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What bothers me about this article is the silly reference to Alec Baldwin's imitation of Trump ... Why is it so important to always look at silly actors and actresses ? ... Also, is Christmas really about what other commentators talk about being "Yuuuuge tax cuts" so that the moronic masses can spend money to keep the economy going ? ... I wish someone in a reasonable and logical way would explain to me what is so wrong with Mr. Obama's proclamation as I full heartedly believe that we all are our "brother's keeper" ... If we sit down and really read the "sermon on the mount" I think that is a really hard cultural way to follow and makes all of us so insignificant as it has some very high ideals and perhaps unreachable goals which certainly has nothing to do with consumptive spending ... Perhaps the Jehovah Witnesses may have something right as much as they can be very unreasonable in their talking ...
Ah, yes, it’s that time of year again, when politicians and zealots who apparently have nothing better to do, work themselves into a lather over an imaginary “War on Christmas.” Well, this atheist has no problem with being wished a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or whatever, and if the polling the Economist refers to is accurate, many other people of all creeds don’t worry about it, either. Come on, culture warriors, it’s time to move on; both Christmas and Christianity have somehow survived all the alleged nefarious plots against them. I’m sure there are plenty of other non-issues out there just waiting for your righteous indignation. Happy Holidays!
Despite the sadly PREDICTABLE slant the establishment-serving Economist's take on any subject, this time cultural war (the ruling elites of the West carry on on their fellow ordinary citizens as elites pursue their selfish globalist, thus multi-culti and PC agenda) ....
being able to wish each other, also at stores, public places, waiting in Christmas season long lines at the US Post Office
again, is putting smile, ease, relaxed face after the opression, especially during B. Hussein Obama's 8 years of PC push.
I see my fellow Americans, in our well to do suburb of NYC feeling that the burden of opression felt from them ....
similar to feeling we saw in Central and Eastern Europe as communism collapsed.
Free at last, free at last.
So yes, President Trump sent the right and much appreciated signal, that - at the White House and million of places across this great land - it will be Merry Christmas again, not the castrated, intentionally the culture of the majority neutralizing, generic and un-American Happy Whatever.
With tax cut YUUUUGE bonuses, even for millions of employees and taxpayers, President Trump continues to build the foundation for well-deserved 2nd term. ... Regardless how the Bushes, establishment .... or The Economist propagandists are interpreting things.
"..... after the opression, especially during B. Hussein Obama's 8 years of PC push."
Who should we believe- you or our lying eyes??????
"All this suggests that the bigger a cultural phenomenon becomes, the wider the range of meanings. Ordinary people seem to get that. Zealots don’t."
Ouch for "bigger a cultural phenomenon...."
It's not getting "bigger" but the number of people increases - dangerously fast , I'd say. As such, the newcomers attach a modern, personal twist to some ancient, popular habits; ordinary old folk seem to not get it, though :)
Merry Christmas, y'all!
We celebrate Christmas because it is nine months (give or take) after Mary was told she would have a child, four days after the Solstice which is significant because the number four is only one more than the number three. Since this child was possibly born somewhere between BCE 1 and CE 7 the three Mesopotamians bringing a metal, embalming fluid and a herb to an infant they'd never met following lights in the sky would have had a fairly long trek.
This is why a Bishop from Asia Minor flies through the sky in early December in some cultures and later on in the month in other cultures. Bear in mind that this date is ten days out following the switch from the Julian calendar so St Nic might have flown around the time of 'Old Christmas', closer to the Epiphany when the Mesopotamians/Persians brought their thoughful gifts.
Interesting. Thank you.
I've seen and heard Merry Christmas broadcast, audibilized, even printed, more this year than in at least a decade.
As I wrote above, from what we hear from our relatives on the West Coast, what we see here on the East Coast (NorthEast), outside of NYC, people with refresing GUSTO and emphasis wish each other Merry Christmas much more frequently than in the past (while the last year, post Nov 8th elections, pre-Christmas season was already marked by this phenomena.
