Thursday, December 8, 2011

The War Over Winter

Let's face it, the holiday season can be rough. Stringing lights, making enough food to feed a small army, being stuck in traffic on the roads and in the shops and dealing with in-laws and distant relations is enough to make even the most sane person reach for a happy pill or some liquid courage. Regardless of your religious leanings, you too will be forced to deal with at least some of the holiday madness; unless you never leave your house.

Now add to this the anxiety that occurs over a simple exchange of what should be pleasantry. You say, "Happy Holidays" to someone, either because you don't know what they celebrate and don't want to make assumptions or you're putting whatever winter holiday they do (or do not) celebrate into a nice little bundle with New Year's. In return, you'll most likely receive a 'You too!' which can range from lake bottom frigid to Midsummer warm but you may run into a viper who can't help but say something along the lines of 'It's Christmas!' in an overly indignant manner. If you work in retail or with the public, you know what I'm talking about. If you've been in the shops at this time of year, you may have seen this snake strike out at a hapless clerk who was just trying to be nice.

To these people I say; get the fuck over it. The fact that Christmas comes at the end of the month (just a week before New Year's) has not escaped my notice in my 28 years on Earth. In fact, despite my being a pagan, I celebrate it with my friends and family. Who can't get behind the idea of swapping gifts beneath a glittery tree with friends, family and hot chocolate laced with peppermint shnapps? What's that you say? I forgot the 'Christ' part of Christmas? Of course I did, I worship other gods and honor other traditions just like all of those other folks who also celebrate other holidays. You know, the ones you cram your Christmas down the throats of.

Let me ask you something, Christmas Crazy, if I were to wish you a Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Eid (when it falls in December), Happy Festivus or A Happy Yule during those holiday's times of celebration this month, would you react with as much grace and dignity as the rest of us? I doubt it, because you're batshit crazy. On the other hand, if some pimply kid at the cash register smiles and wishes me a Merry Christmas, rather than pointing the finger and yelling 'USURPER OF YULE!' at him and ranting and raving about the return of the Sun and the Triumph of the Oak King I smile warmly and wish him one as well. And do you know why? Because that kindness means more than the words that were spoken; if someone sincerely wishes me well, that is what counts. Because those simple kindnesses are few and far between in our increasingly cold, greedy and self serving population. Just ask the people who were pepper sprayed and beaten up over towels at Walmart on Black Friday. Towels, folks.

In a time when people use methods of self defense in order to buy the cheapest quality shit they can lay hands on, we should be grateful for each and every act of kindness we receive; regardless of that person's spirituality, looks, etc. If someone is willing to make eye contact and be warm, you've hit the momentary jackpot. Because personally - as someone who works as a lowest level employee in one of those evil banks right now (because I enjoy things like electricity and eating) and has at least a handful of people a week accuse me of personally stealing their money (in the form of fees) when they overdraft for my personal million dollar a year bonus - I don't say a damn word of holiday cheer. I don't need anymore dirty looks or ugliness to be tossed in my general direction and so, in true Grinch fashion, I'll only wish you a nice day. Which is truly, a bit sad.

So this year, while you're strung out on Starbucks and running a million and one errands to get yourself through the season with not a tear to be shed by anyone (including yourself) take into account that not everyone celebrates the same holidays (or celebrates your holiday for the same reason) as you. If someone wishes you a Happy Holiday/Merry Christmas/Wonderful Winter, sincerely thank them and move on with your day. I celebrate Yule, which will never, ever be something that I am wished a 'very merry' by in a public forum and I'm cool with that. And if I (and numerous other pagans/heathens/witches/etc) can be, then so can you.

Also, some more food for thought. This season, why don't we all take that 'Good will toward man' thing seriously. Because regardless of your religious belief, it's just a damn fine rule for being human! Let's put away the pitchforks and torches. Quit the mud slinging. And no one should be saying "Christ" or get the fuck out, like this asshat who clearly needs to pick up a history book and learn about the why's of certain traditions, symbols and phrases added to our country's wording:


I could say so many things about this, but Kallan over at The Secret Life of an American Working Witch has already cited enough references and reasons that this person should take down their sign and be ashamed - even outside of it just plain being an ugly sentiment. So I'll leave you with this - quit associating holly leaves (which I hold dear at this season) with your ignorance and learn to practice what Christ taught. Because, I doubt he'd be proud of you right now.

20 comments:

  1. This is a great post! I got in a huge argument with my born again Aunt who claims "Happy Holidays" dishonors all religions (um what?) recently so it's nice to hear some sanity! Speaking of sanity, have you seen the Rick Perry ad that has been running where he talks about Christmas being under attack? Ridiculous! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PAJNntoRgA

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  2. Well said!! I couldn't agree more.

    Happy Holidays to you, and have a COOL YULE! :)

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  3. Well said... And Blessed Yule to you. And a Happy Holiday.

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  4. Great commentary, Danni! I know there has to be more people besides us pagans who believe as we do! What a pity that the poor fools who believe their way is the only way are missing out on so much good, positive energy.

