Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Nazis

I've never been much of a Christmas person to start with. I never got off on putting up Christmas trees or decorating the house with Christmas wreathes and candles and salt and pepper shakers and place mats. I didn't especially like shopping and I hated wrapping. 

One thing I did enjoy though was sending out Christmas cards.....that is before the Christmas Nazis took over and ruined it.

I always preferred boxes of mixed cards, rather than all of one kind, because that way I could mix and match the sentiment to the person I was sending the card to. I had religious friends so I chose for them the ones of the Wise Men. I had Jewish friends so I made sure to pick out a generic Happy Holidays card for them. My animal-loving friends got the precious pictures of kitties and puppies in front of the holiday bedecked fireplace. I gave a lot of thought to who would get the peace dove, the beautiful country scene, the old-fashioned Victorian one.

And I always wrote short letters in all of them. Some people I saw all the time but Christmas is the season for telling people how much you care for them. I enjoyed letting co-workers know how much I appreciated spending my working days with them. I liked connecting with cousins or far-away friends with whom I wasn't in frequent contact.

It never occurred to me that I might be inadvertently offending people to whom I thought I was simply sending affectionate regards and best wishes. I never realized that some people probably snarled when they received my Seasons Greetings or Happy Holidays card because it didn't say Merry Christmas instead.

And, oh, my God, I frequently shortened Christmas to Xmas in my many letters! I had no clue that this was anathema to the truly devout.

I  honestly never considered that Christmas cards and greetings could be a source of resentment instead of pleasure.

In fact, I never really thought that any one religion "owned" Christmas. I didn't dream that the holiday came with rules and regulations that had to pass their muster to be valid. Of course, I knew it had special connotations for Christians but I thought the all-encompassing holiday had expanded to include everyone who wanted to share the beauty of its larger meaning, that of peace on earth, good will to all.

Santa and elves are not particularly religious. Neither are snowmen and bells and decorated trees and plowing over your neighbor at the mall to get a $2 waffle iron.

And now we are in fight about what color Santa is and once again, the fundamentalist breed of Christian assumes their right to dictate. Santa is white....end of story. He's ours and we ain't sharing.

And Jesus has been brought into this ethnic battle as well although Jesus was a Semitic Jew and the chances are that the little blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jesus that you see in the manger on your Christmas card isn't true at all.

Anyway, the right-wing Christmas police have made it all so ugly, I quit sending cards although I think it is sad that this holiday should deteriorate into a time of division and hard feelings, the exact opposite of what it is meant to be.

To those of you who appreciate the spirit behind holiday greetings however they are couched - Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa, Heartfelt Hanukkah and Felicitous Festivus.

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