I think I’ve figured it out.
The last few days, I’ve been over at That Site, arguing with people (for a while, anyway, once the comments start to hit 40,50… 200… I quit) over the whole “Merry Christmas” vs “Happy Holidays” thing, and why “HH” is so offensive to the “MC” crowd.
The thing is, it really isn’t offensive. Annoying? Yes. Why? Several reasons, actually…
First, everybody (the Pagans, in particular) like to bring up that it’s not really Christ’s birth. Christmas was created to hijack the Winter Solstice from the Pagans, so it’s not really a valid holiday. I’d give that argument to them if Christmas hadn’t been celebrated on the same day for the last, oh, 2000 years or so. That kinda sets a precedent. And nobody says the Pagans can’t have Solstice, too. It’s managed to survive. I even know a few Christians who celebrate Midwinter, burn a Yule Log, and celebrate a few other Pagan Traditions.
Second, the HH’ers say that that phrase must be used because other religions are celebrating their holidays, too, and it’s “insensitive” to exclude them. Especially because they might be shopping for their own holiday.
Ok, let’s address that one at a time. Hanukkah and Kwanzaa both happen right around Christmas. Hanukkah is not, and has never been, a ‘high holiday’ for the Jewish faith. That distinction is reserved for Rosh Hoshana, Purim, and Passover. Kwanzaa was, literally, invented in 1966 by a man named Ron “Maulana” Karenga, of the United Slave Organization. It is now said that it is to celebrate African American Heritage, but many of its underpinnings are distinctly anti-American and anti-Christian (the idea that Jesus Christ was “psychotic”, for example, and that Christmas was a “white holiday that black people should shun.” Not nice stuff at all).
Gift exchanges for Hanukkah have only become popular over my lifetime. According to a Rabbi I once knew, before about the ‘70’s, Hanukkah was all about the lights, and very rarely involved gifts. And even then it would be a trinket, nothing like our massive Christmas Celebration. The Gift-giving of Kwanzaa was specifically designed to compete with Christmas, but at a different time.
People seem to forget that all the stores are making buckets of money as a direct result of Christmas. It’s called “Black Friday” not because all the crowds make us mournful, but because that’s the day that all the stores are finally “in the black” for the year!! If Christmas Shopping was taken out of the equation, stores would still be trying to make up their losses, and nobody would know that anyone was shopping for a particular holiday, because without Christmas, there are no Hanukkah gifts, and Kwanzaa wouldn’t even exist!
Finally, and this is a biggie, people say that Christians are being arrogant, forgetting that there are other people in the country that don’t believe the way they do, and THAT’S the reason that everybody should be saying ‘Happy Holidays’ – so as not to offend. The thing is, I don’t think any Christians or those celebrating Christmas ARE forgetting that not everybody celebrates/believes (or not) in the same way. This all came about – this WHOLE mess – because some over-sensitive PC-nazis (and I mean that in the nicest way possible) got on this “Happy Holidays” bandwagon. And honestly? I don’t think people would even care about that, if it was distributed evenly throughout the year. But it’s ONLY Christmas that is targeted. Not New Year’s Day (because on Dec 26, go to a store, people say “Happy New Year” without reservation), not Valentine’s Day, not Halloween… nothing. It is absolutely hypocritical the way that it is applied. For example, Diwali (an Indian/Hindu holiday) began on Oct. 26th this year. I heard exactly NO ONE complaining that it was “insensitive” to say “Happy Halloween” and not “Happy Holidays”, so as not to exclude those of Indian descent.
So bugger on this “Happy Holidays”, nonsense!! Merry Christmas, everybody.