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Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Spirit

The Politicization of Christmas

This time of year I am filled with joy and good cheer. I love the brisk air, the cold nights in which to cuddle under warm blankets, and the joyful expectation of children awaiting a visit from Santa Claus.

However, there is a Grinch to throw a wrench into the works. According to many, retailers are trying to take "Christ out of Christmas" by having their employees wish everyone a "Happy Holiday" rather than say "Merry Christmas". Sorry to tell you, but big business took all religion out of Christmas over half a century ago.

Christmas did not become a federal holiday in the United States until Grant signed it into law on June 28, 1870. 

Turning Christmas into a political issue is nothing new. The Roman's were famous for adopting local Gods and turning them Roman to further ensnare the territories they claimed for the Empire. They adopted and then they adapted. 

Constantine knew the way to solidify his hold on the populace was to give them a God which would unify them, so he chose Christianity. It suited his needs.

The Roman Bishops decided on December 25th as the birth date of Jesus due to a surplus of Pagan holy days. The Church chose to place many high holy days on the same dates as Pagan holidays in order to stamp out the Pagan celebrations and to bring the Pagans into the Church. The Pagan celebrations, however, remain behind, hidden in what is now considered Christian tradition. For example: the Easter Bunny and Easter eggs replaced fertility celebrations, but bunnies and eggs were a big part of the celebration. So while the church holds sunrise masses to celebrate the Resurrection of the Christ, the people slip in their old fertility symbols. The Yule log, mistletoe, and Christmas tree are also 

A Brief History of December Celebrations

December is a month of religious celebrations. Bodhi Day, Buddha's Enlightenment Day is celebrated on December 8, Hanukkah on December 8-15, the Yule on December 21, as is the Winter Solstice, Christmas Day is December 25, Kwanzaa is December 26.

December 25th is given as as the birthdate of the following Gods: Attis of Greece c1200 BCE, Krishna of India c900 BCE, Dionysus of Greece c500 BCE, Mithra of Persia c1200 BCE, Horus of Egypt c3000 BCE, and Jesus of Nazareth c1 CE (although some sources say it should be c4 CE).

There are other Gods which share the December 25th birthdate, but I couldn't find the years for them. They include Salivahana of Bermuda, Orus of Egypt, Odin of Scandinavia, Crite of Chaldez, Thammuz of Syria, Adad of Assyria, and Beddru of Japan.


Personal Observation

To be fair to retailers, in the light of all these holy days in December, it makes sense for them to say Happy Holidays and not offend those who do not celebrate Christmas.

However, 82% of all Americans list their religious leanings as Christian. Should retailers be offending 82% of the buying public, the segment which actually does the lion's share of the buying for Christmas? It could bring repercussions the God of big business, Profit, wouldn't like.

When I hear the words Happy Holidays, I see a bunch of adults wearing evening attire and sipping drinks at a staid party. The colors are muted, as are the voices.

Merry Christmas evokes images of brightly colored packages and laughing children ripping them open, hot chocolate and joyful singing, and crowds of people happily shopping and saying nice things to each other. 

Does it really matter if the person bagging your order says "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas"? Isn't it more important that they acknowledge you, smile, and wish you well from their hearts? Anyone can mumble the words by rote. During the December holidays, more than any other, it is important to have friendly communications with others. Christmas can be the happiest of times or the saddest of times. It is important to let others know that they are not alone.

May you find peace and enlightenment. May the blessings of the Yule be upon you. Joyful Kwanzaa. Happy Hanukkah! Merry Christmas. Enjoy!

Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of Christmas Spirit.

(It's the perfect shortie holiday, sweet, and sassy all rolled into one. I loved it!  {Penelope's Romance Reviews})

Still Moments Publishing (the wonderful sponsor of The Author's Den: Christmas Blog Hop) is also running a contest. Your comment is your entry into the contest. (Gorgeous handmade jewelry.)



  1. I don't have a lot at this time, but everything in your post matched with my idea of Christmas, the giving and receiving of special gifts, which is a spiritual law of the universe.

    I hate all the commercialization and promotion that's why I love seeing anything on the theme of sharing some of our our most precious gifts, the gifts of caring, appreciation and love.

    Hopefully I'll be back to post some more, and in the mean time, Merry Christmas to us all; and God bless us, every one!

  2. I agree 100% Christmas is made out to be all about the gifts, lights,ext.... Not about the one true thing the birth of Jesus. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Merry Christmas! God bless all!

  3. You always give me so much to think about! Love your new digs. xo

  4. The commercialism of the season diminishes the true meaning of it all. I enjoy being with friends and family, sharing stories of our past years and listening to what they mean to all of us. Presents are nice, but it's out of control, as are the merchants who begin blasting us with music and decorations in August.

  5. Love it Liberty! So much information I didn't know - such as the USA didn't declare Christmas a federal holiday until June 28, 1870 - thanks Ulysses....I think that was Grant's name!
    Merry Christmas Liberty!

  6. Thanks for this thought-provoking post. I had heard somewhere that historians think Christ was actually born in April. So much Christmas tradition is based on human greed and the lust for power. It always amazes me how we humans can take something and twist it so hard it doesn't even resemble its original purpose. For me, the entire holiday season is about family, faith, and friends. I'm glad there is a time set aside each year to reflect on what's important in my life, even if the whole tradition was prompted by the machinations of conniving humans.

  7. I'm with you on all of this. I've never cared whether someone wished me a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanzaa (okay, I never really hear this one...) or whatever. As long as they are saying something nice with a kind heart, I'm happy. I do think it's amusing that so many make this a "war on Christmas," without even knowing the history of it all.
    Thanks for the wonderful post! I enjoyed reading it. I already have Christmas Spirit, so if I win you can feel free to give it to someone else to enjoy. I love it, and am planning to reread it closer to the holiday. :) :) :)

  8. Sexy, sweet, and sassy? Sounds like my kind of book!

  9. When I was a kid, Christmas meant family, giving, presents and of course, Santa; In recent years this has become a commercial day of sales, discounts and not so merry. Thanks for a wonderful take on what Christmas is, where it came from, and what we all get out of the idea of the holidays.

  10. I smile when someone wishes me Happy Holidays and purr, "Why thank you, and Merry Christmas to you, dearheart." Great post. Thanks for all the information.

  11. Love Christmas! Glad you shared this with us!

  12. Lovely blog and fascinating post! And a happy celebration to you as well.

  13. I appreciate knowing the wide variety of religious figures whose birthdays are ascribed to December 25th. Great research. "Happy Yule" is a great wish and I'm going to use it this season.

  14. Well said! Happy Solstice, and all that holiday jazz!!

  15. I've worked in retail and you just can't win. I'm a Christmas person and recognize that most others celebrate Christmas as well. It's sort of a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. I could have said "Merry Christmas" to someone and they could tear into me for not being politically correct or I could say "Happy Holidays" and they could lay into me for not just saying Merry Christmas because most people celebrate it. People get verrrrry touchy when out shopping during December! Boy. This has made me realize that I'm glad to no longer be working retail! Thanks for sharing all this info!

    books.etc.blogger AT gmail DOT com

  16. I was working at a Wal-mart when the idea for my novel, "Special" struck me. When I left, I committed myself to finishing it. Retail of that nature is a society all its own - the most dysfunctional society I know, and I know some really sick ones!

  17. Thak you for a great post, many important thoughts there!
    tessa dot bamberg at kolumbus dot fi

  18. You are all wonderful and I really enjoyed reading all your comments.