Do they know it’s Christmas?

Do they know it’s Christmas?

Syndicated columnist Betsy Hart writes about the holiday whose name we dare not speak—Christmas. I am so sick of “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings.” I don’t buy “holiday” gifts, I don’t send “holiday” cards, I don’t put up a “holiday” tree or “holiday” lights, I don’t play “holiday” music. What holiday?! Christmas, of course! Sometimes, it’s not even “holiday” season. In Pittsburgh, they call it “Sparkle” season. What the heck is that supposed to signify?

Betsy gives an example of how far the absurdity has gone:

In a current commercial for a pet store, a woman is “spoiling” her new puppy. She’s buying him all sorts of little doggie gifts. Her husband admonishes her, and her reply? But honey, “it’s his first holiday!”

First “holiday?” What, Halloween?

Why is it forbidden to say what holiday? Nobody seems to shy to mention Halloween, Thanksgiving, or even Eid or Yom Kippur. And in a weird twist, even Easter isn’t so loaded with circumlocutions.

I think it’s because Christmas has been co-opted. People who do not wish to be burdened by the demands that recognition of the birth of Christ places upon us still want the “tidings of joy” that the Advent and Christmas seasons give us. December is permanently imbued with a sense of happiness and goodwill that comes out of Christians’ joy at the birth of the Savior. Now, our secular society has done away with the Savior, but wants to keep the joy. The problem is that it’s like taking away the football game, but leaving the fans to cheer in the stands. It’s a hollow, empty, cheer.

I know it’s trite and a cliche, but it really is true: Jesus is the reason for the season. Without him it’s just so much play-acting and dress-up.

For the next six weeks, I will be aggressive in my Christmas and Advent joy. I will gladly let everyone know what season we are celebrating by wishing them a “Merry Christmas.” And my bet is that many people will find that a refreshing return to a custom they’re sad we lost.

Merry Christmas! Happy Advent!

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • Todd opines:

    “As for wishing a non-Christian “Merry Christmas” I might liken it to someone wishing me Happy Birthday several months off. “

    You might liken it to your birthday, Todd, but that seems just a tad egocentric to me, if you’ll forgive my saying so. I mean, would you be offended or even puzzled if someone, on Friday afternoon, wished you Shabbat Shalom? I would hope not—even though presumably your Sabbath is more than 24 hours later.

    Christmas is Christmas. People that try and liken it to “just another holiday” make me nuts.

    Although let’s remember: the etymology of the term “holiday” is “Holy Day.”

  • I just bought some stamps. When the post office lady asked me if I’d like “holiday stamps,” I thought of this thread and said “no thank you, but I would like some Christmas stamps.” The post office lady and everybody in line cracked up. Then the post office lady said softly to me: “I’m assuming you’d prefer the Madonna with Child rather than Rudolph?” I coulda kissed her!

    Anyway, I think probably the people who work in stores (and post offices) have to use the PC “holiday” term or risk losing their jobs.

    By the way: Happy New Year, everybody!

  • Joanne,

    I got mine at the post office at the Pru—just around the corner from Saint Francis Chapel. But gee, I only got enough for the usual office stuff, not cards. Your post reminds ME that’d I’d better get more pronto—before you buy out the store! wink

  • I’ll bet you didn’t see that joke, GOR o’ Mine, recently or otherwise. I’ll bet you made it up yourself. Nobody says “sheesh” in jokes.

    (‘Course the point could be made that a certain web-site which uses “sheesh” a lot is, in fact, a joke…)

    Anyway, good news…the Museum of Fine Art Store in Boston sells beautiful, religious Christmas Cards! How they get away with it, given its NEA funding, is beyond me, but there you are!