People seems to enjoy renewed pride that, especially but not only after the previous 8 years of extra official (governmental, K-12 system, media) and corporate globalist emphasis on majority culture intentionally castrating and neutralizing "generic" Happy Whatever they feel it is "safe" again to wish, each other, at the public, Merry Christmas.
The last time we witnessed such broad sense of relief in expressing inner feelings was when Communist regimes felt in Central and eastern Europe and people felt joy and freedom from fear to say what was on their mind.
And Trump era major stock indexes, YUUUGE tax cut, are MAGA.
The Christian character of Christmas is eroding
Modernity is eroding the Christian character of Christmas.
However saying Happy Holidays, in stead of Merry Christmas, people don't realize that "Holy days" is also a Christian expression.
Also, people don't realize that vanishing Christianity, will vanish our way of life, and even life itself, by vanishing the concept of raising children in family, and family altogether.
As you can see in the low demographic rate in many countries.
This is quite pessimistic. It can be that vanishing Christianity will change the idea of the family. The problem is, of course, that it is not clear if this new definition of the family will guarantee a sutvival of the Western civilization.
Christmas is a Capitalist invention to sell cheap plastic throwaway goods made by wage slaves from China that make $5.00 USD per day. Toys R US just entered Chapter 11 Bankruptcy this Christmas season. Sears Inc. has the Christmas spirit this year too because Santa's little evil accountant elves have calculated out the probability of Sears Inc. entering Chapter 11 Bankruptcy by this time next year which gives the employees of Sears Inc. the rest of their lives off work and plenty of time to study the historiography of Capitalism & Christianity next year.
In contemporary society the most sought after gift Capitalism has to offer is a new iphone from Apple Inc. that costs almost $1k USD. Apple Inc. offshores all their hundreds of billions of USD denominated dollars in profit so that the IRS can't tax it to support the American government coffers like the US Treasury Department. And the Treasury Department orders more money printing by the Federal Reserve when they have to print money for tax cuts for the rich American shareholders of Apple Inc. stock.
America worships the Federal Reserve Bank printing presses, and the Rothschild Oligopoly. Christianity is just the smoke & mirrors they use to separate you and your money so the Oligopolists can appropriate it for themselves.
That's what Christmas is about, Charlie Brown.
Christmas was created so Romans who converted would have a holiday to celebrate in December in place of Saturnalia which was the biggest holiday in the pagan Roman year. The Biblical evidence is Jesus was actually born in late spring between 34 and 70 BC. However the converted Romans celebrated Christmas just like they celebrated Saturnalia. They went out, got drunk, fought, vandalized property, extorted food and drink from the wealthy and generally rioted.
The first war on Christmas was started by the Protestants who declared that Christmas was actually Saturnalia relabeled as Christmas. So they generally did NOT celebrate it at all. In Boston in 1659, the celebration of Christmas was actually made illegal until 1681. The modern custom of family get togethers and Christmas presents was started in New York City in the early 1800s in an attempt to get people to celebrate Christmas in a more civil manner that did not require rioting and burning down the city. This became the normal way to celebrate Christmas today.
The war on Christmas today was really an attempt to make Christmas a totally secular holiday devoid of any Christian religious significance. Modern Christmas turned out to have a major influence on other religions. Hannukah was not the big holiday it is today compared to Passover and Hannukah gifts was a practice adopted from Christmas. Kwanzaa was specifically promoted as an alt-Christmas celebration but that aspect of Kwanzaa was dropped as it become popular because so many blacks are practicing Christians.
The real irony is the religious aspect of Christmas is actually the last aspect of Christmas. It started out as a hedonistic pagan celebration, became a materialistic excuse to shop and only became a significant religious event after it had become a wide spread practice among Americans. Christmas and Easter are the two events where submarine Christians surface to attend church services.
So saying Happy Holidays is significant. It minimized the religious reason for the holiday and makes Christmas just a big shopping spree as it is in Japan. The Japanese who are almost all Buddhists and Shintoists celebrate Christmas too but only as a celebration of social status bragging. For devout Christian Americans this is wrong even if the religious aspect of Christmas is actually the revisionist practice.
