be something I am not- and many others are too.
Happy Holidays. 🙂