I was listening to a radio interview the other day with the guy who wrote the book “The War on Christmas,” or whatever the official title is called, which was just another in an increasing line of nonsense I have heard on the subject in the last couple of weeks. It’s not that I agree with one side or the other; I just don’t care. It’s not that I don’t care about Christmas, or that I don’t care about politics and social debates, but this “war” hit me as particularly…uninteresting.
I was raised Catholic, and Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I look forward to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for weeks, even though it seems to have snuck up on me more this year than in years past. I am fortunate that much of my extended family lives in the Denver area, so I get to spend Christmas with my family and my inlaws. I am grateful for this, and I am grateful for Christmas, but as to the debate over whether or not people and businesses should say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” just really isn’t very interesting to me.
I’ve thought about this for awhile, as to why I am so indifferent to this argument, and my conclusion is that I don’t see where this debate is worth my energy. I can’t tell you if the mall I shop at has a sign up that says “Happy Holidays,” “Merry Christmas,” or “Get Bent, You Capitalist Pig!” I don’t have any idea. I don’t pay attention to these things. Maybe I should, but that’s another discussion altogether.
There are only so many fights that I can personally fight, and on the list of battles that I’d like to undertake, this is pretty low down the line. My wife has been on me to stop volunteering for so many projects and causes, because I’m frankly just running out of time to do it all, and I hear her words when I hear this “war on Christmas” nonsense. It is for that reason that my indifference on this issue has gradually turned to irritation the more I consider it. I still don’t care what the outcome is, but I’m annoyed that we are even having the discussion (apparently President Bush is not that interested in the debate, either; his holiday card says “Happy Holidays”).
Is this really the most important issue of the day? Of course it isn’t, but how did it even make it into the top ten? I realize that the reason many people are upset about this is because they are fed up with political correctness, but why are the people fed up with political correctness not equally fed up with silly battles over meaningless outcomes? I’ll agree to an extent that political correctness has run amok. But so is starting fiery fights over unimportant issues.
What if we could take all of the people who would scoop out their own eyes with a spoon over this argument and get them to do something about education? Or health care? Or job growth? Or immigration? Or helping small business owners? Or helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina? Or sending soldiers in Iraq a care package? Or making sure stray dogs get neutered (that one’s for you, Bob Barker)? Is it too much to ask that we put our energies into something that really matters?
Should we say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays?” I don’t care. Let’s just call it, “Steve” and be done with it. Whatever. To me, it will always be Christmas, and that’s all that matters to me.
Everybody needs a cause to call their own, and that’s the biggest reason why this debate is even happening. But not every discussion is a cause, and not every cause needs someone to follow it around incessantly. Let’s fix what’s broken before we go looking to break something else.