I love Christmas. You may doubt that before the end of this blog entry, but I really do! It's my second favorite holiday of the year. (If you're curious, Hallowe'en is my very favorite.)
My Christmas is just that... MY Christmas. It doesn't necessarily share much more than a name and date with your Christmas. The nativity story is just another holiday story to me, like "The Littlest Fir Tree" or "Twas The Night Before Christmas." Shepherds, mangers, wise men, etc.? Just another holiday decoration theme. Family, friends, good memories and good times... these are the reasons for my season. These are the things I celebrate.
I didn't pull my Christmas out of thin air and I don't celebrate my Christmas in my way as any sort of affront to or assault on anyone else's Christmas. My Christmas isn't affected by and has no effect on anyone else's Christmas.
My Christmas is a wholly secular tradition, passed down through multiple generations of my family. It evolves, over time, as each generation adds or changes a little something and my Christmas, as it exists today, comes complete with all the secular trimmings and trappings in all their gaudy secular splendor: Santa, elves, peppermints, holly, mistletoe, tinsel, twinkle lights, lawn decorations, fir trees with tacky crap dangling from every branch, lots of presents, over-spending, family gatherings, feasting, cheesy songs, more feasting, ugly holiday garb, egg nog, claymation specials on T.V., etc... I didn't create any of these trimmings or trappings and they're hardly new on the Christmas scene. As with previous generations of my family, I work with what's readily and abundantly available.
As I've gone about preparing for and participating in my holiday, each year, it really hasn't entered my mind, much less bothered me, that Christmas isn't the same holiday for everyone that it is for me or that others might ascribe beliefs to it that I do not necessarily share or attach to this particular day.
Apparantly, though, among the Christmas celebrants whose holiday differs greatly from mine, there are some who are deeply disturbed by the very existence of my Christmas. These are people who would like to force me to celebrate their holiday in their way or just revoke my right to celebrate Christmas, at all. They've twisted their hatred of me, my differing beliefs, my Christmas and my secular holiday traditons into a spooky campfire tale of evil Christmas-snatching liberals preying on all that is sacred to the righteous!
Lately, they've plastered their fantastic story all over the news. According to the reports, by celebrating my secular holiday in my secular way, I am joining with others of my ilk to obliterate their Christmas and replace it with a secular celebration of debauchery! Even my wishing someone "Happy Holly Daze," (which is MY traditional greeting) is a scud-missle strike at the very heart of all that is Christmas.
These accusations have come as a complete shock to me. When I put a plastic Santa on my lawn, I'm not trying to force my neighbors to take the plastic manger scene off of their lawn. When I wish someone a "Happy Holly Daze," there is no sinister intent behind my greeting. I'm not trying to strip their sacred holiday of the name assigned to it when their forebears stole it, stamped their messiah all over it and began pimping it out to the unconverted masses like a cheap tinsel-strewn whore luring lascivious heathens to her Christian houses of worship. I'm just being nice and spreading my holiday cheer... or, more accurately, the cheer of MY holiday.
If you're among those who are offended by my fond wishes for your seasonal joy, by all means, feel free to teach me a lesson by having a miserable holiday season, instead! It's no skin off my back how you choose to react to my pleasantries. I don't know what "counts" in your Christmas, but in MY Christmas, it's the thought that counts -- and the thought behind my greeting is one of good will.
Most curiously, a select few of the people who've been spinning these fantastic tales of a fierce war waged on the helpless holy majority by the all-powerful unholy few have further expressed a belief that, to be saved from ourselves, our society needs to return to the fine, old, sacred traditions of Christmas. After giving it a great deal of serious thought, I have to admit that I'm inclined to agree with them. A forced society-wide return to the old ways, especially if brought about by the most outspoken of the righteous, would, indeed, put an end to all of these irrational, biggotted concerns about the imaginary effects of my secular Christmas on anyone else's sacred Christmas. But then, I'm bearing in mind what those fine, old, sacred traditions actually were!
Soooo.... instead of my usual seaonal greeting, I'll help end this imaginary war and get the traditional Christmas ball rolling by extending all of you a most heartfelt and joyous: Io! Saturnalia! (Cast off your toga!)