5 Things You Didn't Know About the "War on Christmas"

Categories: Random Ephemera
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4. Using Xmas Instead of Christmas is Older Than American Secularism: The most common example of a Christian casualty in the "War on Christmas" is the fact that so many people abbreviate the holiday as Xmas. Clearly it's the work of rabid atheists attempting to banish Christ from his own birthday (Which it isn't, but for the sake of argument I happily acknowledge that it's the day Christians celebrate Christ's birth). This fixation ignores the fact that even people that regular write Xmas, never say it that way out loud any more than someone pronounces Mrs. as Mars.

The practice of abbreviating Christ's name with an X actually started at least in the first century, and appears in several early Greek New Testaments. X represents the Greek letter "chi", and was often used by copyist for the same reason people use it today; to cut down on space and effort. In the 15th century, when printing presses came into play, printers still would abbreviate Christ, as well as Christian, Christina, and other derivatives with an X to cut costs. Newspapers and other publications picked it up from there.

They assumed everyone was smart enough to know Xmas stood for Christmas since it's been that way for almost as long as the New Testament has been around.

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3. Christmas as You Understand It Is Very, Very Recent: For most of its history, America really hasn't given a damn about Christmas. It wasn't a federal holiday until 1870, and for many years after that the idea that private businesses should give the day off to all their employees wasn't standard. Before 1870, Congress was in session on December 25, and in early America several places outright banned the holiday as too Catholic or as a form of idolatry. The general attitude was that if you liked Christmas, have a Christmas. The rest of the country got on how it wanted.

Or it tried to at any rate... drunken riots on Christmas were actually the reason that New York City organized its first police force, and the holiday was regarded as worse than Halloween in terms of mischief and vandalism.

The reason we celebrate Christmas the way we do today is the same reason we celebrate most holidays the way we do. Around the time of the Civil War, there was a concerted effort to bolster a sense of unity through holidays like Thanksgiving (Which no one else ever cared about either), and a big part of that was appealing to people's sense of religion and family to basically create a forced day of generosity and brotherhood. Once retailers in the late 19th century realized that you could exploit that to make money on presents, Christmas as we know it was born.

Piece concludes on next page.

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20 comments
Brent Tisdale
Brent Tisdale

As a person who attended a public school that OUTRIGHT forbid anyone to wear clothes that had anything remotely Christian on them, be it Christmas or just a shirt that said WWJD, but would let kids wear shirts with devils, and rap stars, and even other religious, and public figures that represented anti-Christian sentiment without so much as a batted eye, I think this article is a full load of crap. I live in Texas, in a very RED area, and people still pull their "I'm offended" crap when you say Merry Christmas to them. And it's not Jews, it's not Muslims, or Buddhists, is Atheists, 100% of the time. I know cause they usually make a big public to do about it in front of the whole world, mostly because they think they are making a point, but really, most people are looking at them thinking they are an idiot.

Jim Costello
Jim Costello

This article, to me, reads as the author is rolling his eyes at those that seems aware that Christmas is less about Christ and more about commercialism. Sure, there are some people that go ballistic about keeping "Christ" in Christmas and will go through nauseous extremes to get there opinions known.. but isn't the same happening in the aetheist community?

facebook39
facebook39

Christians just have to play the role of martyr.  It's part of their religious identity.  And they love war(s) too - just look at how that all played out in Europe for all those years.  Every time I hear one of these bible-worshippers compalin about the "victim society" it makes me think of what a large role they have had in creating it.

Josh Reddoch
Josh Reddoch

"The War on Christmas" is a ruse by those in the conservative media bubble to sell books to the choir. And it works. Those people get played each and every year. So long as there is money to be made, the 'War on Christmas" will continue...

Puller58
Puller58 topcommenter

Thanks for the JBS info.  Seemed like much of the current crop of grandstanders borrow a lot from Welch's racket.

wordlover
wordlover

I've always said 'Merry Christmas" ---- Whoever doesn't like it, can suck it.  Life is too short for this nonesense.  

rgillies
rgillies

You seem like a smart young man - it is hard to believe you are from Texas

dutchs1
dutchs1

The worst War on Christmas was waged by Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans in the 1600's. They actually DID ban Christmas.

