It seems that every year there is discussion about the “War on Christmas” and how “they” are trying to stop everyone from saying Merry Christmas, or celebrating Christmas, or something else! There are certain television networks who seem to focus on this more than others, but all seem to mention this “War” from time to time.
The first thing to point out is that those who use the phrase need to seriously find a dictionary. According to Google, the noun of War is “A state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state.”. Regardless of the definition, there are too many wars being fought around the world for that word to be taken lightly or thrown around because of someone disagreeing with your opinions. In the “War on Christmas” there are no deaths, counter-attacks, prisoners or war, organized ambushes, uniforms or anything else that could be associated with a military conflict. It is not a war, and for those who continue to use that phrase, look up about the casualties of a real war and understand this is not one.
Countries, including Canada, are changing with regards to religion. More of the population refer to themselves as non religious, Islam is growing in numbers, and with the influx of immigrants to new countries, comes religions, both common and not so common. The religious landscape is changing and evolving, it isn’t a fixed state. People are exposed to different religions than they would have perhaps twenty years ago. This is not a bad thing. The more exposure to things, the more understanding people should be.
There are often comments and reports about a situation where someone has been asked or told not to say “Merry Christmas” or something similar. The reasons given vary but often suggest that the decision is to avoid upsetting someone or other. “We don’t recognize any religions so that no one will be offended or left out.” is a great line if you are a balloon farmer and the religions you are talking about all carry large spiked objects but if you are in a school saying this, perhaps a rethink is in order. Is it better to upset many people for the sake of a few? By preventing someone saying something, you are drawing attention to it, rather than not. Polite society has changed or morphed to one where one wrong word can offend someone and cause an incident. It is better to not express yourself just on the off chance that someone dislikes or disagrees with your comment. It is about time that we realised that rather than walking on eggs to avoid upsetting someone, we should understand that we can’t be swaddled in cotton wool and protected from everything we disagree with. We need to grow a thick skin and stop being upset everything someone says “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” or “Assalamu Alaikum” or “Shalom Alekum”.
The last time I visited the local big store, I saw Christmas Day on calendars, Christmas trees, Christmas Cards, people doing last minute Christmas shopping and even Santa himself, Father Christmas. I didn’t see anyone covering up the calendars, cutting down the trees, hiding the cards, or throwing a blanket over dear old Santa. There is no campaign to eradicate Christmas, rather a badly thought-out movement to avoid upsetting anyone. You are still free to wish someone Merry Christmas and if they are offended by that, it is their problem and not yours.
No matter your religion, I hope you have a long and fruitful life.