War! (On Christmas): What is it Good for?
1. It is the Holiday Season. I honestly don’t understand the huge objection to “Happy Holidays” as a greeting insofar if we look at the calendar we see a number of holidays that are fairly central to American culture, regardless of any other factors. If one wants to be as myopic as possible we have, at a bare minimum, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve/Day. These are all holidays, as defined as days on the calendar on which certain rituals are observed and for which most people do not have to go to work. In addition there is also Hanukkah and Kwanza (even that mysterious Boxing Day thing in Canada and across the pond). There is also the fact that celebrations at the time of the winter solstice have long-standing historical roots. The end of the year is a time to pause and renew.
Yes, in terms of which religion is dominant, as well as which observance is the main cultural focal point, it is Christmas, but so what? The whole “war on Christmas” bit is very much the dominant group behaving petulantly that they aren’t even more dominant. In other words, it isn’t as if Christmas ceases to be the focal point if some folks say “Happy Holidays” or if some stores have “Holiday sales.”
2.. Christmas is a Holiday. Not to be overly pedantic, but a lot of people seem to want to pretend like “holiday” is some sort of antonym to “Christmas.” However, given that Christmas Day is, in fact, a holiday, the notion that the word is a negation of Christmas makes no sense.
3. Commercialization? One of the things that I find a combination of amusing and annoying about things like worrying about whether Radio Shack uses “Christmas” in their ads or not (it was Target a while a couple of years ago, IIRC) is that groups like AFA area actually actively calling for the commercialization of Christmas. I thought that Christians were supposed to be upset about the commercialization of Christmas (see, e.g., A Charlie Brown Christmas). If, as the saying goes, that Jesus is the “reason for the season” then why would Christian organizations want Radio Shack or other retailers use Christmas in their ads?
In all seriousness, there is a legitimate argument for Christians to make that Christmas is too secularized (indeed, Christmas is extremely secularized, and has been for a rather long time, if not from the beginning of the observation of the holiday, to be honest), but if that is the concern, then I would suggest having Radio Shack out of the “Christmas” game is a good thing, yes?
Of course, at the end of the day much of the problem is the fact that if one really wanted a solely religious Christmas one ought to eschew, entirely, the non-religious aspects of the season, which would include the gifts, the food, the parties, and the decorations. Just ask the Puritans.
Of course, the bottom line of all of this is all about selling books (e.g., Palin), selling ads (e.g., O’Reilly), or fund-raising and free publicity (e.g., the AFA).