Very few of our Christmas carols are very old. Most of the religious ones are 19th century and the secular ones mostly date from the 1940's and 1950's. Santa Claus took on his modern form in the 19th century, thanks in part to Thomas Nast, who also gave us the Democratic donkey and Republican elephant (and what's on YOUR resume?). Christmas as we know it basically came into existence along with mass consumer society in the 19th century.

Read C.S. Lewis "What Christmas Means to Me" for a comment on Christmas commercialism.

Anse
Anse

This manufactured scandal is not actually without merit. There is a War on Christmas. It's just being waged by capitalist retailers with a great deal of help from their righteous rightwing Christian conservative defenders. 

cfein
cfein

This has historically been my favorite part of the War On Christmas: The "HOLIDAY" ornaments that were carried in the Fox News store advertising Bill O'Really's show -- yeah, one of the main War on Christmas jesters. 

http://www.newscorpse.com/Pix/Oreilly_Holiday.jpg

drusilla.grey
drusilla.grey

One of my 8 year old daughter's friends told her that she (my daughter) isn't allowed to celebrate Christmas because her family isn't Christian. Understandably, my daughter was very upset. While we are atheist, we do find that the holiday celebrations and decorations liven up the darkest time of year - just like the pagans did. So I sat her doeb and explained the pagan history ofbvarious holidays and talked about how Christianity adopted them. Now she can explain to her friend why it is more than ok forbour family to celebrate a holiday that's been around longer than Christ while it is also ok for her friend's family to celebrate for their Jesus.

I find the "War on Christmas" to be like most things where religion is involved - very prejudiced. The Christians - not all, but the loudest ones at least - think religious freedom means they are free to push their beliefs on others bevause they are a majority, and anyone who believes otherwise is wrong or evil. This nonsense needs to stop. There is enough seasonal depression this time of year as it is. Let's not add more with ugly intolerance. Celebrate your Christmas or Yule or Solstice or Chanukah as you please (in your owb private space, not public), and respect how others choose to celebrate.

nyscof
nyscof

Fluoridation Opposition is Scientific, Respectable & Growing

Over 4,500professionals (including 360 dentists and 554 MD’s) urge that fluoridation be stopped because science shows fluoridation is ineffective and harmful. See statement: http://www.fluoridealert.org/researchers/professionals-statement/text/

Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, Dr. Arvid Carlsson, says, “Fluoridation is against all principles of modern pharmacology. It's really obsolete.”

Most dentists are trained to use politics and not science to promote fluoridation, according to Armfield and Melbye in the Journal of the American Dental Association .

Other studies show how dentists don’t keep current on new fluoride science, e.g, this study by Yoder http://tinyurl.com/Yoder

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

"As a person who attended a public school that OUTRIGHT forbid anyone to wear clothes that had anything remotely Christian on them, be it Christmas or just a shirt that said WWJD, but would let kids wear shirts with devils, and rap stars, and even other religious, and public figures that represented anti-Christian sentiment without so much as a batted eye, I think this article is a full load of crap."

I'm not calling you a liar... except, yes. Yes I am. You're lying. For Jesus. Which is weird.

spell_I_Cup
spell_I_Cup

@wordlover and nobody gives a flying shit if you say merry christmas or happy holidays or happy unicorn day for that matter.

dyoung112060
dyoung112060

@nyscof 

I'd like these folks to show me the STUDIES that show Fluoridation DOESN'T Fight Cavities!

cfein
cfein

@nyscof -- that is, New York State "Coalition" Opposed to Fluoride -- You certainly do stay busy. When you're not spamming every fluoride-related article in my town's paper, you're apparently scanning the interwebs for every single casual mention of fluoridation and posting your nonsense propaganda wherever the word appears. One would think you'd eventually grow tired of doing something so tireSOME.

dyoung112060
dyoung112060

@cfein @nyscof Well, it WASN'T in any of those links they had there !


What a surprise, a conspiracy NUT that can't back up their DELUSION, who would have thought ?

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@cfein @nyscof It's a robot, love... a paranoid, conspiracy-theory ladened robot with access to the internet... Oh god, that's worse, isn't it?

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