Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? Most People Don’t Care


Of U.S. adults polled said it’s appropriate for store employees to say “Merry Christmas” to customers, compared to 8 percent who think it’s inappropriate, according to the latest Morning Consult poll. That’s similar to the 61 percent who said it’s appropriate for staff to wish shoppers “Happy Holidays,” while 13 percent said such well wishes are inappropriate.

The Real War on Christmas: Pilgrims Outlawed It; Congress Stayed in Session on Christmas Day until the 1850s

Culture warriors who are invested in the idea that there is a secular, anti-American “War on Christmas” should avoid watching the History Channel’s documentary, “Christmas Unwrapped: The History of Christmas.” Exposure to the historical facts about the holiday could well make their heads explode.

And we wouldn’t want that. Not at Christmas.

As is widely known, it is unlikely Jesus was born in December, a time when it was usually too cold in the Holy Land for shepherds to be watching their sheep in the fields by night. In fact, the holiday wasn’t dedicated to Jesus’ birthday until centuries later — and only after early Christians had co-opted popular pagan mid-winter festivals from Roman and northern European traditions. Christmas primarily took the place of the Romans’ Saturnalia, which was a celebration of debauchery.

According to the History Channel’s overview of the documentary:


Tea Baggers are Winning the War on the War on Christmas

Jesus wept.

The 2010 War on the War on Christmas is looking to be a shattering success for the American Family Association. On the heels of its addition to the list of hate groups published annually by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Christianist group is spreading its message of holiday — whoops– Christmas joy through an intimidation campaign against prominent retailers.

The AFA has no problem with using Christ’s birthday to sell G-strings and MP3 players and no problem with manipulating their tea bagger base to conflate Jesus with retailing.

Here are the rules, according to the AFA.

Criteria – AFA reviewed up to four areas to determine if a company was “Christmas-friendly” in their advertising: print media (newspaper inserts), broadcast media (radio/television), website and/or personal visits to the store. If a company’s ad has references to items associated with Christmas (trees, wreaths, lights, etc.), it was considered as an attempt to reach “Christmas” shoppers. If a company has items associated with Christmas, but did not use the word “Christmas,” then the company is considered as censoring “Christmas.”

Color Code:

GREEN: Company uses the term “Christmas” on a regular basis, we consider that company Christmas-friendly.
YELLOW: Company refers to Christmas infrequently, or in a single advertising medium, but not in others.
RED: Company may use “Christmas” sparingly in a single or unique product description, but as a company, does not recognize it.

The unfortunately named Dick’s Sporting Goods recently caved to AFA pressure, leading to awkwardly structured pitches. Where before online shoppers could find a selection of “The season’s top scoring gifts,” we wonder if they will now wade through apostrophically-challenged “Christmas’s top gifts?”

We have always found it ironic that the same folks who insist that everyone use the word “Christmas,” in every situation, including on second reference, are the ones who forced such abominations as “Happy Harvest” and “Trunk or Treat” upon us.

But what we find most paradoxical is the AFA’s targeting of Victoria’s Secret. The lingerie retailer predictably made the AFA’s “Naughty” list (we’re not kidding) but not for its depiction of barely dressed, surgically enhanced models such as this:



Tea Bagger: I Took Christmas Decorations Down Because Health Reform Passed

Score one for the opposition in the War on Christmas. This phone call to C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” was the first thing I heard after I turned on the teevee this morning. The Senate had just passed its version health-care reform when Bunny, a right-wing drama queen from Parson, Kansas, phoned in:

BUNNY: Good morning. Yes, I am… very much. I’m so disappointed. I have taken my Christmas tree down. I’ve taken my Christmas wreath off my house. I’ve taken all the lights down. This is supposed to be a nation under God, and it isn’t. They have absolutely ruined Christmas for all the senators and representatives that are supposed to be under God. This is God’s holiday for the birth of his son…

C-SPAN’s Peter Slen: So you took down your Christmas tree because of the Senate health-care bill?

BUNNY: I certainly did, and I would like to see every light in the nation go out — especially in the White House. This is just ridiculous.

C-SPAN: Why are you so opposed to it, Bunny?

BUNNY: Because it is so divisive between my son — who is younger — and myself. And in many families it’s that way. Either it’s genocide on the seniors with this hospice — that’s never supposed to be supported by federal or state money. They are not-for-profit organization [sic] that Germany has even kicked out.

First Shot in the War on Christmas: Fake Obama “Holiday Tree” Rumor

capitoltreelgLet the games begin. There’s a poll going around on Facebook (based on a made-up email) that the Obamas have outlawed the use of the word “Christmas” to describe the green thing that holds up ornaments during the month of December, and insist on calling it a “holiday tree” instead. Anyone who is not a paranoid, gullible, racist, religious moron could smell from a mile away that this doesn’t pass the stink test but it turns out that a surprising number of my Facebook friends are paranoid, gullible, racist, religious morons.

I checked Snopes, the email rumor busting web site, and sure enough, they’ve researched this one. Not only will the Obamas refer to their decorations as being of Christmas in nature, they are even reversing previous Bush-era policies that barred the use of religious symbols on the Capitol Christmas Tree, which is set up on the West Lawn of the Capitol on the Mall.

The Capitol Christmas Trees are cut each year from a national forest, and this year the tree is being provided, ironically enough, by Arizona, Sen. John McCain’s home state. School children, Brownie troops, and retirement community residents in the Grand Canyon State have been busy making ornaments for the tree that reflect Arizona-ness, and according to the photo gallery on the tree’s web site, CapitolChristmasTree2009, we’re going to see a lot of decorated gourds, metal stars, Mr. Sun Faces and cacti. The only Forest Service imposed requirements (and the Forest Service and Architect of the U.S. Capitol are in charge here) were that ornaments had to be weather-proof, not made of glass or plastic, and meet size requirements.

I’m sure this won’t be the end of it. Every year, the “It’s O.K. to say Merry Christmas to me” folks claim to be the victims of a conspiracy of politically correct language that prohibits good Christians from using the word “Christmas.” To level the score, they go ballistic when anyone uses the word, “holiday” instead. The result is a draw. It becomes impossible to know whether it’s more politically incorrect to say “holiday” or “Christmas,” so people sit at keyboards consumed in doubt, not knowing how to proceed.

This year, what with the worked-up birthers, tea baggers, anti-taxers, death panel believers, Klan fans, gun nuts, and anti-government anarchists out there, we can expect even more idiocy.

At Pensito Review, we know exactly what to do. It’s not O.K. to say merry Christmas to us, unless you really mean it and aren’t making an angry political statement.