How long ago did I write that thing about how saying “Happy holidays” meant you were a child of Satan? It’s been a few years, but we’re still dealing with people who take some kind of personal offense to being greeted that way rather than with “Merry Christmas.” Now, Donald Trump is being hailed as a hero for giving the country permission to say “Merry Christmas” again. Just when you thought life couldn’t get any more weird.
I used to work with children at the local Jewish Community Center. When I first started there, a little guy who was especially, let’s say, spirited, was leaving at the end of a particularly challenging Friday. He was a smart, sweet little boy, intent on testing his boundaries with the new teacher, and had given me a pretty killer headache by the time his mom picked him up. He had just gone out the door, the last kid to leave, when he poked his head back in the room and said, “Shabbat Shalom, Miss April!” Twenty minutes earlier he had been calling me a poop and refusing to put the scissors away. And now here he was, wishing me well, even though I was undoubtedly a great big meanie scissors-controlling poop.
I’m not Jewish. I don’t celebrate the Jewish Sabbath, or any Sabbath. The words “Shabbat Shalom” by themselves mean little to me. They are words from a language I don’t understand. But when they were spoken by a little boy in the spirit of love and friendship, they were priceless. When my coworkers said those words at the end of the week, I returned them, because I meant them: Have a safe weekend. Have a happy Friday. Peace. Love. I wish you well.
All of this Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas nonsense is a matter of pride and semantics, nothing more. There is no war on Christmas. Nobody is trying to snatch the Christmas tree out of your front window, or waiting by the mailbox with a Sharpie, ready to steal your Christmas cards and replace your greeting with “Happy Holidays.” Santa’s not going to put coal in your stocking if you smile at someone and return their greeting, even if they didn’t phrase it just the way you would.
The world is a really big place, with a lot of really cool people in it. Some of them celebrate the same holidays you do. Some of them have the same skin tone you do. Some of them call their God by the same name you call yours. And some of them don’t. That doesn’t make their words of love, peace, and hope into something malicious and ugly.
When someone chooses to use their words to share a message of joy with you and you take offense to the words rather than appreciating the message, when you slap away a hand held out in friendship because of a minor linguistic difference, you are the offensive thing. You are the one spreading a message of ugliness and despair. As long as the words are given with love, it’s one message with dozens of beautiful translations.
So with that being said-Happy holidays to you, from your favorite great big meanie scissors-controlling poop. It’s been a beautiful year.
Friends, our nation is in crisis. We’re facing serious hard times, and we have to take action now if we ever hope to recover. I’m not talking about the epidemic of homelessness or the vast number of people dying due to inaccessible health care. I’m not talking about the deplorable state of veterans’ affairs, or even the appalling number of children who go to bed hungry every night — if those little fuckers wanted to eat, they could get jobs like the rest of us, right? Bootstraps and all that, noses to the grindstone. No, the crisis I’m talking about is much more urgent and far more terrifying than dead babies and frozen old people. I hope you’re sitting down for this:
Starbucks didn’t make Jesus cups.
Yep, you read that right. Starbucks didn’t make Jesus cups.
Told you it was bad. How are we going to remember that Jesus is the Reason For the Season while we’re sipping our overpriced burnt-bean mochafrappalattewhatthefuckever if we don’t have a Jesus cup?
The fuck do you expect us good God-fearing Christians to do? Look at the Angel Tree in the mall and think about giving to others? Nobody has time for that shit; Bath and Body Works has a sale and besides, those people will just take the presents and sell them for crack anyway. You think we have time to pause and reflect on our many blessings this time of year? No we do not, we’re too busy shopping for just the right dress to wear to Christmas Eve services (hey, when you only go to church twice a year, you better look good for God). This time of year is all about Christmas, and if Starbucks is going to insist on serving us coffee in plain old red and green Christmas cups (which are not even actual Christmas colors, except they totally are) then we’re going to be forced to go home, rip down our Christmas lights, burn down our Christmas trees, send poor plastic Baby Manger Jesus to the orphanage, the plastic camels to the zoo, and the plastic wise men to the homeless shelter up the street, and then set out a sign in the front yard that says “Sorry Grinch, Starbucks already stole Christmas” and then as Mike Binkley would say, the whole world will go to hell in a handbasket.
And we have to do all of that ripping and burning and orphanaging without coffee because Starbucks hates Christmas.
I hope you’re ready, friends. I hope you’re armed in this war against Christmas: armed with your misplaced anger and your sense of vulgar entitlement, armed with your lack of consideration for anyone who doesn’t march in line with your own particular dogma, armed with your contempt for anyone who believes differently than you. Because that’s like totally how Jesus would fight this shit.
If you’re that concerned about the colors on your paper cup of cappuccino, shut the fuck up and buy your coffee somewhere else and let the rest of us heathens enjoy our coffee while we’re out doing the Christian deeds you assholes are too goddamn self-centered to do yourselves.