By Peyton Erickson –
‘Twas the month before Christmas, when all through America
The ‘War on Christmas’ filled heads with hysteria
Not knowing whether to say Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays
Confusion filled the area
Opinions were spread
The ‘War on Christmas’ was ahead
And everyone was ready for the fusion
That would be the inclusion
Of all of the religions in America
For those who do not know, what has been known as the ‘War on Christmas’ is a so-called ‘battle’ to make everything, from schools to advertisements in businesses, near the holiday season to become more culturally inclusive. However, many disagree, stating that it is perfectly okay if businesses and schools continue to celebrate one specific holiday, usually Christmas. Many businesses have been trying to appeal to all of the religions in order to not be bias, and not everyone celebrates Christmas.
The ‘War on Christmas’ has even split major retailers onto a side, causing stores such as Barnes and Noble, Petsmart, and Family Dollar to all say ‘Happy Holidays’ on advertisements, while Gap continues to say ‘Merry Christmas’, according to the Public Religion Research Institute.
However, where the ‘War on Christmas’ really hits hard is in public schools. States such as Maryland and Texas have even produced rules stating no one can say ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah’ in state public schools, and Maryland schools have changed ‘Christmas Break’ to ‘Winter Break’. In Lincoln Public Schools, it is currently known as ‘Winter Break.’
According to www.debate.org, a website that people may vote for what they believe on certain topics, only 20% of people think we should say ‘Happy Holidays’ vs. ‘Merry Christmas’. However, when I asked random students in the Media Center the question, “If you were blindfolded, and had no idea who you were talking to, would you tell them ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’?, Their answers were very different than www.debate.org. 60% of people said they would say ‘Happy Holidays’, while 36% of people said ‘Merry Christmas’. One person, sophomore Claire Hinrichs, said that it doesn’t matter at all. “I don’t think it (whether you say ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’) matters because you’re telling them a nice thing either way.” Others disagree. Freshman Serinity ‘Rin’ Walker said she would say ‘Happy Holidays,’ “I don’t know their religious views, I don’t know what they celebrate.”
According to the Washington Times, 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas, and 75% of them believe in the birth of Jesus Christ, which is technically the reason why Christmas occurs every year on December 25th. Yet, many studies have shown that Jesus was not born on the 25th, but rather around the end of September. According to the United Church of God, two primary reasons why Jesus was not born on Christmas day is that shepherds were in the fields watching their flocks at the time of Jesus’ birth, and shepherds were not in the fields during December. Second, Jesus’ parents came into Bethlehem in order to be in a Roman census, and censuses were not taken in winter because of the cold temperatures and the roads would be in poor condition. The end of September was produced as a valid date because John the Baptist’s mother was in her sixth month of pregnancy when Jesus was born, and John was said to be born near the end of March according to scripture.
So how did the December date come about? Well, there might have been a misconception about the date Jesus was born. After all, after thousands of years, things can be forgotten, or changed. Some believe Christians changed it to be closer to the Winter Solstice, which is always on December 20th, 21st, 22nd, or the 23rd, this year falling on December 22nd. This would be able to help more pagans to change their beliefs and convert to become Christians.
However, sometimes it seems people forget there are holidays other than Christmas in the winter time, such as Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and the Winter Solstice. Furthermore, it can be hard to know who you are talking to, and what they personally believe. “If I were to say to someone ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’, just being me, I would say ‘Merry Christmas’ just because I wouldn’t think to say ‘Happy Holidays’ because I celebrate Christmas and it’s the first thing that comes to mind,” freshmen Trista Williams said.
However you express your holiday wishes, remember to be respectful of all religions. If someone is to wish you a Merry Christmas, know that they are telling you a nice thing, even if that isn’t what you believe in.