11 December, 2006

I Think Bill O'Reilly Killed Christmas

Last year you couldn't turn around without hearing someone complain about not being told "Merry Christmas" when checking out at a store. I personally didn't care, because I worked retail for a long time and it's just more efficient to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year." (Back when I was in retail, Kwanzaa was on nobody's radar and it was Northern Indiana so "feliz Navidad" wasn't germaine.)

This year several places appear to have ducked the controversy by pretending that The Holidays don't exist at all. I'm sick about it.

Friday night we went to dinner at a popular chain restaurant. In past years this restaurant has been festively decorated with lights, poinsettias and little trees. There's been Christmas music piped over the speakers and you feel part of the festivities while you eat. On Friday it was a different story. Nothing about the restaurant said "Christmas" at all. I felt cheated, because one of the reasons I eat in restaurants in December is to soak up that feeling of the whole world celebrating together. I don't particularly care if we are celebrating different things. I just like the idea of celebrating, casting off the "business as usual" feel for 4 or 5 weeks of happy.

When we went Christmas shopping on Saturday, only one of the stores was playing Christmas music. None of the stores were decorated at all. Why do I blame Bill O'Reilly? Because he was at the forefront of that whole "Merry Christmas" nonissue last year. And I think that a lot of the stores have opted out of any acknowledgement of the Holidays in order to avoid being dragged into another non-story controversy for the sake of highly-rated agitprop.

In past years I've bristled about buying gifts online because I've always felt that you miss out on some of that ambience by sitting at your desk. From now on, though, I think I'll just buy exclusively online. I can play my own Christmas music over iTunes while I shop and I won't feel so perfunctory.


At 10:44 AM, December 11, 2006, Blogger Slartibartfast said...

To get my ambiance fix, I usually shop online then go to the malls and watch everyone else lose their minds. Big fun for all.

BO and the others ruined a good thing. We were on pace for Christians to take back their holiday from the wider consumer culture. Christmas would have become a strictly religious holiday again, and society in general could have the more consumption-oriented 'holiday'. Alas, we've taken a few steps back this year.

At 7:23 AM, December 12, 2006, Blogger W said...

Sounds like that story I read about why Seattle Airport took down their Christmas trees. A rabbi complained they didn't have a menorah, and hired lawyers. So the airport took their trees down rather than risk having to put up a symbol of whatever holiday every single person wanted to celebrate.

At 8:07 AM, December 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No spin Bully forgot to add to his story about the lawyers. Trees are not religious, Menorahs are ! Get it right BILL Boy.

At 12:13 AM, December 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a Bill O'Reilly fan. However, I think you are blaming him for exactly what he was complaining about. It may have been a non-issue to you, but Christmas has been gradually disappearing for awhile now. The kind of things you are talking about are exactly what he was talking about last year. Just because you were not directly affected by the political correctness police until this year, does not mean they haven't been trying to downplay Christmas before now. I have experienced several instances of Christmas being literally taken away for the past several years including my boss ordering me to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. O'Reilly was just the first public person to say what has been a frustration for a lot of us for a long time. I honor other holidays as well, but I resent being criticized for wanting to enjoy my Christmas!


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