There's been quite a lot of hoo-ha going around about Christmas these days and it ain't just for this year's hot toys. But, since nobody is going to buy me an XBox 360, I'm not worried about their availability or lack thereof.
No, I'm speaking specifically about this year's push to get "Merry Christmas" back into people's vocabulary. In fact, it is a push to get Christmas back into the vocabulary, period.
As the argument goes, Christmas has been pushed into the background by stores that are working their tails off not to offend anybody. In an effort to strike back, white Christians are now being offended by the fact that they cannot actually see the name "Christmas" anywhere. Instead, Christmas trees are holiday trees, cashiers say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". In fact, there are precious few places where you can see the name "Christmas" anymore, lest anyone be offended by it. Thus, white people are once again proving their inherent racism by quickly embracing Kwanzaa so that Black America will be marginalized. (Don't believe me? We can put a $1,000 bet on it, to be paid to the winner in 25 to 50 years.)
The reasons for this are understandable: every year, white Christians drop off billions of dollars at the local stores, allowing them to stay in business year after year. Thus, when they go shopping, they would like the biggest holiday of their year acknowledged. That's not that hard to understand, is it?
Here's the thing, white people are doing it wrong. Their concept of "we're the majority" simply isn't going to get things done these days. In fact, if you want to get some movement, someone has to be hurt. So, if you want to hear "Merry Christmas", just change it to "Feliz Navidad" and be offended that Hispanics are being left out. Of course, this idea is contingent upon the racist idea that white people should learn Spanish because Hispanics aren't smart enough to learn English. (Care to go double-or-nothing on that Kwanzaa bet? Contingent, of course, on anybody actually noticing or caring about racism in 25 to 50 years.)
It its essence, the desire to wish someone Happy Holidays has been around for quite some time; even before the current push to include everybody. And, personally, I'm not against including everybody. After all, that's just good business.
By the way, there is still not word from Asians on this whole mess, though my friend Fong would like to see an annual holiday espousing "Up With Asians, Down With Caucasians. Die White Devil." No word yet on how his efforts are going.
The idea of wishing someone a Merry Christmas isn't particularly a bad thing. If someone wishes me a Happy Hannukah, I'm not offended. Heck, I hope I have a Happy Hannukah, even if I don't celebrate it. I'll take a Bueno Dia de los Muertos, a Chipper Earth Day, and a Bitchin' Guy Fawkes Day too. However, it seems that putting a Christian holiday at the fore is rather out of favor with some folks.
Big hairy deal. Celebrate Christmas and enjoy it. That's the point, isn't it? However, espousing Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men is now considered sexist, so don't wish for Goodwill to Men. So, let's just deal with it and, instead, drive everybody nuts by not judging each other and, instead, being nice to everybody for a change.
However, the offensiveness of impermanent ideas and ideals can be found in other places. But there are some things you can count on. Like the blissful joy of a child's wish coming true, like in A Christmas Story. What could be more charming than an exchange like:
"What do you want for Christmas this year Ralphie?"
You could say that in the '40's. In fact, you could even get away with it in the '80's, when the movie was made. Today, you ask for guns at Christmas and you get put on a watch list.
Does this mean that people are going to stop enjoying A Christmas Story just because it is about a child who wants a gun for a gift? You betcha! In fact, it will probably be boycotted and, eventually, banned by schools and public libraries. Don't believe me? Then consider that Huckleberry Finn was banned from some libraries because it wasn't lofty enough. Ideals are considered absolutes by those who hold them, even though ideals are highly mutable things. Thus, as guns fall out of favor for a time, anything that shows a gun in any sort of positive way will be thought of as a danger to society. Thus, A Christmas Story will be put onto the list of banned movies.
This, of course, is good news for A Christmas Story. After all, for those of us who love the film, it will be honored with the ultimate complement: it will be worth outlawing.
With that in mind, let's put up the tree, hang the stockings, put up a wreath and spike the eggnog. We can watch our Charlie Brown Christmas special -- which is enormously popular despite the reading from the Bible -- we can put our Nativity scenes on the mantle, and we can put a classic movie into the DVD player. And then, to you and yours, I wish you a truly happy, truly healthy, Merry God and Guns Christmas.