For all of you that celebrate, Merry Christmas. And if you celebrate something else, like Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or the Winter Solstice or some other thing I don’t even know about, Merry Whatever You Believe in! And a Happy New Year! Except to the Chinese traditionalist, who think the New Year starts on Valentines Day. Only in America, or more specifically California!
Or should I say “Happy Holidays”, like the general populace seems to be dictating in recent years. For the most part I don’t have a major problem with political correctness, as it generally serves its purpose by curbing the the injustices perpetuated by the intolerant and the ignorant, but it does tend to go overboard quite often. The attempt to outlaw Christmas is one of those times when I really start to question the whole PC thing. You see, the whole argument against Christmas is the holiday’s foundation in religion, Christianity to be specific. Of course we are supposed to be separating church and state, so case closed right there, right? Government can’t endorse Christmas. Well, I’ll challenge that. I’ll just throw out there that the country was quite obviously founded by religious men who clearly based our laws and entire system of government on Western religion. Just something to consider. I won’t say anything crazy like a super conservative and try to convince you that religion should be officially adopted by our government, because I don’t believe it should be. I will say that you have to be realistic when you’re examining the issue and know that our politicians’ religions are going to have a real impact on how our country runs. How many different religions have our elected Presidents been?
But that is not my real point. My actual issue with all this anti-Christmas focus is that the holiday, as we celebrate it in current society, has nothing to do with religion anymore. This is something we all know and accept on some level, but don’t really state openly. The Christians of course hate this fact, as they’ve bemoaned the over commercialization of Christmas for years, and will often complain of people losing sight of what the holiday is all about. What they fail to realize is that the meaning and spirit of Christmas has changed. Yeah, I’d be pissed too if my big holiday got co-opted and secularized by the mass public, but it’s done people. It’s not about the birth of Jesus anymore, it’s about Santa, gifts, family, charity and the general spreading of good will. Lets take a look at this Christmas classic, widely accepted as one of the hallmarks of the holiday.
BTW, I’ve never really been a fan of peanuts. So this classic staple about the search for the source for the meaning of Christmas appears to support the religious argument on the surface. But when you actually watch it there’s something more. First off, how weird and out of place does all that religious talk feel when you watch it. Oh, and you were probably surprised how much there was and didn’t remember that being a part of the cartoon. Why is that? Because even though the try to give the impression of emphasizing the religious roots of the holiday, they actually truly glorify the secular aspects. What do people remember most from this holiday classic? Charlie Brown picking the little Christmas tree. You still hear people calling smaller Christmas trees “Charlie Brown Trees” . This originally aired in 1965 and people still refer to it. Despite all the religion forced into the special and talk of over commercialization and true meaning, they actually glorify the Christmas tree. Remember that part in the bible where Jesus teaches his followers how to decorate the all important Christmas tree? No, you don’t. They also push the more general good will message, not of any particular religion, just being nice basically. Oh, and lots of talk about Santa. What do people actually take away from this special? Be nice and tolerant, appreciate things for what they are, celebrate Christmas with in traditional ways (gift giving, trees, Santa) with friends and similar such messages. Not to celebrate the birth of the savior. And what about that second, more modern Christmas cartoon they tacked on after in this ABC presentation. Even Charles Schultz saw the need to further downplay the religious aspects. Society had changed, the holiday had change, and you can see the reflection of that in this more modern follow up. You can see this further in the other follow up, “I Want A Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown.”
Santariffic, eh? So am I saying Charlie Brown dictates how Christmas is celebrated? No, you ignorant pig! As I’ve already stated, it’s a reflection of a larger trend of our culture. So what’s the point of all this. Simply for people to chill out. No need to be so uptight. Yeah, not everyone in America celebrates Christmas, but most people do. If you don’t, please try not take take the cashier who half heartedly mutter “Merry Christmas” as she hands you your receipt as a personal affront on your beliefs. A tree decorated at your children’s school or a paper Santa hanging at the library are not an attack on your religion or an attempt to force beliefs on your children. And Christians, don’t push your religious zealot ideals on people who just want to celebrate the secular aspects of the holiday. Celebrate it how you want, but do not dictate to others. Save your nativity scenes and biblical plays for the church. You need to come to terms with the fact that the holiday has grown beyond it’s origins, steeped within the annals of Biblical history. It has transcended into popular culture. Accept this and we’ll all be the better for it.
On that note I’m going to go open presents with my family now. I’ll leave you with this other Christmas classic, my favorite, which feels especially appropriate now. Oh, and if you agree or disagree with what I’ve said here, feel free to offer a response.
Sadly or somewhat ironically I couldn’t find “The Grinch that Stole Christmas” online to play for you. So here’s a fan made music video. Enjoy!