“Merry Christmas” and the Spirit of Giving

I wrote this in 2013 … long before many of you started reading my blog. In fact, of the four “Likes” I got, only one is still a regular visitor. (Do you know who you are?)

In any case, I think the message is just as important today as it was 6 years ago so I decided to repost it. See if you agree.

Nan's Notebook

Recently a Facebook friend wrote that he wasn’t going to stop saying “Merry Christmas,” no matter who it might offend. Comments to his posting were equally supportive, some going so far as to say it’s a bunch of “bullshit.”

It continues to amaze me that at this (supposedly) time of peace on earth and good will towards all, people continue to exhibit such animosity, hostility, and rancor towards those who don’t believe as they do.

I personally do not honor December 25th in any religious way. For one thing, although popularized as the date Jesus was born, evidence from all fronts indicates this is in error. But beyond that, I simply am no longer a “believer.”

It’s a long-standing tradition to give gifts at this time of year. In fact, kids have learned to expect toys and other goodies – to the point that people are urged to donate to…

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17 thoughts on ““Merry Christmas” and the Spirit of Giving

  1. I always assumed that since Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years were all fairly close together on the calendar that you said “happy holidays” to cover more than one. So if you see someone every day, and it is after Thanksgiving, you say “Merry Christmas”, but if it’s someone you see once a month or less, you would say “Happy Holidays.”

    Granted, I also no longer believe in the Jesus myth, but as you pointed out, Christmas has a secular side as well. So why the hell not say “Merry Christmas?” Unless, of course, you won’t see them before the next 3 holidays….

    Liked by 2 people

      • Like most Quakers, I don’t practice any religious celebration or commemoration as all days are considered equally sacred. However, like most Quakers, we do participate in the secular side of Christmas in various ways, although I’d like to think that we are less taken in by the commercialism of season.

        As to the spirit of the season, I have mixed feelings. As a Quaker, I want to say that the spirit of the season should be expressed all year round, and this is something I try do do, although not perfectly by any means. But I guess having a season of goodwill where more people attempt to practice it than at other times of the year is better than not having it at all.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. I appreciate your attitude about the season. Funny enough, while I know you are not a believer, I think that caring for the poor (as it sounds like you do) actually keeps the Christ in Christmas a lot more than signs saying “keep Christ in Christmas.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree!

      Yet isn’t it interesting that “believers” en masse seem to totally overlook the true meaning of Christmas and either focus on the commercial interpretation (giving presents) or they put all their attention on “Baby Jesus.”

      P.S. And yes, I do try to help the less fortunate … year ’round.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. It continues to amaze me that at this (supposedly) time of peace on earth and good will towards all, people continue to exhibit such animosity, hostility, and rancor towards those who don’t believe as they do.

    Couldn’t agree more with you Nan. This type of huffiness is so very trivial and honestly childishly hyper-sensitive. I honestly do not care WHO says “Merry Christmas” however many times per day during November and December. They are always total strangers, in passing, at public places. I don’t care if someone says “Happy Hanukkah,” or “Ramadan mubarak” or “Ramadan kareem.” I am more than happy to reply “Happy Holidays” or “Peace and good fortune to you.” Simple.

    I often wonder if people like your Facebook friend are actually just LOOKING for drama, for controversy, or divisive intolerance like our current President is so keen, has such a hard-on for doing? 🤔

    Liked by 2 people

    • Regarding giving to the needy, homeless, less fortunate…

      In the type of socioeconomic setup that Cold War Capitalism in the U.S. nurtures and promotes (the generation of our current POTUS), thru government policies/deregulation and private sector-business models structured to take full advantage of deregulated Capitalism and constantly hiring cheap, illegal alien, blue-collar workers to build infrastructure… America’s homeless, veterans, and lower 80% – 90% impoverished class (living paycheck to paycheck or much worse), are growing and EVERYWHERE in all major metropolitan cities.

      I am by NO MEANS considered even in the stable (upper) middle-class of America—the ones earning no more than $45k or $50k per year; not enough for a thriving “Standard of Living” as a single-person for housing costs in Texas—and I give monthly or annually to 2 or 3 non-religious charities as much as I can… knowing that when I do I am exposing myself greatly should any catastrophe befall me that wipes out what non-existent safety-umbrella I have. BUT… there are so so many out there within 2,000 – 3,000 feet of me living under freeway bridges, parks/walkways near or under pavillions. It is astonishingly sad! We are the wealthiest nation on the planet, but our homeless and economic inequality has only GROWN over the last two decades! And we try to call ourselves a Christian nation!? HAH!!! What utter B.S.! 🙄

      Liked by 2 people

      • If one takes affiliation to Christian faith groups as a percentage of the population, then indeed America is a Christian nation, but by its actions, seems much less so. What I think is ironical is that many American Christians, especially the more fundamentalist and evangelical, hold to some form of the “prosperity gospel”, and believe that a fully fledged publicly funded social welfare system can only come from Satan himself. Yet when such a system was introduced here in Aotearoa New Zealand in the early 1930s, it was often referred to as “practical Christianity” by both the churches and the government of the day.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. I emphatically agree that the best way to give meaning to all this is to do something substantive for those in need.

    Furthermore, I offer the radical suggestion that our kindness, empathy, and generosity should not be calendar- or holiday-bound. I once wrote something about our local feed-the-hungry organization after interviewing the volunteers, who reported that their shelves were overflowing before Thanksgiving, but quickly depleted. I titled the piece something like “Will You Feed Me in November but Forget Me in May?”

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Hello Nan. I have read that depending on how you count them there are between 14 and 24 holidays celebrated in November and December. I think it is a sign of respect to say happy holidays if you do not know what holiday in particular they celebrate. I think it disrespectful to try to force everyone to praise your holiday of choice and demean or ignore theirs. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Anything I do to strive for unity in my country seems productive during the holiday season. I became disillusioned with the Unitarian Church we attended for their hypocritical inability to further that cause for the sake of making money.
    Happy Holidays

    Liked by 1 person

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