Oh “Holiday” Tree

You ever wonder why they coddle to certain people only? Always worried about “offending” someone. Frankly, at some point in the future – they’ll have to worry about the consequences of their actions. History will give you some clues.

christmas tree holiday tree

Oh “Holiday” Tree

By Barbara Simpson

Now that we’re in the month of December and officially in the season of Christmas – that is, if all the advertising is to be believed – it’s time for Americans to open their wallets and $pend, $pend, $pend.

For a country that more and more tries its best to avoid taking sides in any religious celebration, this season is exempted.

Actually, I started seeing Christmas advertising and holiday items on sale in stores when we were barely past Halloween. We did, of course, squeeze in Thanksgiving, because it is a national holiday and we do have to sell all those turkeys.

But what about Christmas? As a people, we have mixed emotions about it. Catholics and other Christians take it seriously because it celebrates the birth of the Christ child – a core belief of those religions.

For them, Santa is just a delightful addition, but not part of the main reason for the season.

Non-Christians and atheists frequently go along with the “celebration” because the gift giving, parties and decorations are fun. Besides, it’s hard to deny children the excitement of Santa Claus, even if you are a non-believer.

But how we go about celebrating raises some interesting issues.

In church today, our priest gave a homily on one aspect of our Christmas celebration. He spoke of the town being filled with Christmas decorations and the tree lot doing a great business on trees of all sizes. But then he pondered the fact that, on the day after Christmas, we see that many homes have jettisoned their trees.

That’s right, on the 26th, you can drive down most any street and see many driveways littered with tinsel-strewn trees just awaiting the trash pick-up! For those families, Christmas ended at midnight.

Our priest reflected on that with sadness, for the Catholic celebration of Christmas lasts 12 days, with religious meaning for each of those days and those days are not dependent on gift-giving and the ho-ho-ho’s of Santa and his reindeer.

He’s right, of course.

As soon as Thanksgiving is over, tree lots open for business and there are customers. Clearly, those people plan to put up the trees; and there’s no doubt in my mind that no matter how well they “irrigate” it, by the 25th the tree is dry, brittle and a real fire hazard.

Aside from that, there’s another aspect of our celebration of Christmas and I had some thoughts about how my town celebrates it. Perhaps your town does the same.

I noted we have a very large lot selling trees that are called, and advertised, as “Christmas Trees.”

I noted that some retail establishments mention “Christmas” as they capitalize on the tradition of gift giving and hope that those people will make purchases in their stores to use as their gifts.

My town also arranges an opportunity for children to meet “Santa Claus” and have their pictures taken with him.

I find it odd that the town sponsors this, ignoring that Santa Claus is based on the real, historical man named Nicholas – a saint in the Catholic Church – and his life story is the background of Santa Claus bringing gifts. That fact seems to have escaped the town fathers as they don’t object to it – yet they persist in avoiding the use of the word “Christmas.” We don’t have a town “Christmas” tree. We have a town “holiday” tree.

In fact, the town has a big celebration for the lighting ceremony of a huge evergreen in our park. They sell sponsorships of the lights on the tree, raising money for charity – all well and good. But, the powers that be refuse to call that tree what it is: a CHRISTMAS TREE.

It’s a town-wide celebration. Lots of festivities and lots of people show up. The highlight of the evening is when the lights are turned on and we can all savor the beauty of the town “holiday” tree.

Yes, the holiday of Christmas is a Christian holiday, based on the birth of Jesus Christ. Without that, there is no Christmas; but that is what my town is doing, and probably yours too. The town fathers (read: politicians) want to have it both ways – the celebration, yet remain politically correct and try to eliminate the religious aspect of the day.

I thought about this and finally decided to make my views known. I went to a City Council meeting and spoke to the elected officials. I told them that as a Roman Catholic, I wanted to officially register my view that what our town is doing is offensive to my religion and me.

I told them I am offended and am requesting the policy be changed, that we get back to reality and have the town celebrate Christmas, as it was historically, should be now, and will continue. We should call the celebration, and the tree, “Christmas.” I reminded them that Christmas is a national holiday.

I said that if the town refuses to face this reality and finds it acceptable to continue to offend me (and others), then there should be NO mention of the holiday whatsoever.

I reminded them that this philosophy also goes toward how the town ignores the reason for Easter. It is not about rabbits and eggs and “egg scrambles” instead of an Easter Egg Hunt. It’s a Christian religious holiday, regardless of the politically correct games the town plays. At the very least, call them what they are – “Easter” and “Christmas” – instead of conveniently ignoring them.

I told them I was offended and requested a change in policy.

Not surprisingly – politicians that they are – they ignored my request.

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