“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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Bah! Humbug!

WARNING: This post may be offensive to some as it presents a rather negative view of Christmas. Read it at your own risk.


I guess I’ve gotten cranky (crankier?) in my old age, but I find little joy in Christmas anymore. The commercialization is probably the biggest negative, but it’s just the whole event. Perhaps if it wasn’t considered such a “religious” holiday, I might be a little less Scroogy … but there are still things about this holiday that leave me with several negative feelings.

One thing I really dislike is the (over) spending parents do to ensure “Santa Claus” brings lots of toys and goodies to their kids. In many families, the children’s bedrooms are already ceiling-high with games, dolls, toy trucks, etc., but simply because ’tis the season, several more get added (most of which are ignored within a matter of days).

And along these same lines, I think the money various people/organizations collect to provide “toys for tots” could be far better spent on homeless individuals, many of whom can barely stay warm during this time of the year, let alone enjoy any kind of “holiday” meal. (And beyond that … these same people need to eat and stay warm during the entire winter, not just during the “Holiday Season.”)

While I do enjoy the decorated neighborhood homes, I question how many over-spend to ensure their home has the most lawn decorations and/or the brightest and most colorful lights. In some neighborhoods the competition is so great it creates animosity among friends!

And I can’t forget to mention the “Nativity” programs presented to adoring parents. In many (most?) instances, the children have no clue what the play is about, but they dutifully put on appropriate costumes and learn their lines to “celebrate” the birth of Christ. (Just one more instance of the indoctrination that Christian parents so adamantly deny.)

I have no doubt many of you reading this are also thinking … “And those awful piped-in Christmas carols!” While music can be a pleasant addition to shopping, “seasonal” lyrics leave a lot to be desired for many atheists and non-believers.

Of course no complaint is complete without pointing out the numerous individuals who go deeper into credit card debt in their efforts to buy (over) expensive gifts for the husband/wife and/or other family members … simply because it’s “the holiday.”

And finally, how can one overlook the core reason many/most people even celebrate December 25th? ***It’s the birth date of their Savior!*** Or is it? Many biblical historians believe this designated day is erroneous and that Jesus was actually born in the spring. Nevertheless, the die has been cast and dutiful Christians head for their local parishes and churches to present their gifts of faith. (I can’t help but wonder how many Protestants are aware they are actually celebrating “Christ’s Mass”, a practice originating in the Catholic Church.)

O.K. Before I bring my tirade to a close, I should mention there are some things I enjoy about the season … See’s Candies, Tom and Jerry drinks, pie (apple, pumpkin, mincemeat, pecan … take your pick), yummy frosted cookies, and, oh yes! An opportunity to be with friends and family to enjoy a traditional ham (preferably) dinner.

Oh! And one more thing! It’s only seven days until we get to drink too much champagne (and/or other drinks) on New Year’s Eve! Wheeee!

Repost: “Season’s Greetings”

I originally wrote this post in 2011 (back when I had no more than one or two visitors 🙂 ). Since I feel the message is just as true today as it was six years ago, I decided to repost it … with a few minor additions/alterations.


After spending over 15 years within the confining walls of Christianity, one day I ventured outside … and found the weather delightful. Unfortunately, certain individuals (well-meaning as they may be) are trying to drag me back inside — especially during this yuletide season.

To Christians, the last month of the year signifies only one thing: the birth of Christ. Facts be told, the date of Jesus’ birth is unknown. Scholars who have studied Jewish history believe it was more likely in the springtime, but this matters little to the faithful. For them, it’s not about facts or history. It’s about tradition. And it’s often about ostracizing those who refuse to go along with tradition, including using a holiday greeting other than “Merry Christmas.”

Insert: A rather interesting take on the Merry Christmas greeting can be found here. While I definitely don’t agree with everything that’s written, the writer does offer some food for thought.

There is no disputing that Christianity is the dominant religion in the U.S. However, to use this majority position to try and force others to conform to Christian practices is simply wrong. Included in the makeup of this country are Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, not to mention smaller religions such as Ba’hai, Deism, Jainism, and others. There are also a growing number of atheists.

Many of these non-Christians, including myself, prefer to use the term “Happy Holidays” because it is more religiously neutral. Moreover, since this time of the year includes another holiday (New Year’s Day), the greeting becomes more inclusive.

Insert: On many occasions, I just say “Have a nice holiday.”

Not too long back, I came across a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1865) entitled, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Eve.” I was particularly drawn to the third stanza:

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Yes, sometimes “the hate is strong” — and hardly a testimony to the significance of this time of year among those who believe. To allow hatred or enmity to take the place of good will to men during this (or any other) time of the year is, well, not very Christian-like.


HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all my readers and followers!

Just For Fun

fun
If you could ask for ANYTHING for your holiday (Christmas) gift this year, what would it be?

I’m talking material things … none of the “peace on earth, goodwill towards men” stuff. We all want those things. (And no political “presents” either.)

Instead, tell us about the expensive Mercedes, the 3-carat diamond necklace, the multi-million-dollar house on the beach …

Just for FUN!

The Atheist Christmas

nochristmas
This article
 talks about a display put up by the Freedom From Religion Foundation at the Wisconsin Capital Building to celebrate the Winter Solstice. It was  obviously erected to counter the usual displays and messages so common during the Christmas season.

Personally, I have problems with this.

Not because of what atheists are trying to accomplish, but because of what is written. In my opinion such an “in-your-face” declaration accomplishes little to nothing. Sure, atheists will clap their hands in glee that the display was erected, but is this an effective way of getting through to believers during their “Holy Season?” I think not.

What say you? Do you agree this is an effective counter-measure? Or would a more “toned-down” message be more effective? If you were the one chosen to write an anti-Christmas message, what would you have said?