It seems the city of Boston has ditched the term “Christmas Tree” as the official title of the giant spruce they erect on the Boston Common to celebrate a certain holiday that occurs at the end of every calendar year. Now it's officially called “The Holiday Tree,” and the people who want the city to continue calling it a “Christmas Tree” are fuming. They claim the word “Christmas” and all that goes with it is under attack.
It's true. Every year around this time, all across the country, a battle is waged against the word “Christmas,” and every year the word seems to lose a little more ground, the Boston tree being just one example.
Of course, the people who want to protect the word Christmas aren't taking this lying down. There are countless organized groups out there striving to keep “Christmas” in the mainstream. One such group, the Committee to Save Merry Christmas, uses its influence to boycott companies, like Macy's and Sears, that don't use “Christmas” in their marketing or signage. According to their website (www.savemerrychristmas.org), the primary goal of CSMC is to “preserve the culture and tradition of the vast majority of Americans that celebrate and honor Christmas.”
“When did it become offensive to display or say, ‘Merry Christmas'?” they write in their mission statement in a passionate outcry against political correctness gone amuck, and as nauseated as it makes me, I must admit this is political correctness.
However, political correctness is like cholesterol: There's Good Political Correctness and there's Bad Political Correctness. And the line that separates them is the same as the line that separates the public sector from the private sector-meaning, you could put a sign on your house that says “Heil Christmas,” for all I care, so long as you keep it off my city hall.
Bad Political Correctness bullies individuals or corporations into saying and thinking what the majority wants them to say or think.
Good Political Correctness helps keep the government from saying or doing anything that is exclusive to any of its denizens.
Bad Political Correctness would force a person to take down his “Heil Christmas” decoration.
Good Political Correctness keeps racism, homophobia, misogyny and religious persecution from becoming institutionalized ideologies.
I could write 23,000 columns about the folly of state-sanctioned religious holidays, and none would be so pertinent as this quote from someone seeking their religious holiday to be sanctioned by the state: “This intentional and deliberate exclusion of ‘Merry Christmas' in advertising and decorations is extremely offensive to the culture and tradition of Americans who honor and celebrate Christmas.”
That's the mission statement of the Committee to Save Merry Christmas, and-well, well, well-just look how hurt and angry Christians become when their religious holiday is snubbed. So how do they think all those Massachusetts Jews feel when the city puts up their yearly “Fuckyou Spruce” in the middle of the Boston Common? Because that's what it is, isn't it? To Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists and Raelians, a Christmas Tree is just an enormous, green middle-finger fuck-you sticking in their faces-adorned with lights and ornaments purchased with their tax ducats.
So, yes, I think removing the “Christmas” from the public lexicon is a good idea.
However, we should tread lightly on that word. Let's be honest. This is or was a Christian country. Christmas is deeply entrenched in American culture. We can't just thoughtlessly rip the two apart and expect anything other than chaos to ensue. It must be a slow and deliberate severance-like those 40-hour Siamese-twin separation surgeries.
And that's why I propose to find a replacement word for “Christmas.” A word acceptable to everyone. A word that won't alienate any particular group yet still pays homage to the Christian definition so they'll stop whining.
My American Heritage 3rd Edition says “Christmas” comes from the old English Cristes Mæsse, which means Christ's festival or celebration. So if the “mas” in Christmas means “celebration,” we can leave that suffix in place. Now all we have to do is find an all-purpose root word to replace the “Christ” part of Christmas without actually replacing it-a root that encompasses all and excludes nothing. Hmmm, what could that root word be?
I know: how about “X.” Eureka!
The replacement word for Christmas should be “Xmas”! It works for everybody: the secularists, atheists and minority religions can adopt the term “Exmas” because, in this case, “X” means “the unknown quantity,” like in algebra. So whenever they see or hear “Merry Exmas,” they just merely insert their savior's name and keep smiling and walking.
For the Christians, the “X” in Xmas stands for the cross, which is also a symbol for Christ, whom Christians consider to be the ultimate X-Man. And, since “Xmas” is already an accepted abbreviation for Christmas, it wouldn't be that far of a leap for them to accept Exmas as the new word for Christmas: “Hey, everybody, let's go downtown and see the Exmas parade!”
And the best part is, we wouldn't have to rewrite any Christmas songs since Exmas rhymes with Christmas and has the same number of syllables:“I'm dreaming of a White Exmas/ Just like the ones I used to know.”
And then everyone could sing that song, and everyone could decorate that tree, and everyone could be in that parade. It would totally and truly be all inclusive. And that's what it's all about, right-including everyone? So, merry Exmas, everybody. I wish each and every one of you a very merry Exmas.
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