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Austin Cline

Christmas vs. Holiday

By December 15, 2003

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Quite a few companies have stopped referring to the holiday season at the end of the year as "Christmas" and are, instead, simply using the general term of "holiday." This has some Christians hopping mad because they think that the true meaning of a religious Christmas is somehow lost when large, secular organizations stop using the word "Christmas."

No, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me either.

World Net Daily reports on the recently created GrinchList.com, a site devoted to "exposing" corporations that use the term "holiday" instead of Christmas:

"You load up on holiday ornaments, holiday bows, holiday lighting, holiday wreaths, holiday Santas and even holiday trees! And then it occurs to you, which holiday do they mean?!" states one page on the site. "Surely, no one would think of renaming the [Jewish] menorah the 'holiday candelabra,' nor should they. People of the other religions and cultures would never tolerate such revisionism, yet why do we? Perhaps, more importantly, why do they think they can get away with it?"

Let's see... referring to "holiday bows" is just as offensive as referring to "holiday candelabras." That's because the "holiday candelabra" is really a menorah, a symbol that has a lot of religious significance for Jews - renaming it means ignoring that religious significance and pretending that it doesn't exist.

Therefore, to devout and conservative Christians, all of these (apparently) secular ornaments, bows, lights, and wreaths actually have significant religious meaning! Why, it's just like saying "holiday barnyard" instead of creche and "holiday stick" instead of crucifix!

Like I said, it doesn't make much sense to me, either. I'd expect devout Christians who are serious about retaining the religious meaning of their Christmas would be quite pleased to see the word "Christmas" dropped from what are obviously secular observances, secular celebration, and secular symbols. When this happens, it becomes more difficult for people to confuse those secular aspects with the original religious holiday.

Personally, I'm not bothered with such confusion because I'm not personally bothered if the religious origins of Christmas end up being ignored by most people. I ignore them, so why would I mind if others do so as well? I'm just saying that I wouldn't expect devout Christians to favor anything that would aid in this process.

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Comments
December 23, 2007 at 1:06 pm
(1) Jacek says:

Man, I do not mind anyone wishing me happy holidays for Christmas. But when you say “Quite a few companies have stopped referring to the holiday season at the end of the year as “Christmas”"
You do not mention that some of those companies banned the emplyees from useing word “Christmas”

Is it not enouught to say that it is somewhat totalitarian?

Jacek

December 11, 2008 at 4:08 pm
(2) Ignatius says:

Atheists need to stop pushing their nonbeliefs on other religions. If Atheists take away Christmas and replace it with Holiday then they will go after the rest of our religions as well. Taking away our religions is the first step in taking away our other rights and freedoms until we’re just another Soviet Union.

December 11, 2008 at 4:29 pm
(3) Austin Cline says:

Atheists need to stop pushing their nonbeliefs on other religions.

Feel free to show where and how that’s happening.

If Atheists take away Christmas and replace it with Holiday then they will go after the rest of our religions as well.

You seem to be ignorant of the fact that people have been using the general term “holiday” for decades, if not longer. You may also be ignorant of the fact that there are multiple holidays taking place this time of the year and that’s why the general term is often more accurate.

Taking away our religions is the first step in taking away our other rights and freedoms until we’re just another Soviet Union.

Feel free to provide examples of how anyone is taking anything away from — aside, perhaps, from feelings of entitlement and privilege.

December 11, 2008 at 7:45 pm
(4) Michael says:

I’ll say a prayer for you tonight dude. Merry Christmas!

December 12, 2008 at 2:45 pm
(5) John Hanks says:

Babylonian skygod religion is rooted in paranoia and megalomania. It is paranoid to think that atheists are conspiring against you. (What’s the use?). And Christians think they are much more important than they are. That is why they are threatened by an atheist who doesn’t want to be forced to practice childish rituals.

December 12, 2008 at 3:13 pm
(6) Todd says:

Ignatius,

Merry Yule!

December 12, 2008 at 3:24 pm
(7) George says:

Ignatius writes “Atheists need to stop pushing their nonbeliefs on other religions.”

Here is another example of thoughtless religionism (to coin a word).
A “nonbelief”, on the face of it, claims there is nothing there so how could nothing be pushed on anyone? The writer also claims, by inference, that “Atheism” is a religion. But if atheism is full of “nonbeliefs” then how could it be a religion?
It isn’t nonbelievers who take away other’s freedoms it is the Ignatious’ of the world who eventually insist on the takeaway.

December 12, 2008 at 6:21 pm
(8) Jolly Jack says:

If only “christians” would do their homework!
They pontificate in the most holier-than-than manner, quote the bible at every opportunity, then repair to their church to take part in pagan rituals, which is exactly what “christmas” is all about.
Beats me!

