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Author Topic: The War On Christmas
Everard
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"But as long as it's not the dominant, it's okay then?"

Nope.

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by Everard:
"But as long as it's not the dominant, it's okay then?"

Nope.

So, perhaps all the non-dominant cultures can go ahead and choose to give up Christmas, give it back to the Christians (many of whom will drop it like a hot potato), and then we can all sit back and try to tolerate each other's culture, whether it's the dominant one or not, and forgive little lapses like assuming that the next person over is from the same culture (or, as is often assumed, isn't).

How's that sound?

[ November 30, 2005, 11:01 AM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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EDanaII
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quote:
Yes, one dominant culture. But if that dominant culture is systematically rude, abrasive, ignorant, and offensive, then it can't really be considered a worthwhile culture, at least in my book.
You're argument in this thread is characterized by the usage of absolutisms, such as this one.

As Javelin points out, it's OK for the subculture to be rude while for the dominant culture it's intolerable?

Unfortunately, while I previously conceded this point, you force me to return to it. I recognized that, upon occasion, the branch must break. Yet you continue to argue that the wind is "rude" for blowing. You call me foolish, and yet you continue to ignore the reality of the situation and, instead, bring to the fore idealistic arguments of what ought to be rather than practical one's of what is.

Imagine the gazelle, telling the lion it's rude to be eaten. "No," cries the gazelle, "we should all live in peace and harmony!" "Yea," replies the lion, "but you taste SO GOOD!" So, who's the more foolish? The lion for his need to feed? Or the gazelle, for his failure to run?

Now, to be fair, my analogy falls apart because we are not talking about actions that destroy lives. But, this too, is where your argument fails, because we are not talking about actions that destroy lives. We're talkin' about someone wishin' someone else a Merry Freakin' Christmas, fer chrissake! Talk about hyperbole! "What a rude and evil society that visits this injustice on the poor undeserving Scrooges of the world!" The Horror! The HORROR!

And "the answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind..."

As to the other points you raise... You just shifted the burden of proof. You're the one that was arguing that multicultural societies promote growth. I don't disagree. I did nothing more than point out that you can't have direction without leadership, that no leadership exists when no one is dominant, and that lack of leadership WILL lead to stagnation. So, I don't need to prove that it does exist or did exist in past cultures. I only need agree with you and to provide an analogy where leadership is key. Hence the Captain of the Ship analogy.


@ lessismore:
quote:
The time of year, winter: death – longing/hope for rebirth, peace - has been celebrated for pretty much all of recorded history and through out that time it has been adapted, changed, updated, backdated… and I’m sure each change was seen as the end of the world, yet the theme, death, hope, rebirth appears to remain consistent.
Today its call Christmas and that is likely to change as current culture changes, but nothing will change.

As I pointed out to Cytania, possesion is 9/10 of the law. The origins of the holiday are irrelevent, the Christian's own it now. As long as Christian's don't insist on putting Christ into Hannuka or Qwanza, there's no issue here.


@ Javelin:
quote:
and forgive little lapses like assuming that the next person over is from the same culture (or, as is often assumed, isn't).
Oh, would you just STOP being so reasonable? [Wink]

Ed.

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Everard
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" Yet you continue to argue that the wind is "rude" for blowing."

No, not for blowing. *Shrug* The metaphor breaks down here. I think its rude of people to assume that everyone is part of the dominant culture. I don't find it rude that people engage in the "christmas spirit", but I do find it rude that people expect me to just blithely go along with christmas, and take part in the celebrations, and enjoy the "christmas spirit" when christmas is not part of MY culture.

Whats startling to me is that so many CHRISTIANS I know find the entire christmas season to be rude, bordering on offensive. And here, well...

"You call me foolish, and yet you continue to ignore the reality of the situation and, instead, bring to the fore idealistic arguments of what ought to be rather than practical one's of what is"

No, Ed. I'll continue to call you foolish since you continue to say I am arguing something that I'm not.

Yes, dominant cultures can be rude in the practice of their culture. Christmas is one such occassion where that often happens. That doesn't mean I'm saying that people shouldn't celebrate christmas. I'm saying they should be less rude about it. For example, if someone (me, age 12) comes into your store to shop, and is wearing a star of david, perhaps saying "merry christmas" is not the most polite thing you can do.

"You're the one that was arguing that multicultural societies promote growth. I don't disagree. I did nothing more than point out that you can't have direction without leadership, that no leadership exists when no one is dominant, and that lack of leadership WILL lead to stagnation. So, I don't need to prove that it does exist or did exist in past cultures. I only need agree with you and to provide an analogy where leadership is key. Hence the Captain of the Ship analogy."