For us, Merry Christmas is still culturally very meaningful and symbolic and worth supporting, celebrating, promoting, and cherishing as important part of the culture which made this chunk of Earth so good for so many people over so many generations.
Then, for example that obviously badly failed, artificial attempt by radical nationalist extremists, called Kwanza, a wannabe part of the generic "Happy Holidays" is beyond any globalist and establishment effort to resurrection.
So, with renewed joy, now again without oppression of PC shaming us for recognizing and celebrating the majority culture: Merry Christmas ... to all!
Most of the right-wingers who claim that there's a "war on Christmas" simply don't like the decline of their dominance over society in general. They yearn for the days of mandatory school prayer and bible readings, when LGBT individuals stayed in the closet, and non-Christians just kept quiet while some Christians used government to spread their religion. They don't like the fact that you don't have to be a devout Christian to enjoy the season. They don't like the disappearance of manger scenes from taxpayer-supported properties (apparently having them on church grounds isn't enough). In other words, they don't like the competition.
Some of the right-wingers don't even like most of the holiday symbols because they're not biblical in origin, but they're probably a small minority. Kirk Cameron's movie "Saving Christmas" (2014) was a terrible attempt to explain away the pagan origins of the holiday symbols. The only holiday movie that's worse that "Saving Christmas" is the Star War Holiday Special, broadcast only once (1978) and never released on home video (it's on YouTube).
Non-religious people -- who are increasing in number, by the way -- like myself, can enjoy the season by reminding ourselves that late December was a time of celebration long before the rise of Christianity, with the focus being on the Winter Solstice, a natural event. Most of the holiday symbols come from the old Winter Solstice celebrations. When the early Christian leaders decided that the birth of their mythical savior Jesus could no longer be overlooked, they found that the bible provided no information on when he was born (if "shepherds were in the field keeping watch over their flock by night", it probably wasn't in the dead of winter). So, to help convert the pagans, they decided to adopt the Winter Solstice symbols and celebrations as their own. The rebirth of the Sun became the birth of the Son.
Until a few centuries ago, the season was more like Mardi Gras rather than a quiet time to be with family and friends. The good time-avoiding Puritans disliked the rowdiness so much that they banned Christmas (party poopers).
Watch the History Channel's "Christmas Unwrapped: A History of Christmas." It's very informative.
Happy Holidays and Happy Winter Solstice from an atheist who enjoys the holiday season!
The origins of Christmas was in the pagan holiday of Saturnalia BUT it has since turned into the second holiest Christian holiday. Christmas and Easter are the two Christian holidays where submarine Christians surface to attend church services that they avoid the rest of the year. Much of the symbols of Christmas such as the Christmas tree are taken from older pagan religions as a way of subverting them. So they have been made Christian much like baptizing makes a pagan into a Christian. The fact that Puritans once did not celebrate Christmas does not change the fact that they now celebrate it.
The War on Christmas is a war on Christianity. This is evident in a town in Pennsylvania where a Christmas display is banned because it actually celebrates the religious purpose of Christmas by actually putting the name "Jesus" in big letters in the manger scene. A manger scene can be a secular historical scene but the word "Jesus" makes it clearly religious.
All the stories about attempts to ban Christmas displays seem to come exclusively from atheists. Jewish, Muslim and even pagan groups do not object, At worst they want their own displays along side the Christmas displays.
We are not by any measure "right wingers" and we support the struggle of fellow citizens (not only our family members) who are LGBTIA), care deeply about environment, climate change and everything on any "progressive" list but we, like many people in our community outside of NYC for second time (last year, after Nov 8 elections) enjoy wishing each other and at public places from retail stores, to gas station all the way to USPS, Merry Christmas! with obvious emphasis differentiating it from the castrated, initially the cultural tradition neutralizing Happy Whatever.
Joy and relief we see in faces of our fellow citizens reminds us of similar sense of fear and oppression falling away when in Central and eastern Europe the communist tyranny felt.
