Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Actually, more like a war on Hannukah

We celebrate both Christmas and Hannukah fairly loosely. Ginny laid out both a tree and a menorah, but didn't bother buying candles. On the fourth night (Monday), I decided I ought to go get some. I went to the nearest grocery store, combed the candle aisle thoroughly, but couldn't find any that were clearly labeled for menorahs. Since I'm typically an extremely unobservant Jew, I figured I should call my sister, who is up on these things.

Me: "Hey, do you know where I'd find Hannukah candles?"
Keryn: "Check the kosher market on so-and-so street, that's where I got mine."
Me: "I'm in a grocery store, I figured they'd just have them there. Am I crazy?"
Keryn: "In past years I found them easily. This year I couldn't find any in grocery stores at all."
Me: "Huh. What happened?"
Keryn: "I think it's part of this backlash against the war on Christmas. You know, Wal-Mart greeters are actually being told this year that they HAVE TO say Merry Christmas to people. In previous years there were smaller displays devoted to Hannukah and other holidays. No one says happy holidays now and you can't get Hannukah stuff."

You know, if I didn't know better, I might think that this anti-war-on-Christmas stuff is actually a thinly veiled "fuck you" to the other holidays that millions of people celebrate in this country.

Of course, as PZ Myers says, the best way to conduct the war on Christmas is to celebrate it.

My personal war on Christmas is fought in a way the Bill O'Reillys of the world don't even recognize: I blithely wish people a Merry Christmas without so much as a germ of religious reverence anywhere in my body. I take this holiday and turn it into a purely secular event, with family and friends and food and presents. I celebrate the season without thought of Jesus or any of the other myths so precious to the pious idiots who get upset when a Walmart gives them a cheery "Happy Holidays!".

Of course, it's easier for an atheist Christian than an atheist Jew to appreciate the Christmas traditions in their own right. I'm somewhat lukewarm on the notion, and Keryn doesn't like Christmas at all. She says that the only people who dislike Christmas as much as she does are devout Christians who are mad about the commercialization of "their" holiday. Scrooginess makes strange bedfellows, no?

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