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I am pleased to announce that it is now time for the “Annual War on Christmas.”
Brace yourself for the ceremonial de-lighting of the Christmas tree, blowing out of the Menorah candles, and sequestering of the Holy Family. Talk show hosts will decry the “attack on Judeo-Christianity” while children will wonder whether ACLU injunctions will block Santa’s ability to land in their fireplaces.
If the anti-Christmas forces prevail, a new holiday may emerge a la Seinfeld’s “Festivus for the Rest of Us” defined by a barren pole, post-dinner feats of strength, and the airing of grievances.
Like you, I’ve heard remote stories from exotic locations like Missouri where somebody complained about a tree at the State University, and somebody else took it down. Then they put it back the next day without so much a peep from the hordes of pointy-featured anti-Christian infidels who had presumably pointed at it with their long dirty fingernails and screeched oaths against it.
But even though I am sitting here across the street from the State Capitol in Sacramento, where any protest that could take place would, I have not seen any shrapnel, much less any casualties of this war. In fact, the Governor is scheduled to light the tree tonight.
Bereft of any indication of a local battle, I Googled the news to find an example of a good horror story to share with you to establish how this year’s Annual War on Christmas would stack up against last year’s, but frankly, I did not find much. I found stories about Christmas tree lighting ceremonies and charitable work, but not much to do with seasonal anti-Christmas sentiments. Maybe it is because there are still over 20 days left for the anti-Christian forces to do their dirty work before December 26 comes and takes away the fun for this year.
I did find a picture of Bill O’Reilly sitting in front of a Christmas tree graphic that mentions the War on Christmas. I don’t know if it was from this year or last year, but in looking at it, it struck me that it was idiotic to claim that to be protecting the “American way of life” by protecting Christmas trees from infidels and pagans. People who make this argument are forgetting that trees originated as part of the winter solstice celebration at which time little pagan boys and girls would celebrate by cutting down a pine tree and dragging it indoors. In reality, Christians hijacked the winter solstice.
Is there a War on Christmas? I cannot deny that there may be a person or two in the world with nothing better to do than absorb the joy of the season with the precision of the Grinch, but I haven’t met any of them yet. Instead, the idea that there is a War on Christmas out there gives the good folks a sense of victory and cheer whenever they pass by a municipal tree. A famous person, whose name I cannot find, might have uttered an aphorism such as “Beauty is much better appreciated when it is achieved through struggle.” And that would apply here – even if the struggle is against a group that could not care less.
“Take that, you infidels,” say the Christians. “You cannot take away our tree.”
“So what?” they respond.
Lest you think that in denying the existence of a War on Christmas, I am detracting from the magic of the season, let me assure you that I think Christmas trees are wonderful things. I am even now trying to teach our cairn terrier that our plastic tree, which appears to be the progeny of two ambitious toilet brushes, is different from the trees outside. She apparently thinks we have given her a very generous gift.
“No, Penelope,” I have to tell her. “Because we have a tree inside does not mean we have given you indoor plumbing.”
For that, she is going to need to learn how to flush without falling in.
Michael D. Peabody is an attorney writing from Sacramento, California.