Conservatives like to convince the easily convinced that there’s a war on Christmas, as if Christmas were some kind of quaint old-fashioned notion under threat of extinction, like quilting or personal privacy. But Christmas is huge. Christmas is the global superpower of holidays. In the supposed war on Christmas, Christmas has all the military advantage: a vast propaganda machine across government, media and the military-industrial-tinsel complex; covert “Secret Santa” operations; the winning of hearts and minds with cookies; and the psychological warfare of bright lights and Mariah Carey.
That there could be some kind of war on Christmas is unthinkable. A border skirmish on Christmas, maybe; a UN sanction on Christmas, tops.
What’s happened over the years, though, is that those who don’t celebrate Christmas have become more vocal in their demands to be included in what you have to admit is a pretty awesome time of year. And really, it’s not as though Christmas has anything against the other holidays. It’s just that Christmas is so big and powerful that sometimes it forgets the other holidays exist at all. Christmas is like the United States, and the other holidays are Canada.
Nonetheless, governments and business have tried to make the holiday more inclusive by, for example, wishing their constituents “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” — which drives the True Keepers of Christmas nuttier than a box of Turtles. “Say ‘Season’s Greetings’ and the terrorists win!” No, no they don’t. The terrorists might smirk humorlessly, but they won’t win.
And here’s the thing: Christmas is barely a Christian holiday anymore anyway. It was a Christian holiday. Well, first it was a pagan holiday, then it was co-opted by the Christians, then it was co-opted by the capitalists and now it’s pretty much been co-opted by the conservatives. But as a religious holiday, Christmas in North America is like Joan Rivers after all her plastic surgeries: barely recognizable.
Whether secular or religious, though, the heart of Christmas remains intact: the hope for better days and of peace and joy.
Unfortunately, the made-up war on Christmas is making some people hold back on expressing their seasonal hopes in the way they would like, which I think is a shame. In fact, I would like to express myself, with a song:
And that’s it, which makes me think, if we must declare war on something, it should be on horribly sung musical parodies. Merry Christmas, everyone.
I feel badly about making you listen to that, but not badly enough that I don’t suggest that if you would like to hear this piece in its entirety as it originally aired on CBC Radio’s “Breakaway,” or if you’re reading this on a mobile and the Grooveshark widget isn’t visible, just follow the link.