HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
December 11, 2006, Herald Journal

For some, it is still Christmas

By IVAN RACONTEUR

The absurdity of life is a constant source of entertainment.

At this time of year, some of the best examples of this come from the ongoing debate over the political correctness of Christmas.

In recent years, this debate has caused anguish on the part of retailers, employers, school districts, and even government entities.

At the core of the controversy is the apparently malevolent greeting, “Merry Christmas.”

Some sensitive individuals evidently take offense at being greeted in this way.

They say it is insensitive and offensive to their faith.

If they have no religion, they say that the perpetrator is trying to impose religion on them.

Apparently, the tolerance advocated by some of these people only works one way.

If they do not celebrate Christmas, that is their business. This does not mean that they can prevent others from celebrating the holiday.

Whatever one’s beliefs, it is preposterous that someone would actually be offended by such an innocuous greeting as “Merry Christmas.”

What is next?

A campaign to ban other malignant expressions, such as “Have a nice day?”

There was a time when society would have dismissed these crackpots, but for some bizarre reason, they have been given credence lately, and this has led to the castigation of all things related to Christmas.

Schools have jumped on the band wagon and tried to eliminate any reference to the odious subject on school grounds.

“Christmas vacation,” has become “winter break.”

Offensive symbols, such as Christmas trees, have been banned.

One supposes that if some people have their way, the greatest villain of them all, known by various aliases, including Santa Claus, Father Christmas, and Old St. Nick, will be hunted down and exterminated.

The hysteria has spread to other areas of society, as well.

In the workplace, many employers have backed away from the traditional Christmas party in favor of a winter party.

Some have even moved the annual celebrations from December to January to further distance them from the dreaded holiday.

“Christmas trees,” where they are still allowed, are now called “holiday trees.”

The playing of Christmas music has been banned in some places due to subversive language.

“Christmas cards” have become “holiday cards.”

Some of these cards eliminate any reference to a specific holiday, or, even more ludicrous, some have taken to listing every possible winter holiday the designers could think of, in an effort to be all-inclusive, and avoid offending anyone.

Presumably, the geniuses who came up with this plan are related to the clowns who have forced us to post voting instructions in 57 languages in our polling places, and offer driving tests in a multitude of languages other than English (no doubt they will soon change our traffic signs as well, as soon as they can figure out how to fit all of the other languages in the space available).

Maybe they will eliminate words altogether, and just use those stupid “international” symbols, so no one will be offended, and everyone will be equally confused as to what they are supposed to mean.

Retailers, including huge international corporations, have also struggled with the Christmas conundrum.

The controversy over whether to allow references to Christmas in stores has spilled over into a public debate.

It has even been suggested that those who allow Christmas in their stores are somehow being courageous.

Rest assured, though, that the leaders of these companies are not cowering in their board rooms, wringing their hands over whether or not they might offend someone.

They are worried about which course of action will net them the greatest profits. Their job is to make money, and that is what motivates their decisions.

Fortunately, the tide seems to be turning.

More and more people are awakening to the absurdity of political correctness.

There are those who will always find reasons to take offense where none is intended.

But, we cannot allow these people to dictate what is acceptable to the rest of society.

We cannot allow these would-be grinches to steal our Christmas.

It is true that there are religious elements to the origin of Christmas.

But, it is also true that many of the traditions and messages surrounding the holiday are not limited to any religious or ethnic group.

It is difficult to find fault with concepts such as “peace on earth and good will to all men.” (perhaps we can even agree to an understanding that this concept also includes good will to all women, without having to get into another debate).

I have always celebrated Christmas, and I always will.

If I drag an evergreen tree, be it real or artificial, into my house in December, it is still a Christmas tree.

When I am driving in my car, I will continue to crank up the Christmas music, and sing along with Bing, Burl, Band Aid, and the rest of the gang, and I don’t especially care who this might offend.

If I want to have a Christmas party, then that is what I am going to call it, and if there are those who choose not to attend for this reason, I can live with that.

I bake Christmas cookies, not “holiday cookies,” and if someone chooses not to eat them in protest, that leaves more for the rest of us.

I still send out Christmas cards, and if any of my friends or acquaintances choose to take offense, that is their problem, not mine.

There are a lot of serious issues facing people today, and life is much too short to worry about the malcontents who create their own excuses to be unhappy. Let us worry instead about those things that really are important.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.