This was not at all clear from your previous post. In fact, it was pretty clear (at least to me) that you were saying that cultural unity does not lead to stagnation, because cultural unity is like a ship having a captain. In fact, strike me blind, thats EXACTLY what you said "And, no, cultural unity does not lead to stagnation, nor decay any more than the captain of a ship automatically dooms the vessel"

I apologize for reading your statement the way you wrote it, rather then what you may have meant.

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EDanaII
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I'm not arguing that you are arguing that people shouldn't celebrate Christmas. I'm arguing that you shouldn't make a mountain out of a molehill.

All other arguments are immaterial.

Ed.

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The Drake
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Is it rude of people to assume any demographic likelihood when dealing with a stranger? Is it rude for someone to assume that someone is heterosexual, and ask them out on a date?

Subcultures generally develop markers to help identify themselves, if they are not already present (like skin color). I suspect that very few people wearing a Yamulka or Kufi are wished a Merry Christmas.

In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, is it really so terrible to assume something that is very likely to be true until you are corrected?

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javelin
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quote:
In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, is it really so terrible to assume something that is very likely to be true until you are corrected?
I hope not. If we truly accepted that, we'd pretty much become extinct over the next twenty years - assumptions are a crucial survival trait.
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EDanaII
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To be fair, Drake, Ev has pointed out in one of his examples, that he was wearing a Star of David when he got wished "Merry Christmas."

Unfortunately, this is still a mountain/molehill issue as he seeks to condemn the well wisher for his well wishing.

Ed.

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ssci
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quote:
Unfortunately, this is still a mountain/molehill issue as he seeks to condemn the well wisher for his well wishing.

It does seem to point to something deeper.

I was raised Lutheran and married a wonderful Jewish woman. Personally I don't have a problem with people wishing me a happy Hannukah.

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EDanaII
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Nor would I have a problem with being wished "Happy Hannukah." I'd simply say "Thank you" and that'd be the end of it.

[ November 30, 2005, 12:20 PM: Message edited by: EDanaII ]

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sfallmann
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quote:
Originally posted by EDanaII:
Nor would I have a problem with being wished "Happy Hannukah." I'd simply say "Thank you" and that'd be the end of it.

I agree. Someone is wishing you well. Does it matter if you don't celebrate the holiday? I think some people need to take the chip off their shoulders and not let a kind gesture become an offense. For all those people who hate Christmas, I suggest you go to work that day as a protest.
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Lady Starkiller
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There are two basic responses one can have to something he finds insulting: grow angry or laugh. My father used to often call me by some variant of "my fat daughter" for years (which is a great deal more offensive than being wished a merry Christmas). I used to get very angry, and it would build up to the point that I'd get severe headaches and neckaches from the stress. Later, I realized what was happening, and began to laugh it off, and the insult lost its power.

Anger makes one focus on what it is that makes him angry. Laughter lets one let it go. I find it funny that those who get so insulted by Christmas actually spend more time focusing on Christmas than the Christians do!

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Everard
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*sigh*

Its still rude to make assumptions about someone. Normally, it doesn't bother most of us when its something as trivial as wishing someone else a merry christmas. However, after a long period of having one's face mashed into christmas, that minor rudeness can easily cause someone to say something rude back.

It doesn't bother me anymore when people wish me a merry christmas. I've gotten over it. But it does bother some people, and condemning them for being bothered strikes me as compounding the initial error.

I try not to make the assumption that people celebrate christmas, even when I'm selling people roast beefs or turkeys on christmas eve day. "Have a nice holiday," to most people is much more inclusive, because christmas, for most people, under the secular meaning of holiday, IS a holiday, even those who do not celebrate it. EVERYONE (Except people working in chinese restaurants, and movie theaters, and emergency personel) has christmas off from work or school (and those people get a lot of extra pay, usually).

The entirety of my point is that Drake's comment back on page one calling people who get upset "knuckleheads," is misplaced name-calling. It would be entirely different if the only event that was annoying was the trigger event of being wished "merry christmas." But its not the only event, and looking at that event in isolation misses the point that (at least in the northeast, maybe not in california, *shrug*) EVERYONE, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc. has their face rammed into christmas (the secular, profaned version, no less) for weeks, and that can be truly grating.

A little courtesy on everyone's part can make what is a trying time for many people, a little bit more bearable.

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LoverOfJoy
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Not long ago someone wished me a happy pirate day or something like that. Do I look like a pirate? [Mad]
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Everard
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Yes you do.
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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
Yes you do.
How rude! [Big Grin]
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LoverOfJoy
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So if I'm one of those atheist emergency personnel who work on Christmas are you being rude by wishing me "Happy Holidays" and assuming I either celebrate a holiday or at least have off work or am I being overly sensitive to be offended at something as innocuous as "Happy Holidays"?
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Everard
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Of course I'm being rude. But the nice thing about using "happy holidays" is that people recognize when you say that, that you are trying NOT to make assumptions. Most people are much less likely to take offense if its apparent that the attempt is being made to avoid giving offense.

