Okay. So I was watching a commercial on television with my nearly grown children (who undoubtedly were basking in the glow of my presence) when onto the screen loomed a mother, Christmas shopping with her teenage son. Said son whipped out a gift he bought to give to a sibling and mom replied to him in surprised tones, “You bought a holiday present for your brother?!”
“A holiday present?” my children and I replied in unison.
And this would go under the holiday tree? What holiday would that be exactly? I don’t know……Christmas?
I know retailers, in an effort to be financially correct and carve out any possible green from all wallets of any persuasion, have assumed the position of neutrality. “Holiday” and “Holiday Tree” are the new correct terms. But there IS no neutral and there is no need for correction. Guess what? It’s Christmas! It’s about Christ. Being born. For us. In a manger. In Bethlehem. Around this time of year.
When Meredith Wilson penned the now famous words “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” she had an opportunity to use the term “holiday.” She didn’t. And there’s something about, “I’m dreaming of a white holiday,” that just doesn’t have the same warm, fuzzy glow to it. Irvin Berlin knew what worked and called it "the best song he, or anyone, ever wrote." And he was proudly Jewish.
But if the word “Christmas” isn’t safe, what other words might become fiscally or politically offensive to those who want our dollars or would seek to control our beliefs?
What will we do with the song, “O Christmas Tree?”“O holiday tree, O holiday tree,
Thy leaves are so unchanging (well, except of course we understand that nothing is cast in stone and if you want to change we will support your decision),
Not only green when summer’s here (or rather, we mean that time of year when the position of the earth – be it northern or southern hemispheres – is closer to the sun….it is not our intention to limit you to the term ‘summer’),
But also when ‘tis cold and drear (understand that we are not attempting to cast judgment by intimating the positional rotation away from the sun is in any way negative),
O holiday tree, O holiday tree,
Let’s just forget we sang of thee.”
And can “A Charlie Brown Christmas” ever be the same if we must now call it “A Charlie Brown Holiday?” What will we sing when we hear the theme song? This?
“Holiday time is here……”
Perhaps we should change ALL special days to reflect greater inclusion of every possibility and build in apologies as well. Maybe New Year’s Day could be “Culturally and Historically Egocentric Day of Western Civilization Time Marking.” Definitely makes you feel like popping a cork on the bubbly.
We in America err gravely I’m sure to celebrate Independence Day each July Fourth. Far less divisive to call it, “Lack of Cultural Sensitivity Day Wherein We Did Not Strive to Be Good Citizens by Working in Unison With A Somewhat Oppressive, Albeit Temporarily Misguided, Overseas Monarchy That Seemed Unwilling, Or Perhaps Unable, to Represent Our Interests.” Pack that in your fireworks and explode ‘em.
And in celebration, as we raise aloft our sparklers, let us not hail that Star Spangled Banner over the “land of the free.” Let us sew a picture of the whole world onto one flag so as not to celebrate that we in America, with our stars and stripes, are the home of the brave. We may be sending a message that “you, over there, are not.”
So, lift your spiced egg milk product, throw a cement log on the gas jet, let Jack or Jane Frost nip (no, that sounds distinctly like drinking and could be misconstrued as an alcohol endorsement), er, touch you on the nose (if that’s agreeable to you and you do not feel it creates a hostile holiday environment), and sing your non-descript carols. And have yourself a happy little holiday now.
Wow. I feel sort of tingly and sentimental. Don’t you?
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