Here at Dawg’s we pride ourselves on being ahead of the curve when it comes to monitoring social developments and trends. As your personal post-futurists, we know you look to us for leadership: and it upsets us when Cultural Phenomena pass us by. (BTW, Dawg, are you still waiting for the clip from Mandos to finish off our Gangnam Style parody?)
A number of our very bestest conservative friends have detected a phenomenon out there in the great wild world they’re referring to as the “war on Christmas”. Apparently an unholy cabal of atheists, communists, Muslims, gays, and George Soros have been conspiring to strip you of the right to celebrate your Christmas.
Now, we acknowledge that Christmas has indeed been under attack for decades, and that its real meaning has been all but submerged in a tide of hysterical consumerism, ersatz sentimentality, and bad Bill Murray films.
But our friends don’t seem to talking about that. They seem to be suggesting that there’s a conspiracy afoot to deprive them of “their” “right” to celebrate Christmas as they see fit. In their world, to wish someone “Merry Christmas” could earn you a sock in the jaw; to put out a creche is to risk a lawsuit AND an RPG attack.
And this surprises. Speaking just for myself, my default greeting around this season has always been “Merry Christmas”. I’m an atheist, but “Christmas” is what we called this time of year in the culture I was raised in. And in sixty plus years, I’ve never once been rebuked, smacked, glared at or corrected by anyone for wishing them a “Merry Christmas”. My Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and atheist friends usually just smile and wish me “Merry Christmas” right back. They seem to get the idea that I’m expressing affection and my hopes that they have a nice holiday, in the flavour of their choice.
I guess the Christmas Warriors move in different circles. For them, wishing someone “Merry Christmas” isn’t just a friendly greeting: it’s a Sacred Obligation, and a truculent, holly-wrapped gauntlet to be flung in the face of Infidels.
And that’s the least of it. Reports of Anti-Christmas warfare are popping up all over.
- SUZANNE asserts (apparently with a straight face) that Ontario retailers have secretly agreed NOT to play any Christmas carols that mention Jesus, except for maybe St. Laurent, where she thinks she heard one. Oh, and maybe Zellers. But everybody else.
- That most erudite of social commentators, Maria “Dodo” Nunes, has declared the vandalizing of a creche on Queen St. in Toronto to be a hate crime and “another attack on Christmas” by lefties. (Since the vandals - probably drunk kids - defaced the head of a lamb but left Baby Jesus alone, I’d be more inclined to suspect belligerent PETA activists, but never mind.)
- Several vigilant Christmas Warriors blew up when Shoppers Drug Mart announced an embargo on Christmas Carols on November 2nd (including one who furiously noted that “Christmastime is when the intolerant segment of our population give vent to their hatred of Christians…”) Well, uh, not. It turns out that Shoppers was responding to complaints from customers who thought it was too early (including not a few annoyed Christians). Carols resumed on Dec. 1st.
So - ARE the forces of evil conspiring to Un-Deck Your Halls, De-Jingle Your Bells, and Belittle the Town of Bethlehem?
Let’s find out.
For three years, my friend Stageleft and I tried to track down actual, verifiable instances in which people were somehow prevented from celebrating Christmas as they saw fit. In that entire period, during which we actively solicited input from the most virulent of the Christmas Warriors, we came up with two incidents:
- The Administration of a Canadian University ordered a Christmas Tree removed from a campus lobby. The decision was immediately protested by Muslim, Jewish AND Christian students, and the tree was restored.
- Some idiot teacher changed the lyrics of the song “Silver Bells” from “Christmas Time’ to “Festive Time” for a school concert. Despite the fact that the recital included several songs that DID refer to Christmas, the “scandal” ran for four days as a National News Story, and the terrified Chair of the Ottawa School Board was forced to reassure the world formally that “there’s absolutely no risk that our board is banning Christmas”.
That seemed to be the extent of Canada’s “War on Christmas.” Frankly, calling THAT a “war” seems a bit like mistaking a rat for a reindeer. But we’re willing to be persuaded.
The Dawg Team has now re-occupied the high-tech surveillance bunker (see photo above), and between now and Christmas our professionally trained CSI team (Christmas Suppression Investigators, of course) will be looking for instances of bona fide Christmas Warfare. If you come across actual evidence of the not-very-visible “War On Christmas”, let us know. Specifically, we’re curious about people who are being denied to the opportunity to celebrate Christmas as they see fit.
Just a couple of caveats:
- We’re talking Canada here. Instances of Christmas Suppression in Saudi Arabia, Shanghai or San Francisco don’t count.
- Don’t confuse “celebrating everyone’s holiday” with a “War on Christmas”. If I’m a shopkeeper and want to make my Jewish clients welcome with a “Happy Hanukkah” sign, that’s not because I hate Baby Jesus and kittens. And it doesn’t diminish YOUR right to celebrate your holidays exactly as you see fit.
Okay, let the investigation begin. Our operators are standing by. I’m heading up the first squad, and we’re ready to take your calls. If the toll free number is jammed, just post in the comments below.
(And just in case you’re stuck on hold because of the huge call volume we expect, here’s a link to my very favourite Christmas-themed video of all time - and if I’m not mistaken, gosh, it may even have a little religious content.)