One really has to ask why it should be considered "politically incorrect" to offer wishes of a "Merry Christmas", especially in a country where ca. 70% of the population identify as Christian! Moreover, when uttered, such anodyne wishes are infinitely more social in nature than religious.
Who were the principal proponents of this distorted notion in the first place? Retailers? The media?
The Jewish 2% of the population, it would seem, are not content with having hijacked US foreign policy in the Middle East, held it hostage to their own unconditionally - if not to say blindly - pro-Israel agenda, but also seen fit to dictate how the rest of the population should express its end-of-year greetings.
Strange that it seems to remain perfectly acceptable to wish someone "Happy Eid" or, more to the point, "Happy Hanukkah"!
For once, and I never thought I'd ever hear myself say this, I agree with Mr Trump.
So its the fault of the Jews. Where have I heard this before?
Actually it was Christmas that hijacked Hannukah. It became a much bigger holiday in the USA than it used to be as a reaction to the rise of Christmas. Hannukah gifts are a direct response to Christmas gifts because so many Jewish kids were asking why they did not get gifts. The attempt to replace "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays" is really an attempt by secular liberals to reduce and eliminate the religious aspect of Christmas.
It is not much a war on Christmas but a war on Christianity. Until the 1800s Christmas was a Roman Catholic holiday and was not celebrated by Protestants. Christmas became a serious Christian holiday only after Protestants started to celebrate it as well. It was mainly Protestant that made Christmas an actual holy holiday. In the old days, Christmas was just an excuse to get drunk for Roman Catholics. Today Christmas is one of only two Christian holidays that submarine Christians will surface and attend church services. The other being Easter. However because there is a secular aspect to Christmas, it can be attacked without it being obvious that it is a direct attack on Christianity.
As a devout Pagan, I have no animosity to the Christians that co-oped my sacred end of year celebration, and understand that when they wish me a Merry Christmas it is meant as a gesture of goodwill.
I don't understand why they can't seem to treat me the same way when I wish them Happy Holidays. Wasn't there something about "do unto others"?
As a devout pagan, shouldn't your greeting be Happy Solstice? The idea of Merry Christmas and Happy Hunnukah is for people to acknowledge their own holidays. For that matter what is so happy about Hannukah? The devout Jews I know celebrate Hunnukah as a set of solemn holy days restricted to Jews. Bright Hannukah decorations, parties and gifts are borrowed Christmas practices that only secular Jews do.
As I wrote in more detail in comments above: Seeing fellow citizens in our town (outside of NYC) wishing each other, with GUSTO, Merry Christmas! also at any public place, from retail store to USPO and yes, at our high school ...
seeing sign of relief that at least some of that oppressive PC tyranny is falling aside .... remind us of similar, universal sight of relief from fear that we saw in Central and eastern Europe when communist totality was coming to end and people felt safe and relieved to say again whats on their mind.
Merry Christmas should not "exclude" or make anyone "not welcome" as long as s/he feels appreciative enough of this country which had done so much and continues to do so much good to so many.
All I know is at Chritsmas time, I break my modest bank. There are so many Christmas presents to get for my family and friends. I write "Season's Greetings" if I know the recipient is a devout some other religion, "Happy Holidays" if he or she a religius-none, and "Merry Christmas" if he/she is a Christian. For everyone, I always write "And a Happy and Healthy New Year?" As to what I hear in return, it never occurred to me to take offense what catergory I am put in. I don't think people by and large deliberately say something at this time of the year to pick a fight. But then, we don't know about the President (as reported by article). Good on Ivanka to do what she thinks is right for her. What a stupid thing to turn this into another "either you die or I die but it is better that you die" issue.
Some enterprising Greeting Cards company should make a gereric card with a picture of a globe that is the Earth seen from space, lit up in neon colors, and inside a list of check-boxes with the usual multiple choices (see Erasmus article), and 2 final choices of "None of the Above", followed by "ALL of the Above." Maybe too late for 2017, but 2018 OK.
As I wrote above: we on the East Coast (Northeast) and our relatives on the West Coast, people we meet at work, at public (stores, USPS, etc.) are wishing - with obvious, renewed GUSTO Merry Christmas!
