Happy holidays. Yes, all of them
Thursday, December 7, 2017
It's "War on Christmas" time again. In a Nov. 30 speech in St. Charles, Mo., President Donald Trump mounted a stage festooned with Christmas trees to kick off the annual Airing of the Fake Grievance:
"You go to the department stores and you see 'Happy New Years,' and you see red, and you see snow, and you see all these things. You don't see 'Merry Christmas' anymore. With Trump as your president, we are going to be celebrating Merry Christmas again ..."
When I was younger, the Annual Grievance was that Christmas had become too commercialized and that stores were starting to "celebrate" it far too early in their sales campaigns. These days, it's that Americans don't focus exclusively on one, and only one, December holiday.
I haven't personally noticed any dearth of Christmas cheer this year or in recent years. I'm seeing Christmas observances all over the place, in both Christian (Nativity scenes, "Reason for the Season" church signs, etc.) and secular or semi-secular (Santa Claus, silver bells, what have you) form. Perhaps Trump doesn't get out into fly-over country often enough.
That said, it's worth noting that December is indeed a month of holidays, not all of them Christian. According to HolidaysCalendar.com:
Sunni Muslims celebrated Maulidur Rasul, the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed, on Dec. 1. Shia Muslims celebrated it on Dec. 6.
Buddhists celebrate the enlightenment of Siddhartha Gautama — Bodhi Day — on Dec. 8.
From December 13-20, Jews celebrate Hanukkah, commemorating the liberation of Jerusalem from foreign occupation in 165 BC.
Dec. 21 marks the Winter Solstice and the beginning of the ancient pagan festival of Yule.
Kwanzaa, a celebration of African culture, commences on Dec. 26 and runs through New Year's Day.
On Dec. 23, Seinfeld fans will celebrate their 21st Festivus. Others may put up feasts and ceremonies for National Mutt Day (Dec. 2), Wear Brown Shoes Day (Dec. 4), Ugly Sweater Day (Dec. 19) or perhaps something a little more serious like World AIDS Day (Dec. 1) or Bill of Rights Day (Dec. 15).
And yes, of course there are all kinds of Christian holidays — Advent Sundays, the feast days of Saints, etc. — leading up to Christmas (Dec. 25 for some Christians, Jan. 7 for others).
Like it or not (personally, I like it a lot), America is a multi-religious and multi-cultural country with holidays galore. So what if you don't celebrate them all? Why not just congratulate those who do?
Shut yer griping, Trump. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Thomas L. Knapp, @thomaslknapp, is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.