The war on Christmas is over, and we can get back to normal. That is, if you agree with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has renamed the 30-foot-tall “holiday tree” in the Rotunda of the state capitol the “Christmas tree.” Yes, the evergreen tree decorated with ornaments is again officially a symbol of Christmas, in spite of the fact that we observe several holidays around the same time. The menorah and the dreidel remind us of Hanukkah. An ear of corn, a cup, seven candles in a candelabra and fruits on a mat are in honor of Kwanza.
Of course, the Madison-based Freedom from Religion Foundation has is opposing calling it a Christmas tree. It says that non-religious people will be offended by such a tree. Really? They are offended because others call it exactly what it is?
Am I being disrespectful if I said that they’ll have to get over it? I am? Then I won’t say it. But I will say that I have called it a Christmas tree all my life, and no matter what name they want to put on it, no matter where it is displayed, it is still a Christmas tree. I’m not Christian, and I am not offended when folks wish me a Merry Christmas. Are you?
I hope the non-religious coffee drinkers all over America are not offended by the aroma of Starbucks newest mix, the Christmas Blend. Maria, the beautiful gal behind the counter whispered, “Even if they ask me for a container of Holiday Blend I’ll know exactly what they want.”
For those of you who blame FOX news for all these holiday hostilities, how do you account for school boards such as the one in the western New York town of Batavia who have joined in this war on Christmas? There’s a new school policy that bans classroom decorations or displays of Christmas or Hanukkah. Teachers are being told that they cannot even say “Merry Christmas.” They will be allowed to have “multicultural celebrations,” but Christmas parties are prohibited. As far as the holiday concert is concerned, the program has to be “balanced.” Certain songs and expressions are not allowed. “Christmas should not be included and blah, blah, blah.” This is what ticks me off.
Some of those same schools that teach our youngsters about sex and demonstrate pregnancy prevention by putting condoms on cucumbers are forbidden to sing about Christmas or even mention God. Glee clubs and choruses all over America are free to sing about winter and gift giving, but Christmas songs? Heaven forbid. Hey. Can I mention “heaven?” If “God” is a no-no “heaven” is a maybe.
So if we have to find acceptable names for the day that is declared a legal holiday, what can we sing? Well, if you change the lyrics a bit, you might be able to come up with the top 10.
10) “I’m Dreaming Of A White Winter Solstice”; 9) “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Winter Break”; 8) “I’ll Be Home For Mid-Winter Holiday Happy Giving Time”; 7) “On the First day Of Joyous Time My True Love Gave To Me”; 6) “All I Want For Merry Jolly Festive Joyous Eve Is My Two Front Teeth”; 5) “We Wish You A Merry Cold Weather Holiday”; 4) “It’s A Holly Jolly Euro-Centrically Imposed Mid-Winter Festival”; 3) “Oh Giving Tree”; 2) “Rocking Around the Winter Celebration Tree” and my favorite, the Chipmunks sing 1) “The Saturnalia Song.”
Saturnalia? Don’t bother looking it up. Trust me on this. It is one that you’ll enjoy. Just celebrate it.
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Whatever your preference is, I am StanGershbein@Bellsouth.net wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyful Kwanza, Happy Holidays and, of course, a Fabulous Festivus for the rest of us!
Stan Gershbein's column appears every Monday on BrooklynDaily.com.