The War on Christmas

“We make war so that we may live in peace” – Aristotle

I have always been a Christmas man. When the dust from Black Friday settled, the Christmas music started playing and the Christmas tree started to go up. The Christmas movies were played each night and the Christmas lights hung from our roof. I have gone Christmas shopping and Christmas caroling each year and often seen the Christmas lights at the temple and attended a Christmas concert. For all intent and purposes, December really should be called Christember.

in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)A billboard sponsored by a Catholic group is displayed near an exit of the Lincoln Tunnel in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010. Similarly, a billboard sponsored by an atheist group is displayed near the tunnel's New Jersey entrance. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)As with every year in recent history, the War on Christmas has begun. Atheists are taking out billboards depicting the manger scene as a myth and Christians are taking out another billboard promoting the reason to celebrate is Jesus Christ.

The first time I encountered someone who didn’t celebrate Christmas I was completely shocked! I was on a family vacation on a cruise in Christember and I met a handful of Jewish kids who didn’t celebrate Christmas. I was baffled at how the King of the Jews wouldn’t be celebrated by his chosen people during such a time as Christember, let alone not believe in Santa either. Despite that first encounter with non-Christmas people I still thought that everyone celebrated Christmas and so we should call it that.

When I worked at Cheesecake Factory in Utah we were told that Corporate wanted us to say Happy Holidays but that, given we were in Mormon Utah, to say Merry Christmas. I liked this idea a lot as I felt that we had earned a win for Christmas and for Christ.

Then I moved to DC. Last year I was a Christmas person despite staying with a Jewish family for Yom Kippur and Thanksgiving and hearing from them how Thanksgiving was the biggest family holiday because it is non-secular unlike Christmas-time. I still fought on in the battle for Christmas and Christember.

This year something must have happened though. Maybe I have been exposed to more cultures other than my own, or that I have met a lot of great Jews and finally understood Chanukah. Maybe it was the Maccabeats or being invited to the National Menorah lighting this year. Perhaps it is the menorah’s I have seen as I shopped this weekend or maybe it is that I am going to the White House Press holiday party tomorrow. Whatever the reason is, I am proud to wish everyone a Happy Holiday season this year.