Yes, "merry christmas" is a minor rudeness. No, people aren't going to stop saying it. Yes, getting offended if thats the only offensive event of the kind is over-reacting. And getting offended when there are literally thousands of minor rudenesses of the same kind in a short period is not necessarily over-reacting.

I'm not actually calling for anything other then for people to recognize that its not necessary being a "knucklehead" when someone gets upset at you for wishing them a merry christmas. Although it would be nice if more people, especially in multi-cultural areas, would use "happy holidays," its not a major area of concern, and I have no expectations of improvement, so I don't worry about it too much. But I do worry when people lack the necessary empathy to understand why someone might snap back when someone wishes them a merry christmas.

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EDanaII
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Ah! So, as to not be rude, one must always be able to read minds, or constantly worry about what they are going to say is going to offend someone!

It's all so clear now! [Wink]

Translation: the Wind MUST blow around the tree.

Ed.

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Mormegil
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I know I'd sure be offended if someone wished me a "Happy Gay Pride Day" just because I live near San Francisco.

So I understand Everard's point. Me, I've always preferred "Happy Holidays" for just that reason. When I was a kid I said Merry Christmas and got a few "oh, we don't celebrate christmas"es in response.

I suppose if you live in a place where 99.44 percent of people *do* celebrate it, it's a little more forgiveable, but really it's nice to not make assumptions about people, if it's possible.

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The Drake
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Ev,

I think your comments are certainly sensible. I can easily understand how people who could laugh off 3 days of holly kris kringle cheer, become twisted after six weeks of it. When I lived in Boston, my personal pet-peeve was the fixation on the damned Nutcracker.

I know lots of people who hate the focus on the holiday. Not to mention all those people getting PAID for NOT WORKING. Lost productivity as people plan gift giving or shop on COMPANY TIME! It's a manager's nightmare.

But like it or not, as long as much discretionary spending is tied to the season, advertisements will prevail and the population will follow. In the consumer electronics industry, our entire year is derived from two global shopping events - Back To School (which I personally find even more annoying than Christmas) and Christmas. Companies live and die by sales in those two periods, and know that you get the most value for your ad budget during the run-up to those events.

As mentioned in a previous thread, the gifts are often something a person would not buy for themselves. Because they know better. This glut of sacrifice (debt) for the sake of another's happiness is truly twisted. But since I prefer to go on with my comfortable life, designing crap that people don't really need at high markup...

Long Live Christmas! [Big Grin]

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EDanaII
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quote:
But like it or not, as long as much discretionary spending is tied to the season, advertisements will prevail and the population will follow.
Damn that wind! [Wink]
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Everard
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"Ah! So, as to not be rude, one must always be able to read minds, or constantly worry about what they are going to say is going to offend someone!"

Well, yes. If you don't pay attention to what you say, you are liable to offend people in one fashion or another. We all screw up from time to time, but when we pretend that just because we don't mean to be offensive, then we must not actually be giving offense, then common curtesys breaks down. Most offenses that occur when we aren't paying attention to what we say, are relatively minor offenses. And most people brush off most minor offenses. But that doesn't mean that they aren't offenses.

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KidA
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quote:
Nor would I have a problem with being wished "Happy Hannukah." I'd simply say "Thank you" and that'd be the end of it.


You know, I really love Chanukah. And I'm as New England-Mayflower-Waspy Lily White as they come. They oughta call me Mr. Waspy Wasperson. But I so prefer everything about Chanukah to Xmas. It gives me that cozy, familial feeling that Xmas is supposed to but does not. I suspect this has something to do with the total lack of Chanukah pop-songs on the radio (The mind reels. "Chanukah Hippo"?), total absence of Chanukah blowouts at Wal-Mart and Target, and the non-existence glowing, animatronic menorahs the size of the space shuttle on people's front lawns. Everything about Chanukah seems genuine to me, so I'm happy if someone wishes me a "Happy Chanukah." It's a refreshing change.

[ November 30, 2005, 01:32 PM: Message edited by: KidA ]

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Lady Starkiller
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quote:
A little courtesy on everyone's part can make what is a trying time for many people, a little bit more bearable.
So, if I am insulted by someone wishing my a happy Valentine's Day, or somesuch, I should be even more rude back to them by blowing up in their faces?

A little understanding goes much further than a little courtesy. Many of those people wishing you a merry Christmas would think they were being rude if they didn't.

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Everard
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"So, if I am insulted by someone wishing my a happy Valentine's Day, or somesuch, I should be even more rude back to them by blowing up in their faces?"

Where in the hell have I said that the response was a GOOD thing? Good grief.

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EDanaII
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Where have you said it wasn't?

Don't leave it to us to infer it, if you don't wanna argue it.