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  5. Sweet Danni, this is so heartfelt and pointed. I am very proud of you for stating your feelings and doing so for many of us, so beautifuly.
    There is a line from Dickens, "let us keep Christmas in our hearts"....oh the sad thing is that I think "they" have. I'm saddened by this time of year, outside the safety of my home. Ry is to write his family traditions and share it with his class on Tuesday when they have family day in his class....once again for safety sake as we have with GK we will dilute what we say and make it politically correct so that we can live in peace and harmony with his school. He wants so very badly to tell of welcoming the sun back, piping and drumming the fae into the house on Solstice and the Holly King and the Oak King's battle but......it is not safe.
    Blessed Yule to you and Joe. Safety and being nice sometimes are very hard....but necessary in this crazed world. Oma Linda

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  6. This post kicks ass. :) I love it. I've been thinking lately that if I were a true Christian I'd be so ashamed of these people who claim to practice the religion but do not follow the teachings. Unfortunately they are the loudest (and the most obnoxious) and so they are the voice of that religion currently. No one exclusively "owns" this time of year - even the gods share it.

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  7. I just posted a blog on the exact same thing!!!!!! I had my ass CHEWED last weekend for broaching the subject on Facebook last weekend and I cannot believe how horriblly intolerant people are. I wrote my blog, felt better, then got all fired up again reading yours. *sigh*

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  8. LOVE it! I've been asking the gods to grant me quite a bit of patience in the last few weeks, and to grant me the ability to smile and go about my business when confronted by the complete lack of Christ-like behavior by people who profess to be Christ-like (read: Christian) ... but sometimes I just want to yell "ARE YOU REALLY THAT IGNORANT?!!!" ... but it would be a rhetorical question. Blessings Goddess!

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  9. Brilliant post! People have gone absolutely insane over this issue (which is, in fact, a non-issue in the grand scheme of things) and it pisses me off too!
    PC has totally screwed us as a society and it's most rampant at this time of year. Personally if someone wished me a Happy Chanukah I would not for a second be offended by that. Just smile, say thank you and Happy (insert holiday here); how freakin' hard is that!
    And I agree with 5pointed at how un-christian the most zealot christians really are.

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  10. Blessings & hugs & smiles to you dearie. Don't let the asshats of this world get you down.

    I'm sorry you've got to put up with so much shit from people at your job. That never makes the work day easier. Sigh... I'm sending you lots of hugs & twinkly smiles, so you can save 'em up & use them when people are getting particularly nasty.

    This post touches on the reason I loathed & hated Christmas for so long. Let's show 'em how it's done though, shall we? Despite all the negativity, intolerance & just plain fucktardedness that runs rampant, let's show them the peace, love, unity & tolerance that they preach. We shall be a positive force to counteract their negativity. Love & peace! =D

    XOXO

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  11. I LOVE LOVE this post!!!! I LOVE Christmas....but I DO NOT love it for any religious meaning....it has never been a religious holiday to me and never will be. I love to say Merry Christmas but I HATE to be associated with THESE type of idiots that put stupid shit in their yards and yell at people because they say Happy Holidays.....how very UN-Christ like can you be????? This really got my blood boiling!! Happy Yule to you!!! And Happy Holidays to everybody!!!! Happy Santa Day!!!

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  12. I think this is one where you just can't win. Personally, I'm pro "Christmas" and anti "Holidays", but whichever one you choose is sure to offend someone. Those trees and Santas that have been up in the stores for a month and a half aren't Eid, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Seasonal Festival decorations - they're unmistakably there to represent Christmas. So nobody should be at all surprised or offended when they're wished a cheery "Merry Christmas". (If you're such a militant atheist, what are you doing shopping for Christmas presents anyway?)

    I don't understand why we should be worried about offending someone who doesn't celebrate the same holiday that we do. We send out our Yule cards to Christians, Pagans and none-of-the-above alike; it never occurred to me that someone might take offense.

    When I see Christist ranting like the "One Nation Under God" banner, I ask myself "What would Jesus say?" And the answer, of course, is "Happy Hanukkah!"

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  13. Oh my gosh you hit the nail on the head with this one, AMAZING POST! You have once again taken the thoughts out of my head and put them down on your amazing blog post. The 'Christians' now a days are so scary, I run run far away from them now. I literally cannot handle talking politics/Christmas/religion with anyone claiming to be Christian or Republican. I completely believe in kindness, if you are going to with me a Merry Christmas, I will wish it right back.

    "Because that kindness means more than the words that were spoken; if someone sincerely wishes me well, that is what counts. Because those simple kindnesses are few and far between in our increasingly cold, greedy and self serving population"

    Amazing, thanks again!

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  14. Hear Hear!! Good post!! I was at an ornament exchange party this evening...at one time as the ornaments were opened, one lady mentioned that "you can tell we're a room full of Christians" ... I did not pipe up and say not all of us...just kept my mouth closed and blended in...Merry Christmas...Happy Holidays...Cool Yule...Whatever...Difficult time of year...

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  15. I've never seen someone give anyone a hard time over a "Merry Christmas" in my 12 year stint in retail. Maybe I'm lucky? It's always just over "Happy Holidays". Personally, I don't care which one someone uses - I'm just dumb struck that some people seem to get so very bent out of shape over it. Is their life so blissful and perfect that they have nothing else to get upset over? Because if so - good for you! Spread that love around instead of being a harpy. If not, then take it for what it is; a kindness not a slight. It bums me out that this season, which should be fun, is so riddled with anxiety, anger and stress over a few words.

    Personally, I love Christmas with its trees and Santas and shiny baubles. I love Yule too and while I do things to showcase it as well, I would never claim that my house isn't decked out in its Christmas best. I celebrate both, because I enjoy them both. Glitter, stars, trees and lights, huzzah!

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  16. Standing ovation! I shared both this and SLOTAWW's post on my facebook page. Excellently written!

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  17. I loved this post. LOVED IT! Loved it so much, I linked to your post instead of writing one of my own. :0)

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