You probably already know where this article is heading, and perhaps that’s exactly its point. When Christmas rolls around every year there’s bound to be a least one Scrooge rising from the deep depths of self-loathing in order to shake their clenched fist at yuletide celebrations. What gives? Christmas is supposedly a time of rejoicing and good cheer, whether or not you label yourself a religious person.
Christmas, the Confused
Let’s probe Christmas itself for a brief moment to lay out some of the rather ambiguous groundwork. “Christmas” is, first and foremost, the annual celebration of the birth of Christ. It is most often observed on December 25th, and has become a national holiday for many countries around the world.
Its origins are strictly Christian, and yet the holiday we see today is a confusing conglomeration of different cultures, festivals, and religions. Perhaps the most obvious intrusion is Santa Claus himself, who has roots in the Greek bishop Saint Nicholas of Myra. Today, “Christmas” in America represents a beautiful melting pot of cultures and heritages- or at least, it should.
The Most Recent Drama: Starbucks Cups
To fully flesh out this article, there’s no way the freshest critique of someone’s take on Christmas can be avoided. That critique, today, is the “Christian” accusation against Starbucks. Every year Starbucks releases an original Christmastime design for their coffee cups. Previous designs have featured symbols like snowflakes or Christmas ornaments. This year, the Starbucks cups have a yuletide design of different shades of red blending seamlessly together.
This could be offensive to someone’s version of Christmas? Sure, why not. This year’s Scrooge is the now-infamous Joshua Feurerstein who claims that Starbucks has removed the Christmas from Christmas and therefore is waging war on Jesus. Whether or not Feurerstein is just an Internet troll with a talent for putting the Internet hate machine in motion, the controversy has caught national attention and has people everywhere spitting with anger.
The Age-Old Drama: Saying “Merry Christmas”
People also love to hate the phrase “Merry Christmas” in favor of “Happy Holidays,” or vice versa. One colony of Scrooges claims that “Merry Christmas” is too religious, and the other demands that “Happy Holidays” is too secular. This becomes a sticky matter for employees at companies which don’t want to be affiliated with religion, and can turn a simple phrase into a potentially offensive and insulting comment with harmful consequences.
It seems, as a general rule, that both “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Holidays,” and any other expressions of December cheer simply mean “Let’s celebrate this joyful time together!” An awful lot of effort is put into making these things more rude or complicated- effort that, perhaps, could have been spent on something infinitely more worthwhile.
While it’s pretty unlikely that the Christmas season will cease to spawn nonsensical controversies, perhaps in the future people will be able to stand shoulder to shoulder and celebrate together their different yuletide philosophies. This sort of irresponsible and immature behavior may one day be long forgotten, and on that day companies like Starbucks will be able to produce Christmas cups without catching flack for “hating Jesus.”