What you're failing to recognize here is our position, that it is EVEN MORE RUDE to spit in the face of those who wish you well.

Yes, people should be considerate. But that's a _two way street_ and applies to the Scrooges as well as the Cratchets.

Ed.

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javelin
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Hey, Everard - just so you don't think everyone is poking at you - I get and appreciate your point. Calling someone an idiot for being offended is pretty lame.
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javelin
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Everard never even implied that it was appropriate to be rude to people who wish you "Merry Christmas". Knock it off people.
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lessismore
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If a remark, greeting, statement can be interpreted positively or negatively but there is no evidence to assume either then the rule of charity is to take the positive reading. It makes life a lot easier.

In a 1000 years it’s likely that there will be some kind of celebration at this time of year, that may or may not be “owned by Christians” but I’d bet the same debate will be around and that someone is going to feel put out by the “dominate culture” of the time. Maybe that’s how culture changes.

Interesting statement “The origins of the holiday are irrelevant, the Christians own it now.” Assuming that Christians do “own” the holiday then I would assume that the origins, in the Christian meaning, would not be irrelevant. That it appears to be irrelevant seems to indicate that our “dominate culture” is indeed changing.

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The Drake
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Everard has pretty clearly been describing feelings and justifying reactions, not advocating actions. At least it was clear to me, and we're on opposite sides of this debate.

He's also stated that he adjusted, so obviously he wouldn't think that vocalizing that reaction would be a preferred path.

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EDanaII
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Fair enough.

However, that doesn't change my point he's expecting one side to be considerate while giving a free pass to the other.

Ed.

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by EDanaII:
Fair enough.

However, that doesn't change my point he's expecting one side to be considerate while giving a free pass to the other.

Ed.

Sure it does. You are basically pulling, out of whole cloth, that he condones bad behavior / consideration on the part of the offended - he hasn't said that, and it hasn't really been implied.
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EDanaII
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Let's be clear. I actually agree with Ev's point too, but it's just as valid a point to say that the person being "insulted" is taking it all too seriously.

This reminds me, somewhat, of that whole Religion is Bad argument we had with LinuxFreakus: you can't mention the bad without recognizing the good.

Now, to be fair to Ev, I actually respect his argument (and many of his other arguments) by far better than that one we had with LF.

But if you don't say it out front, sorry Jav, then it can be inferred that its your meaning. This happens all the time. Ev's done it. You've done it. I'm obviously doing it. Practically every human being alive does it. So, I wasn't chastising Ev for not spelling it out clearly, merely pointing out that if it isn't one had better expect to deal with it.

All that said, I'm willing to concede the point, but I'm still not willing to drop the argument that we're talking about a two way street: that both sides can be rude about the whole issue.

As to calling someone an idiot for it all? Same thing. It's just another two way street. But if I were Ornery enough [me coughs] I could make the case, should someone overreact to the issue, for that person to be an idiot. Which is wiser? Reacting to perceived insults? Or real ones?

So to me, it's all, just as I said in my first response to Ev, much ado over nothing.

Ed.

Edited to remove my response to lessismore. I'll reply at a later time.

[ November 30, 2005, 06:54 PM: Message edited by: EDanaII ]

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Mormegil
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Ed, during this thread you've created enough straw men for a whole regiment.
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witless chum
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Wow, I've been pretty atheistic and pretty annoyed by religion and I don't recall ever thinking I should be annoyed by "Merry Christmas."

I dunno. I've always of thought Christmas in America as totally secularized. It's got only slightly more to do with Jesus than July has to do with Julius Caeser.

My solution for annoying Christmas culture is the listen to "A Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues a few times. Cheers you right up.

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EDanaII
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quote:
Ed, during this thread you've created enough straw men for a whole regiment.
OK, Mormegil. I'll just take your word for that. [Wink]

Ed.

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EDanaII
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@ lessismore:
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Interesting statement “The origins of the holiday are irrelevant, the Christians own it now.” Assuming that Christians do “own” the holiday then I would assume that the origins, in the Christian meaning, would not be irrelevant. That it appears to be irrelevant seems to indicate that our “dominate culture” is indeed changing.
Then let me be a little more clear.

"The origins of the holiday are irrelevent for determining who controls the holiday." You simply can't argue that, since the holiday contains pagan rituals, the Christian's have no right, for example, to insist that the tree remain named the "Christmas tree." Regardless of where or how the tradition started, it's their tradition now. Possession is 9/10 of the law.

Ed.

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Bradford
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"If I had my face shoved in it for 2-3 straight months every year?"

I think your pushing it a bit here.

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Haggis
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I saw the first Christmas decorations up in a local mall in the middle of October. I heard my first Christmas Carols in stores by the middle of November. I used to like Christmas Carols. I loathe them now. Ev may have been pushing it, but only a bit.
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