Friday, December 01, 2006

Editorial statement for Dec. 2006: "Merry Christmas"

December 2005 was a very interesting time, because what can only be called a popular uprising helped force many retailers to stop saying the generic "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings" and to say again, "Merry Christmas". Halfway through the month, some retailers went through the trouble of changing their signs. At this time last year, I even wrote a column on this topic that appeared in my local newspaper. Once I find it (the link no longer works, I just found out), I'll post it here.

This time around, many retailers - still smarting from last year's experiences - now are saying "Merry Christmas" from the get-go. While retailers may be money-grubbing, they ain't stupid. No doubt they've been contacted by groups pressuring them to put Christmas back in their holiday - er, sorry... Christmas - season. Retailers who are still not on board better watch themselves, because these guys are organized!

The thing is, the whole concept of a busy Christmas season of rushing to buy gifts, food, and all else that goes with this time of the year has come about mostly because of the retailers. In other words, they took Christmas's tradition of gift-giving and basically ran with it. And ran. And ran. And ran, until it's now the mega shopping season that it is now. However, somewhere along the line, they got the idea that saying "Christmas" offends us, so slowly but surely they've been replacing "Merry Christmas" with the generic "Happy Holidays" and "Seasons Greetings". The change-over had been so complete that up until 2005, very few retailers were still saying the dreaded "C" word so as to not offend. Well, they couldn't have been more wrong about not being offensive.

I joined the bandwagon last year not only because I'm Christian (Catholic, speficially), but because this type of grassroots uprising is the sort of thing that I wish would happen more often. We've become a largely apathetic society, and we've let these changes in our society happen to us with barely a peep. Now we have all kinds of things that have made it into our lawbooks because we haven't voiced our opposition to such changes loudly enough - if at all.

But as this push for Christmas has shown, when we band together, we can get things done, and we can make the "powers that be" stand up and take notice. "The people" have made enough noise that some retailers have heard them, and are now they are obeying the people's will. Retailers, however, can be pushovers so long as their bottom line is threatened. The real test of the power of the public will is going to be in the halls of legislatures, which currently are beholden to special interest groups. However, if the public will can be obeyed in this one instance, it can work in other areas. It's stories like this that keeps my hope in mankind alive that not all of us are morally dead.

And one last thing regarding retailers: In a recent visit to Sears, they had signs that said, "Merry Christmas". They also had signs that said, "Happy Holidays". They even had signs that said, "Feliz Navidad". In other words, they were covering their bases and saying all three. That's probably what retailers should have done all along, and had they thought about it, they could have avoided this whole situation before it got started.

Of course, there's still retailers who still won't say the dreaded "C" word. And there's public institutions such as city halls, state capitols, and federal offices that still won't utter the "C" word as well - giving us instead names such as "sparkle season" or "winter festival". Well, I've come up with a way for you folks who want to say "Merry Christmas" and get away with it. :-)

If anyone takes offense that you want to say "Merry Christmas" then say "Feliz Navidad" instead. That's still "Merry Christmas" but in Spanish. No doubt, the Scrooges that try to suppress you will know this as well, but it would be politically incorrect for them to keep you from saying "Feliz Navidad", because that's the language of the immigrants that have been in the news so much for most of this year. If they still try to stop you, then tell them that they are anti-immigrant and xenophobic, because that's how the immigrants say "Merry Christmas".

Just make sure you say it right. It's pronounced, "feh-leez nah-vee-dahd", and be sure to say 'dahd' almost like the word "dot" but softer. Once you've mastered this, then you'll be free to say "Merry Christmas" all you want in a way that the grinches can't stop you. ;-)

Coming up this month are other Christmas related topics.

Merry Christmas, folks!
*~<[]:-)> <---That's supposed to be Santa, by the way.


UPDATE: For some reason, I couldn't get the comment below to publish like it's supposed to, so I'm posting it here instead. It's from JB, the author of Opinion Dump.

Great minds must think alike, because I was just about to make this topic my next blog article.

In fact, groups ARE pressuring companies to respect Christmas for what it is. Last year, I was part of the American Family Association's drive to pressure Wal-Mart and other companies to go back to wishing people a merry Christmas (among other things). AFA got a LOT of people to sign petitions, and the companies do, in fact, listen. AFA goes a little overboard at times, but getting a "Merry Christmas" from a company while they're busy pushing Christmas stuff on us during Christmastime? I don't know about you, but it seems rather appropriate to me.

Personally, I think that if you're a Christian, other people should be able to tell in some way. If you're a Jew, show it. If you're a Muslim, have some sign on you. As a Christian, I plan on obtaining a small crucifix pin that I can have on my coat lapel so that when I go through a checkout line, folks can be sure that it's safe to wish me a merry Christmas.

Why exactly are we doing this stealth thing about possessing a given faith? We're encouraged to value differences in our society, yet politics and religion are taboo topics in public.

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