I love this time of year, but at the same time, I feel part of some frustrating "war" that is coming at me from two different extremes. So please forgive me, but I am going to vent my frustrations.
1. Having to walk on eggshells at work with teaching because Christmas stuff "might" offend someone. Oh my holy. Cut it out. We're not preaching about the birth of Christ. We're just enjoying the festivities that this time of year brings and I'm just putting up my little tree with lights, maybe play some secular Christmas songs in the background (Rudolph, Santa Claus, etc).
I'm not the only teacher that is sick of all this. One has a FULL SIZE tree in her room. Another was married to a Jewish guy for many years and some of her children observe Christmas and some observe Jewish holidays. But she still puts her little Christmas decorations up. So far, no one has told us to take our "offensive" decorations down. And I know mine isn't budging.
This aggravation goes with the wearing out of the word "holiday" at this time of year. I don't mind "Happy Holidays." But I DO mind "Holiday Trees", "Holiday Stockings" etc. It's a CHRISTMAS tree, people! I'm not Jewish, but does it offend me when a Menorah is in fact called a Menorah? No! No one is calling it a Holiday Candle Holder. So please, people, cut the politically correct crap and call things what they are - Christmas Stockings, Christmas trees, etc. etc. And "Holiday" means HOLY-DAY, so if you ask me, it's just a religious word as "Christmas" is ("Christmas" is an abbreviation from the Old English meaning "Christ's Mass") and potentially just as"controversial" of a religious word that "Christmas" is in a public school setting.
2. On the other side of it, my pet peeve are people in my own Christian denomination that are extremists in freaking about some secular, pagan, and symbolic parts of Christmas. One example is angels with wings and the angel tree topper with wings (no, I'm not talking about a maxi pad. Angels)
(disclaimer: Not all LDS freak out about this. But there are some that do, and it makes me buggy-buggy-BUGGY!)
The problem many have with the wings is the belief that Angels don't really have wings. Who cares! The wings are symbols, people. We celebrate with many symbols at Christmas that these same people don't get their panties in a wad about (the wreath, the cane, etc etc). Why can't the wings be symbols too? Well, they are for me, and my husband and LOVE our angel tree topper complete with wings. This is also especially difficult for me, because my father was anti-angels-on-trees-because-of-their-evil-wings. It's one thing to just not like it, but it's another to take the problem and be hurtful to others. I made a beautiful angel tree topper when I was about 9 or 10 at a 4-H activity and he threw it out. Yeah, real Christ-like, Dad.
Sorry. Shouldn't have gone there.
2a - On that same note, those that freak about the pagan background of the Christmas Tree. So what! Germans brought the trees to America in the early 20th century and decorated with their symbols of Christ with Christmas to replace the pagan part. Therefore, what is the harm of having a tree? Go with it, people. It's not going to kill you or send you to hell. We're not worshipping the tree. We're using it as a symbol to remember and celebrate the birth of Christ.
2b - Those that freak about Santa taking away from the true meaning of Christmas. Um, what does Santa do? Gives of HIMSELF (selflessness) to all the little boys and girls. GIVING and Selflessness. Sounds like a good thing to celebrate at Christmas to me! The wisemen GAVE gifts to baby Jesus. Therefore, the Santa part sounds like to me that is was inspired by that! And St. Nicholas was a real person who GAVE to others. In my opinion (and it's my blog, so I'm giving it freely!), Santa is perfectly alright to have as a part of Christmas as long as it is balanced with the root, which is Christ's birth. Yes, Santa has been abducted by commercialism, but we can choose whether or not we "buy" into all of that or not. We can commemorate the birth of Christ and have Santa without getting caught up in all the commercialism.
2c - And on that note, even though many believe (myself included) that Christ wasn't born on December 25th, or for that matter, in the winter at all, it's perfectly okay to "observe" it now. I was born in the month that we believe Jesus was born in, and I wouldn't mind celebrating my birthday now too. Really, it's okay. We're not celebrating Christmas when the birth happened, but BECAUSE it happened. That's more important! And I for one am glad we celebrate Christmas in December. It wouldn't mean the same in April, and it certainly would be too warm for hot cocoa with marshmallows.
Ending with a little humor. This is one of my favorite "irreverent" Christmas, um, "symbols". The redneck Christmas decoration: