No such thing as ‘war on Christmas’
Editor’s Note: Views expressed in guest columns and letters to the editor reflect the views of the author, not the views of The State News.
Christmas season is a wonderful time of the year for many people. When the leftovers from the Thanksgiving turkey finally have been finished, and students begin working hard to defeat the looming finals, one thing is on most people’s minds: Dec. 25.
Christmas is a day that provides many with the chance to relax and enjoy time with their family and closest friends. It connotes festive feelings — being jolly and thankful to those around you and generosity through gift giving to those to whom you are closest.
But many think the holiday is under attack by secularists and atheists, creating a so-called “war on Christmas” that hopes to destroy a holiday so close to so many Americans’ hearts. Fox News provides annual segments detailing how the holiday is being attacked, attempting to prove this much-loved holiday does not receive the same respect it once did and that many are attempting to limit its influence.
Those who advocate that America is experiencing a “war on Christmas” point to such actions as those taken by the Rhode Island Statehouse, which renamed its Christmas tree a “holiday tree.” Protests broke out in years past, causing current Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee to announce the lighting of the tree just 30 minutes before it took place. He blamed the actions of the protesters from the year prior for his short notice, saying the event turned into “a very disrespectful gathering.”
Those who believe America is experiencing this war also identify the actions taken by a San Antonio man as those who attempt to limit their holiday spirit. The Texas man, an atheist, is suing the city of Athens, Texas in an attempt to keep a nativity scene away from a county courthouse. The man faced Christian protests last year when threatening a lawsuit for the same reason.
But this supposed “war on Christmas” is a false narrative that does not exist in America. In fact, over the past few decades, it seems Christmas’s influence on American culture has gotten stronger.
TV advertisements about Christmas now begin in late October, highlighting the upcoming Black Friday shopping deals for those wishing to purchase their Christmas gifts early. Black Friday used to be an event that took place in the early hours of Friday morning when Americans would line up around store entrances to take advantage of discounted prices. The shopping frenzy now begins late Thursday night in many stores, impeding the Thanksgiving celebrations still taking place for many families.
Year-round Christmas stores that sell holiday items and Christmas trees also have gained popularity during the past few decades. My hometown of Lake Orion, Mich., is also home to one of the biggest year-round Christmas stores in the world, Always Christmas in Canterbury Village.
But if the stock at Always Christmas, is not suiting the typical holiday decorator’s needs, one must simply drive only an hour north from my hometown to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, in Frankenmuth, Mich., the self-proclaimed “World’s Largest Christmas Store.”
And many radio stations also provide 24/7 Christmas music to listeners beginning in early November. Metro-Detroiters, like myself, turn their radio to 100.3 WNIC to hear all-day Christmas music beginning sometimes as early as Nov. 1. My roommate identifies himself as Jewish and scoffs each time I play Christmas music in our house. Yet he knows every word to every Christmas song.
And if one is not satisfied with the holiday spirit they’re enduring Christmas morning, one simply must change his or her TV’s channel to TBS, where the network shows “A Christmas Story” all day beginning late Christmas Eve.
Even MSU’s campus displays holiday decorations to celebrate the season, and although most are generic “Happy Holidays” light fixtures on dorm halls, some hold deeper connotations with the Christmas season.
Frankly, there is no such thing as a “war on Christmas” in America. This country is one built with a Christian hegemony, causing a mass celebration of Christmas for all Americans, even those who don’t identify as Christian. Although some parts of the country are starting to become more secular than others, Christmas’s reign as the supreme holiday during December will continue.
Alex McClung is the opinion writer at The State News and an international relations sophomore. Reach him at email@example.com.