The last time we saw such joy and freedom from fear falling aside was when people in Central and eastern Europe were again able to say whats on their mind as communist tyranny felt aside.
As a cradle-Catholic, this whole debate seems wrongheadded.
Yuletide only *starts* December 25th. If anything, all the "Merry Christmas"/"Happy Holidays" that's been going on since Black Friday is a War on Advent.
(nice picture of San Francisco City Hall, btw!)
Faulty. the conclusion reached that Americans are more and more preferring the happy holidays adage is completely biased and based upon the assumption that people are willingly saying that. I would counter argue that people may be saying that more than Merry Christmas because they may be trying to escape persecution or unintentionally offending someone. Saying Merry Christmas in the workplace for example is a recipe for disaster because there will always be the one person who gets offended.
Years of PC castrating the majority culture for not exactly noble (globalist?) objectives made it too often for my taste rather effective via PC language instrument of manipulation of the masses. Communist were - by comparison - amateurs in that sense.
Now, when people at our workplace, at public places, at stores, USPS etc. wish each other, with GUSTO "Merry Christmas", instead of the castrated Happy Whatever .... we see in peoples faces the same joy, same relief, same sense of freedom from fear .... we saw in Eastern Europe as oppressive communist tyranny was falling aside.
Of all the issues in the world to care about- drug addiction, war, climate change, disease- holidays greeting terms has got to be one of the most pointless preoccupations.
No one should be offended by hearing Merry Christmas- it has long stopped being an exclusively or even a primarily religious holiday and is celebrated by non Christians all over the world. Even if it was a religious holiday why would you be offended? I lived in Muslim countries and could not imagine being offended by someone saying "Have a happy Eid al-Fitr" even when they know I am not muslim. I would greet them similarly.
Trump is an outrage machine and I am glad he is getting little result out of this particular "outrage".
Like you I believe that getting or being exposed to greeting Merry Christmas should not offend anyone as if anyone or any public or commercial display wishing me Happy Hannukah or Happy al-Filtr doesn't and shouldn't "offend" me.
Those wishes and holidays are not in any hostile, harmful or disrespecting ways aimed at anyone, thus should be welcomed or, at least, politely and sincerely tolerated.
But President Trump was right that there was (and still is) a comprehensive, long lasting war on Christmas, as fact on the ground, in real life, starting with systematic and intentional castration of (still very large) majority of population most important annual holiday.
Being Jewish I was - unlike the regular and predictable NYTimes colums every year - NOT "offended" by mentioning Christmas in pre-Christmas season in media and everywhere and didn't cry for neutralizing it by Happy Whatever.
Whatever holy or other holiday any religion or ethnic group wish to celebrate, wish each other or the public or me ... should not offend anyone and NO, especially nationwide, coordinated, all-out effort to silence it should be taken or exist.
My dream - and it used to be reality in some enlightened cultures - is a world where at Christmas, the non-Christians wish those of us who are Christians, a Happy Christmas, and where we Christians extend similar good wishes to our Jewish friends and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists for their respective festivals.
How nice that you can tell a persons religion just by looking. That's why Happy Holidays is the best choice.
Much of the time you can tell just by looking. When a store is selling nothing but Christmas stuff, I say Merry Christmas since the store and its personnel are obviously looking forward to some merry Christmas sales regardless of their actual religion. It has been some years since I saw any Hannukah items for sale. Hannukah is a rather solemn holy day and attempts to make it into a cash holiday like Christmas have failed.
Those who are devout are normally not shy about showing off their religion on their holy days. The secular ones usually do not care.
Then Democrats are telling us, clearly, consistently, not only by their IDENTITY politics and often even withy awful and public treats for those who dare not to comply with their stereotypes and PC doctrine ...
continue to tell us and order us if we don't comply ...
that we are visibly women or people of colour
thus we OUGHT, must vote for Democrats
or we are crazy, voting against our "natural" self-interests
or just naive or paid stooges for GOP or racists and such.