December 12, 2008 at 8:12 pm
(9) Pujjuut says:

“Atheists need to stop pushing their nonbeliefs on other religions. If Atheists take away Christmas and replace it with Holiday then they will go after the rest of our religions as well. Taking away our religions is the first step in taking away our other rights and freedoms until we’re just another Soviet Union.”

Hello Ignatius, there is a religious person who I had told that I am an atheist, this person had on different occasions told me to:
“Believe in god” I didn’t give an answer to that, another phone call he said “Go to church, it’ll help you” to which I said “I don’t think so”, he also called me an “a$$hole” and “meat head”, to which I just laughed off. I have not been rude to him or called him names even when he’s being an a$$hole to me, now who’s pushing who here..

December 13, 2008 at 1:07 pm
(10) Mark Barratt says:

Ignatius, you are yet another theist who doesn’t understand the difference between being able to freely practice your favourite supersitions, and having them preferentially treated by the government to the detriment of all who disagree. Austin has many articles about this particularly religious form of blindness. Not that you’ll read them.

Nobody wants to take away your right to sacrifice goats to make the sun come up or whatever it is you like to do. People just don’t want their government endorsing one particular type of goat sacrificing to the detriment of the people who like to sacrifice goats in a different way, or the people who think sacrificing goats is silly.

And your slippery slope argument can be turned around on you. How’s about “We should ban Christmas displays because they’re just the first step on a dangerous road that inevitably ends up with the extermination and torture of all non-Christians in extremely inventive ways.” Do you like that? “Ignatius, you are the same as Hitler.” Do you like that? No? But it’s OK to say that all atheists are determined to establish carbon copies of the USSR wherever they live? That’s fine?

Feel the love, feel the love.

December 14, 2008 at 3:32 am
(11) Tom Edgar says:

Ignatius.

I have no idea which part of the Boondocks you reside but surely the news filtered through that The Soviet Union sort of disintegrated some years ago, and it is now, like the U S A “Capitalist” free for all state when previously it had been a “State Capitalist” free for none.It certainly never practiced Communism which actually means Communal and for the Community. Bit like the Israeli Kibbutz.or even the American communes of the Mennonites& Amish.

Without meaning to be denigratory I really suggest that before entering discussion with highly educated people you should improve your understanding of the world and the subject.

I do not know of atheists who evangelise nor
enter a religious organisations establishments
with the intent to “Convert.” We will speak out in defence of our right to be an “Atheist.”
You in turn, and along with the other proselytising preachers assail our forum with the expressed intention to turn us away from
your perception of our evil ways. So who actually is doing the proselytising?

Atheism’s only preaching is to establish for themselves “Verifiable Truth”. at 82 I have never met an atheist who would not convert if incontrovertible & verifiable truth for a God’s existence was presented. So far nobody, to my knowledge has done that, so an atheist I’ll remain to death, and I imagine that is closer than it is to you.

tomedgar@halenet.com.au

November 28, 2009 at 9:39 pm
(12) Beth says:

Jacek has a point. Yet everyone else would rather argue the same old thing, and no one had anything to say to his comment.. I find that funny.
I think some people are just looking for an argument.

December 8, 2009 at 11:30 am
(13) Tom says:

To any atheist who cares to answer: if you were looking to by a menorah for a Jewish friend, would you shop for a “holiday candleabra”, do you refer to the creche as a”holiday barnyard”. What other religion would tolerate the renaming of their hoilday in an effort to make others comfortable?Atheism is not for anything, it is negative campaign against anything the group disagrees with.

December 8, 2009 at 12:34 pm
(14) Austin Cline says:

To any atheist who cares to answer: if you were looking to by a menorah for a Jewish friend, would you shop for a “holiday candleabra”, do you refer to the creche as a”holiday barnyard”. What other religion would tolerate the renaming of their hoilday in an effort to make others comfortable?

The problem with this is that no one is renaming Christmas.

Atheism is not for anything, it is negative campaign against anything the group disagrees with.

Atheism is the absence of belief in gods, that’s all.

I find it stunning that you could write such grossly inaccurate statements in your comment. There is simply no connection between reality and what you appear to be seeing around you.

January 1, 2011 at 6:09 pm
(15) Rod Rogers says:

Christmas is Christmas. If people have a problem with Christmas, they can go to work. I have friends from all faiths, they all wished me Merry Christmas and I wished them back. They had no issues with Christmas. The people who had problems with the term Christmas are the Jews. Not anyone else. At work, this Jewish woman uses vulgar language day in day out and she did not find that insulting or disruptive. But when I wished another employee who celebrates Christmas she found that very offensive. So, here I have said it.

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