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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Christmas Angel

So I stopped at Target on my way home from work tonight because I needed to buy some clothes for the child I adopted for the Christmas Angel program at work.  And as I was standing in the checkout line to pay, the lady in front of me takes her receipt and says, "Happy Holidays!"  The cashier just smiled and said thank you and started ringing up my things.  Suddenly the woman behind me says, "Pfft... Happy Holidays...  How 'bout Merry Christmas?"    Aside from a side glance and a smile, I didn't respond, and neither did the cashier, because we all know the "anti happy holiday" rant just waiting to happen and I'm guessing no one wanted it to happen in the middle of the Target checkout line.  Unfortunately (or, perhaps fortunately, depending upon how you look at it), no one was spared from the rant that follows:

"Really... Somebody's gotta do somethin' about this shit up in here.  You look like a nice young lady.  I don't know how old you are, but when I was a kid, every body went around sayin' Merry Christmas.  There was no Happy Holidays up in this place!  It was just Merry Christmas and there weren't nothin' wrong with that!  What the hell happened?  And I heard on the news today that some government guy up in there be all mad that they lit a Christmas tree outside the Whitehouse, he be sayin' somethin' 'bout separation of church n state and I'm thinkin' since when does a Christmas tree have anything to do with church n state?!  When I was a kid, it was all about Santa Clause.  I didn't grow up goin' to church.  The only day my mama made me go to church was Christmas Eve and I swear I be all sittin' there thinking what the hell are we doin' up in here?  It be Christmas and I wanna go home cuz Santa Clause was comin'.  And ya, they be all talkin' 'bout Baby Jesus and all that, but I swear, all I could think was lets go home cuz the magic is comin!  Now they be tryin' to take away that magic!  They be takin away that magic from my babies cuz they all worried about some Kwanzaa or some Hanukkah or some crazy ass Muslim... and do the Muslims even do anything 'bout Christmas time?  I don't even know what they be doin' aside from threatenin' to blow us all up all the time.  I can't walk around and say Merry Christmas to people cuz they might get offended?  You look like a nice young lady.  Would you get offended if I said Happy Kwanzaa to you?  (at which point I said no, I wouldn't be offended)  Right!  That's what I'm talkin' about!  No one is gonna get offended up in this place, but some damn idiot somewhere said we all be offendin' people and now everyone be walkin' around sayin' Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas because somebody somewhere decided it was 'bout Baby Jesus.  And when I was a kid, the church be all mad about the Christmas tree because it WASN'T 'bout Baby Jesus, now some guy somewhere in that stupid government up there thinks the tree is 'bout Baby Jesus and now we can't have no tree?!  What the hell is goin' on 'round here!  When I was a kid the tree was the prettiest thing in my mama's house.  When I was a kid we sat around watching Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer and Santa Clause Comin' To Town and Frosty The Snowman... There weren't no Baby Jesus in those stories!  There was just Christmas.  There was just Magic!  I want MAGIC for my babies!  Let's have Christmas back!  Stop makin' it all about religion and make it about family time!  It's about family time and giving!  What's wrong with that?!  What do the stupid government folks plan to do with Christmas time in the future?  Mark December 25th as just a HOLIDAY?!  Or maybe they should just call it Happy Winter Solstice Day and let all the damn hippies dance around some kind of pole!  This be gettin' outta hand here!  Let the Christians have their Baby Jesus day and leave them poor folks alone!  And let the Hanukkah people and the Kwanzaa people be, but for damn sake, can't we just have Christmas and Santa Clause day?!  What's wrong with that?!"

At that point I simply took my receipt and smiled at the lady and said, "There's nothing wrong with that.  Merry Christmas," and I gave her the biggest smile I've given anyone in quite some time because I felt honored to be standing in the middle of Target while listening to some random lady go off about Christmas in an absolutely non-religiously charged way.  And I do honor Baby Jesus, I do go to church more than once a year (though that may be a shock to some of you), and I do respect the other religions that have their spiritual holiday celebrations this time of year, but this woman has a point.  For some people in America, Christmas has nothing to do with a religious affiliation of any kind and I guess for once, the voice of the completely secular Christmas tradition made itself known in the middle of the Target checkout line and I was lucky enough to hear it.  And I walked out to my car listening for some sort of "It's A Wonderful Life" bell to go off, because I'm pretty sure a Christmas Angel just got her wings tonight, and it wasn't me.


  1. And yet for some people it is a regular reminder of how American sanctions the celebration of one group over others, and a reminder to those others that they are perceived as "less" and DO have fewer rights than the "status quo." To my mind, there *is* something wrong with that.

  2. More to the point, perhaps, every "Merry Christmas" greeting imposes a certain wish and begs for a certain response that IMPOSES a certain worldview on those who may not appreciate that worldview. If you want to wish me a good day, evening, weekend, that's fine. If you want to wish me a happy holiday season, I suppose that's fine, too. But when you tell me to have a "merry" celebration of Christ, that is NOT fine if you don't already know I share your beliefs. We're friends, so often I'm treated as though this is just a quirk, but, in actuality, it is yet another way that "tradition" is being used to remind minority groups about where they stand.

  3. I understand your view, as does the rest of the mainstream media world (at least those who adhere to political correctness). However, what I found about this woman's rant that I appreciated was to her mind "Merry Christmas" did NOT mean "merry celebration of Christ," as you put it. Perhaps you overlooked the part where she said that to her Merry Christmas was more like Happy Santa Clause day. Perhaps you overlooked the part where she said in her day she recalled Christians being mad about Santa Clause and Christmas trees because they were not seen as a part of the Christian tradition, and how growing up in her day anything Christian was the farthest thing from her mind, and she likes the trees and the Santas and the what nots, but because somewhere between her childhood and now people have associated trees and lights with "merry celebration of Christ," she is now in a position where she and her family don't get to enjoy the things she remembers as merely family time and celebration of gifts and giving. I think perhaps you missed the point and jumped right onto the band wagon that this woman was trying to point out was taking away from her ability to enjoy the season of giving because perhaps it was IMPOSING itself upon her as the new "mainstream" way of thinking and yet another way force people to CONFORM instead of practice true tolerance and learn to appreciate the differences. The words "Merry Christmas" for her had nothing to do with religious affiliation or "tradition" as you put it. This was a unique argument for me to hear as most of the time, the argument sounds like the Christian being offended by the Happy Holiday for the removal of Christ or the mainstream argument you posted here.

    Read through it again. Her argument is not yours or the Christian argument. Her argument is simply life as she sees it, which I think one should respect the same way I would respect any other view. I listened to her blatantly choose Santa Clause over Baby Jesus, and I didn't get all up in her face about it. I simply smiled and said Merry Christmas because she is entitled to her view, just as you are entitled to yours, and the rest of the world is entitled to theirs. I see no reason to be hostile or feel IMPOSED upon by anything the average working class lady in line at Target, who I am most certain doesn't hold a PhD in anything, has to say. She was a spunky lady with something unique to say. And this was an interesting moment for me. And I like to write about the people of the world. You know this.

    Good to hear from you, btw. Guess I should write more often.