So, Democrats, all those SJWs, activists, media pundits, Hollywood celebs, etc. "can tell" just from seeing that we have 2 mammal glands or enough of skin pigmentation .... we have, must be Dem voters.
Look at your calendar ( at least 99% of them )...Dec. 25th...Christmas Day!...so I'll say Merry Christmas to everyone...and Bah Humbug to those that take offense...hey, you can take it as having religious connotation or as a day and time of year to enjoy, relax and have a little extra happiness...so, once again, Merry Christmas!...plus it's a day off from work - for most people anyway...
Merry christmas to you too....
and is it THAT big a deal. No one takes offence unless you are saying it as a matter of shoving-in-the-face greeting to someone who isnt a Christian. At the end, both parties involved in the communication know if one means merry christmas as its supposed to, or if he is a zealot trying to make a point.
B. Hussein Obama's administration was supposedly preparing "Guidance" that would eliminate that "Christmas Day" entry in any calendar that K-12, colleges, institutions of any kind receiving a single dollar of federal government funds from any and all calendars they a) produce or b) buy and use.
This was, of course, done per Holder?Lynch DoJ and EEOC "advice" to prevent "discrimination" and "feeling of not being welcomed" by any potential offendee.
On other hand, Kwanza Days were supposed toi be added ... in order to compensate for past injustices and with a note that as any racial minority "can be actually racist, because it doesn't hold dominating power" having Kwanzaa in calendar instead of Christmas Day can't be accepted as a complain by any member of majority population.
Note: The above is a Fake News .... but we knew what direction the trend was pointing. Not that long ago "trigger warning", "safe space", end of any resemblance of (academic) freedom of speech were things that even Orwell in his 1984 was not able to imagine ... yet those are nationwide, prevailing daily practices on American college campuses.
"B. Hussein Obama's administration was supposedly preparing "Guidance" that would eliminate that "Christmas Day" entry in any calendar that K-12, colleges, institutions of any kind receiving a single dollar of federal government funds from any and all calendars they a) produce or b) buy and use."
Would you have any of this SUPPOSED evidence? Please share this- I'm dying to know which part of the rightwing feverswamp you dwell in.....
Right wingers, the biggest snowflakes of them all.
Do you feel better now?
At least 50 years ago, people understood that the "war on Christmas" was being waged by people with things to sell. The "Christmas" that was left by the time the right-wing decided there was a "war on Christmas" wasn't really Christmas at all. $-mas is more like it.
Is "Black Friday" part of the "war on Christmas?" Is starting "Black Friday" on Thanksgiving part of the "war on Christmas?"
I recommend Dr. Demento's Greatest Christmas Novelty Songs to show who has really been making war on Christmas.
A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas have the save themes. And it's all "libtard" stuff.
200 years ago when the practice of Christmas gifts first started, it was supposed to be only for the children in celebration of the birth of Jesus. While Catholic churches would have Christmas mass, Protestant churches were generally closed on Christmas day as they did not consider Christmas to be a proper Christian holiday. The practice of giving gifts to everyone was started by the New York City department stores to increase their December sales.
It was only AFTER the celebration of Christmas became wide spread among Protestants in the late 1800s that it became a serious holy holiday. The war on Christmas is really a war on Christianity by secular liberals. Because of the gifts and the overlap with Hannukah, attacking Christmas is not so obviously an attack on Christianity even though that is the intent.
But not only as someone whose family celebrates both Hannukah (and High Holidays of Judaism) and Christmas, I would say that it was ACLU and their decades of lawsuits aimed at public display of nativity Scene and any mentioning of Christmas (at schools etc.) which was part of sidelining and getting away with thye main holiday of majority population.
Hollywood, "mainstream" media, starting with annual pre-Christmas articles in NYTimes crying how those of us who celebrate Hannukah are supposedly "excluded" from all that ooopla and noise.
These efforts (then also supplemented by ill fated effort by one Black Panther and radical nationalist to crate fake holidays Kwanzaa) had long-term and broadly-felt impact as desired by their promoters. It is can be labeled as "War on Christmas" I leave to others to judge but it surely looked like such cultural and political war.