By Olivia Libowitz
Elm Staff Writer
The holiday season has gotten too political. That’s right, I said it. You can’t go two minutes during this time of year without hearing about “happy holidays,” the new Starbucks cup design, or why people can or cannot make little paper Christmas trees as a craft in school. Why has the build-up to Christmas become such a divisive issue? It’s Christmas for Pete’s sake. It’s a holiday based around—spoiler alert—a fake man breaking into your home and giving you an Xbox. Obviously, that is not the religious intent of the holiday. I promise I know what Christmas is about. It really shouldn’t be such a big deal if people want to celebrate it publicly.
It also shouldn’t be a big deal if people don’t want to celebrate it, which is why I’m here as your Jewish opinion writer to say that it’s about time I’m allowed to not give a crap about Christmas and be left in peace.
I don’t care about Christmas at all. I don’t care about Christmas music, or Christmas stockings, or the matching pajama sets your mom buys you every year, and I certainly don’t want to hear about it every day from Halloween on. I’d say I don’t care about your Christmas movies, but to be fair, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Scrooged,” and “White Christmas” are all in my favorite films.
The build-up to Christmas seems to be getting bigger and bigger every year, as well. Years ago, it started on the first day of December, then the day after Thanksgiving, and now it’s been the talk of the town since late October.
One reason this has been happening is the politicization and commercialization of Christmas—and, it could be argued, Christianity in general—in the last decade or two. Holidays have always been easy bank for companies, selling their wares to people under the guise of “holiday spirit.” That’s not just religious holidays, either. God forbid you don’t buy tacky pink heart shaped tins of stale nougat-filled chocolate garbage on Valentine’s Day—you’d ruin the whole affair. Christmas, especially, was such a family favorite that it was just ripe for pollution by the media and advertisement industries.
This isn’t Christmas’s fault. Christmas is a perfectly lovely holiday, and a nice time to spend with family. It’s sweet, I get it. Loving your neighbor is cool, eggnog is delicious, and caroling is a fun concept—although why you’d want to walk around in December singing at your neighbors is beyond me. I’m not blaming Christmas. I don’t want to get it “banned,” as President Donald Trump stated liberals meant to do while on his 2016 holiday tour to Wisconsin. I certainly won’t be upset if you wish me a “Merry Christmas” in the grocery store.
All that is just so people can say that you’re not allowed to just not care about Christmas these days. You must be against it. You’re part of the “War on Christmas.” If you look up “War on Christmas” search popularity, you’ll see it spiked in 2005, when FOX radio host John Gibson wrote a book with the phrase in the title. This was meant to be divisive, and to make people protective. If people think something they love is being attacked, they double the efforts to stand by it. It’s the “I can insult it, but you can’t” mentality, minus the “I can insult it” part. You buy more sweaters, more tinsel, and more fruitcake to complain about.
This all makes it difficult to just casually love Christmas, too. Now, if you love Christmas, you have to be a part of this faction of fanatics, who accuse those who don’t like “Die Hard” of being anti-Christian.
You should be able to enjoy Christmas lightly and not be scared to admit it. You should also be allowed to politely request to not have to hear “All I Want for Christmas Is You” on repeat for a whole month. A cheery holiday shouldn’t have to be so tenuous. Ironically, by fighting so hard to defend Christmas, the media and marketing are actually making it harder for people to just calmly and peacefully get excited for Christmas. Or Hanukkah. Or even just New Year’s Eve.
You shouldn’t have to defend what holidays you love like it’s under attack. Christmas is not under attack. That is hyperbolic and false. In summation, the holiday season is great, and we shouldn’t ruin it by being defensive jerks leading up to it.