I kinda like Christmas. Even though I'm not a Christian, I recognize the importance and value of the hopes, and festivities, and lessons the holiday inherited from its pagan predecessors.

I mean, hey, Christmas is most likely not even the correct date for Christ's birth. He was probably born in the spring sometime. So expanding the definition of the holiday a bit seems pretty reasonable.

For an excellent analysis of this dichotomy, please see the animated short, "The Spirit of Christmas." Like you haven't already.

I have noticed in recent years the holiday season music played in stores is moving away from the more religious overtones to generic sentiments of joy/giving/snow. As someone who used to be a very bitter ex-Catholic, I don't find this type of music all that offensive. While it is true that the music may not appeal to everyone, that could be said for any other type of music. Personally, I find certain types of elevator music extremely offensive.

It's quite possible that since I live in a rather densely populated area with a multitude of ethnicities and religious beliefs that stores here are utilizing more generic music. I can only imagine what it is like in more Christian areas of this nation. If I heard O Holy Night telling me to fall on my knees, I would not like it. Songs like Silver Bells. and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, however, are pretty far removed from the preachy-type of Christmas songs, and are perfectly fine to me.

It seems to me the intent of stores playing these songs is to create a mood, to encourage buying, and believe that the music will achieve that. If their intent was to convert all the heretics, then I would take issue with that. If it really bothered me, I would let the store management know and do my shopping elsewhere. Nothing hurts more than losing revenue.

I find the whole Christmas juggernaut extremely hard to take, but it's embarassing to say so, because I don't like spoiling other people's parties.

For me as a Jewish person, Christmas is a big party that I can't attend. It isn't that my Christian (or recovering Christian) friends aren't generous enough to invite me, but that at some deep level it feels idolatrous to participate. Between the Pagan and the Christian elements, it just seems wrong for me. (Not wrong for Pagans and Christians - wrong for me.)

While I'm the first to admit that my theology is slovenly theism at best, I do take a couple of things from my tradition seriously: one is that monotheism is a Good Thing(tm) and the other is that idolatry is a Bad Thing(tm). Wallowing in Christmas cheer doesn't work for me, partly for that reason.

My other objection is encapsulated in the beloved Everything slogan, "Commerce is the reason for the season."

But don't mind me. Just go ahead and have a good time. It's not for me to judge the choices of others.

And I'm not bitter.

Not me.


I've been having more and more trouble with Easter and Christmas for some time now, on a number of levels.

Firstly, Christmas and Easter were attempts by the church to take pagan holidays and replace them with Christian centered holidays for political power and meme replacement in the cultures being ruled by the Church at that time.

Secondly, Christmas in America and the practice of giving gifts was more of a function of Landowners giving out gifts to the workers during winter so that they wouldn't riot (being out of work, being agriculturally minded as they were), thus the Wassailing song. (please somebody correct my spelling if incorrect). Wassailing was the practice of going from house to house, kind of like Halloween, really, and demanding treats lest one riot.

Third, Hallmark and Consumerism really are the spirits of Christmas, lately. Buy buy buy, get that stack of presents under the tree to be respectable looking, etc.

To the point where we begin worrying about getting our shopping done in June.

I would rather Christmas be about appreciating the ones we love, ditch the music unless our hearts really feel that way, etc.

I would rather get gifts for people, whatever time of year it is, based on the fact that they know that person would probably love it, and give it to 'em. *shrug* whether or not they wait for the right season.

And I would rather rather that people who feel that there is significance in Christ's birth, death, and resurrection remember that and keep it special all year, rather than just boxing it away on a special holiday and then basically forgetting it in their spirit and behaviour the rest of the year.

Kiss my fish.

I have never considered Christmas to be a religious holiday. That might sound a strange thing to say, but growing up in a multi-racial part of London, where only about half the population were even nominally Christian, Christmas was just an excuse for time off school, for relatives to visit, and for parties.

Despite the fact that in the UK church and state are linked (the Queen is not just Head of State, she is also "Defender of the Faith") Britain is actually a far less religious country than the USA. I grew up seeing no contradiction in having a Chanukah menorah burning next to a christmas tree, as to me the tree wasn't a Christian symbol but a Christmas one: and as Christmas represented a non-religious holiday to me everything resolved out just fine in my youthful head. Actually, having been brought up a Jewish atheist the Jewish icons were no more symbolic either, but that's an aside.

What this all means is that when I say "I hate it when they try to bring religion into Christmas" most people think I'm joking. I'm not. The links between Christianity and a winter solstice "festival of the lights" are extremely tenuous anyway: if Christmas isn't about eating too much, drinking too much and generally having a good time, then it shouldn't be about anything.

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