By Rachel Birdsell
I sincerely hope that all of you made it through Black Friday shopping without getting pepper sprayed or bludgeoned with whatever toy people are bludgeoning each other with this year. Now it’s time for us to begin bludgeoning each other over the C-word like we do every year.
I don’t mean that C-word, but the other C-word … Christmas. You know, the word that is no longer acceptable during the Christmas season. You can’t wish someone a Merry Christmas anymore; you must wish them “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” or “Lucky Festivus.” (I’m not exactly 100 percent sure if that last one is the correct terminology, but it’s what I’ve heard.) I am a heathen of the highest caliber and am rather liberal about social issues, but I honestly don’t care if you wish me a Merry Christmas. I don’t celebrate Christmas as a Christian holiday, but I still love the iconography of the virgin birth. I love manger scenes, and if you were to come over to my house, you’d notice statues of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus, along with one or two rosaries. I think all of these things are pretty, and that’s as far as it goes for me.
It may go farther for you, and that’s OK. I don’t care what you believe, unless you believe that it’s OK to wear leggings as pants in public.
I know there are those of you who are probably appalled and are thinking that I must not be a very devoted heathen if I’m not offended by someone wishing me Merry Christmas, because “Holy virgin birth, Batman!” What could be worse than Merry Christmas? I can think of at least one thing that’s worse. You know how when you’re using one of your fingernails to chip off old nail polish and some of the polish breaks off and stabs you underneath your fingernail? That’s worse than someone wishing me a Merry Christmas. Seriously. Most of you men may have not ever had this happen, but trust me; it’s quite unpleasant.
I was recently in a discussion about how non-Christians did or didn’t celebrate Christmas, and an acquaintance of mine was completely taken aback when I told her that I actually put up a Christmas tree.
She couldn’t have been more shocked if I’d told her I roasted my children’s pet kitten, and then fed it to them unknowingly for Christmas dinner.
Of course, that happening is ridiculous because my children are grown and don’t keep their pets with me anymore. I guess I missed the Heathens International meeting that discussed how we’re supposed to hate Christmas trees.
I haven’t met a Christian, yet, who’s told me that I’m not allowed to have one, either. I’m sure there are those who feel that way, but I try not to associate with people who are so close-minded and ridiculous.
However, I don’t think it’s OK for a manger scene to be on the front lawn of the courthouse because I feel strongly that any flavor of religion should be kept away from any form of government. It just makes things a lot easier. There are so many religions it would be impossible to draw the line as to who could or couldn’t have a holiday display on government property. What if I started a cult that worshipped wildebeests, and for Christmas we wanted to put our display of a wildebeest feasting on a howler monkey on the courthouse lawn? It wouldn’t make for a very pleasant holiday decoration, so it’s just simpler to say “no” to everyone, thereby keeping nutcases such as myself off the lawn. But, if you want to put 10,000 light-up plastic figurines of the Baby Jesus in your yard and then shout Merry Christmas to me when I go by, I’m perfectly OK with it. If you send me a holiday card and it has those dreaded words, “Merry Christmas,” on it, I won’t rip it to shreds and then burn the pieces over my Yule Log.
Maybe this year instead of spending our energy being offended about a seasonal greeting or bickering about how we should celebrate, let’s remember we all have at least one thing in common. While we’re spending time with our families this holiday season, we’ll all be wishing at some point that there was more booze in the eggnog — whether we’re celebrating Christmas, Holiday or Festivus.
Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer, artist and semi-professional cat wrangler. Feel free to drop her a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.