Friday, January 7, 2011
My family is celebrating Christmas today. There are no carols on the radio. One person at work yesterday wished me "Merry Christmas," because she's celebrating today too; but there are no "Happy Holidays" from strangers. The only decoration in a public space that I've seen was a black-and-white computer-printed "Христос ся рождає" on the door of the liquor store by my parent's place. And it strikes me that this is what the "War on Christmas" people are afraid of.
"The War on Christmas" isn't actually about Christmas itself. It's about asserting privilege - this is obvious. It's about making sure that one's beliefs and practices are the centre of attention for an entire month out of the year; making everyone else cater to one's own religious calendar; and refusing to acknowledge difference. The entire thing is simply an exercise in whiny self-centredness.
I know this for a fact. I've celebrated Christmas on both December 25th and January 7th, and here's what I've noticed: Ukrainian Christmas (or Eastern Orthodox Christmas) is no less of a special day for lack of public acknowledgement. It's still a time for family to get together, eat good food, exchange gifts, practice traditions, and (possibly) go to church. It's still a happy, heartwarming occasion. In fact, I've often found it to be the more enjoyable holiday, for the very reason that it lacks the hype and hectic-ness of "regular" Christmas.
I have a message for the soldiers of the War on Christmas: lay down your arms. You have nothing to fear in surrender.