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Oh, g…g…gee. Ugh.

December 2, 2011

Christmas is a nice time of the year. I like this time of the year because as the holiday nears, life seems to slow down a little. It’s not that the world stops for a week, but it just feels like everything is a little less important and then we all take a break for a day or so.

Sadly, Christmas always comes with its controversies and disturbances and this year is no different. Groups of people are once again panicking amidst a flurry of recycled, never-say-die emails, alerting them to the ‘fact’ that President Obama has renamed the Christmas tree to the “Holiday Tree” and that he and the First Lady have removed religious ornaments from the White House. The emails are false, the rumors are untrue. They’re all a pack of lies. The president hasn’t done away with tradition, and the Christmas tree, and its religious ornaments, are alive and well.

Something I find disturbing is that soon we’ll be hearing about municipalities across the country that forbid religious-themed holiday displays because they’re believed to be offensive and we’ll be told to be holiday non-specific when it comes to greeting others.

Bah, humbug. Who makes these decisions?

I’m not a Christian and I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I do believe, like the song says, that this is the most wonderful time of the year and I think we should stop ruining it for everyone. Christmas is a religious holiday that Christians celebrate and everyone should stop telling them they can’t celebrate their holiday or that they need to modify their religion. Trees go with Christmas which is why they’re called Christmas trees, and unless they fall onto someone, I’ve never heard of a decorated and tastefully lit Christmas tree – in private or public – hurting anyone.

As a non-observer, it doesn’t bother me to walk past a Christmas tree to enter a public building during the Christmas season. I’m not going to go all Bill of Rights and Founding Fathers here other than to say that we do have – thankfully – freedom of religion in this country. We have the freedom to observe a religion and we have the freedom to not observe a religion. I don’t believe we have the freedom to force the beliefs of a small group of people who feel they’re acting on what they perceive might be the thoughts of large groups of people onto others. To the people in those positions, I say knock it off and leave Christmas alone and don’t tell me what I should be finding offensive or that I can’t say “Merry” this or “Happy” that. Take that break for a day or two along with the rest of us and go watch It’s A Wonderful Life and think about something that’s really important and that matters. In honesty, I do believe it would be nice if holiday displays were more inclusive, and by that I mean simply put all the religious stuff aside and simply observe a holiday that celebrates our humanity and similarities, but if they’re not, they’re not, and that’s it. The holidays are specific to the religious observance and there’s nothing wrong with that. The big holiday is Christmas and the displays are about Christmas and the people who celebrate Christmas like them and that’s really the only bottom line I need. Put up a Christmas tree or a crèche, put up a Menorah, put up a Festivus Pole, put up a Zen circle. Smile when you do it and it’s all good.

That’s a too-long introduction to what I really wanted to talk about which is the most disturbing part of the holiday season: Chia Pets. Like a plague, the Chia Pets come back every Christmas season and that wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t run about a million TV commercials over ten weeks. They’re like ants, those commercials, they’re everywhere, and no matter what time you turn on the TV, there’s a Chia Pet commercial. This morning, 4:00 a.m., “Ch, ch, ch Chia…” Help me! Chia Pets were bad enough back when they only had the original model and the annoying jingle, but now everyone and everything has been immortalized in Chia seeds, including the president. For the love of all that is holy, please stop the Chias. Boycott the Chias and maybe they’ll go away!

Even though I don’t celebrate Christmas, you’re more than welcome to wish me a Merry Christmas. I gladly accept any greeting that includes Merry or Happy or Joyous or any other positive and well-intentioned adjective.

Not holiday related, but this is pretty cool. It’s a short slideshow on independent bookstores across the country and I thought the second slide was pretty good. Actually, I think that second slide was very good. Check it out and judge for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments below.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. December 2, 2011 9:15 am

    Good post.
    I also love this time of the year. I usually try to block all that stuff out because even if they rename the Christmas tree to the holiday tree it is not going to stop me from calling it a christmas tree. It’s also not going to change how I feel about christmas & how I celebrate christmas with my future children!

    Like

    • Michael Fishman permalink
      December 3, 2011 6:11 am

      Thank you and congratulations to you and your wife! March 4 isn’t that far away! Of course I guess if anyone realizes that it’s you, right?

      Like

  2. December 2, 2011 2:11 pm

    I’m a Mom of two grown men…ages 26 and 24, and I guarantee that I will get a Chia pet for a gift this year, maybe two. It is a beautiful tradition in our family. They never last long, the cat eats them.
    Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!

    I agree with everything else you talked about…and Merry Christmas Mr, Fishman!

    mo

    Like

    • Michael Fishman permalink
      December 3, 2011 6:03 am

      Merry Christmas, Mo! That Chia pets are a tradition makes me look at them a little differently. Did you know they have Chia grass for cats?

      Like

  3. December 2, 2011 4:10 pm

    One of those bookstores isn’t far from me, so I’ll have to check it out in person. It’s not the one in slide #2, but it’ll do.

    Oh, and as a fellow non-Christian, I too am happy to be greeted with a hearty “Merry Christmas!” or any other salutation that carries with it well wishes. I would prefer that government buildings and public schools didn’t display religious chotskies of any variety, and once our more serious problems are all under control that might be worth getting the hackles up over. I’d love to live in a world where the biggest issue people had to fret about was whether or not it was alright for their kids’ school to string lights on a tree.

    Like

    • Michael Fishman permalink
      December 3, 2011 6:01 am

      For me, the religious displays are, in a way, like rude drivers. Rude drivers cut me off, or do whatever they do, and in five seconds they’re gone and out of my life. While I’d prefer that religious displays be limited to private property I just can’t get excited about them because in the time it takes me to walk past them they’re gone. Maybe that’s a overly simplistic view of a complicated issue but it works for me!

      Like

  4. December 3, 2011 12:28 pm

    Michael! You’re FAMOUS! Featured in a Salon slideshow :). I remember you talking about this bookstore.

    As a non-Christian, I honestly don’t mind the holiday displays. They certainly don’t offend me. I think a lot of them are very pretty and I do love to drive around on a snowy December night to look at the residential displays. The only thing that really bugs me about the holiday season is the blatant consumerism and the bombardment of advertising via all means to spend spend SPEND! on chia pets lol.

    Like

    • Michael Fishman permalink
      December 3, 2011 4:22 pm

      I’m currently trying to put together a group of folks to handle my more mundane affairs while I bask in the glory of the Salon slideshow and deal with the flurry of phone calls I expect to be getting anytime now! I’m stuck though on whether to call them my posse or my people.

      Like

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