GERALD FRAAS | CONTRIBUTOR
With the dawn of the 2016 winter holiday season, our culture has been thrown into the midst of the annual battle over the appropriateness of sectarian holiday greetings. For the next two weeks, the news cycle will be inundated with allegations of a ‘War on Christmas,’ or filled with pompous liberal grandstanding about the nonsectarian generic holiday image the national aspects of our culture will assume.
The truth of the matter is that there are no guns, there are no laws, only personal beliefs and viewpoints that truly fight this ‘War on Christmas.’ In economic thought, the ‘War on Christmas’ is simply a battle of market forces. If one wants to win the ‘War on Christmas,’ one must make it clear that they will be more inclined to financially incentivize a company or individual who uses a sectarian greeting.
The infamous red holiday Starbucks cup of 2015 stands out as a prime example of this non-sectarian approach to holiday celebration. Starbucks stood boldly, opting for a plain and unmemorable red cup. They thought they were being culturally tolerant, still celebrating the holidays, but not in an offensive way.
But cultural figures and Starbucks patrons complained. The red cup was bland, an obvious cop-out for Starbucks to avoid celebrating the holidays in such a way that might offend anyone but someone with a hatred for primary colors. So this year, the cup was changed to reflect a more specific celebration of the holidays via intricate winter designs.
Starbucks claims that last year’s cup was an attempt at soliciting those very designs, having encouraged their patrons to decorate their red cups as uniquely as the special snowflakes they are. Nonetheless, that’s still a cop-out, and Starbucks felt the social pressure that comes with being so tolerant of diversity that you forgo any form of expressive celebration.
With the ever-powerful First Amendment restricting the ability of the government to limit what we can and cannot say, it can truly be said that the ‘War on Christmas’ is nothing more than a cultural phenomenon spurning from the rash of political correctness impacting the nation. The ‘War on Christmas’ is not a war on Christians, but a war on the things that uniquely divide us—religions or cultural values.
This is highly ironic, considering that it’s those differences that make us a diverse nation, often the goal of those who rage against the usage of sectarian holiday greetings. To those people who are offended by the usage of a religious holiday greeting, it can only be said that they should get over it, or spend their dollar elsewhere.
To those whose feelings are hurt: quit being offended over such a simple statement. A holiday greeting, religious or secular, is a declaration of well-wishing, a desire for you to be happy. It’s no different than saying ‘Have a good day!’ Those who do see such greetings as offense need re-evaluate their reasoning for being upset. Is it really an issue of the religious aspects of our culture rearing themselves, or an issue of a poor attitude in what is easily the most wonderful time of the year?
Donald Trump recently proclaimed that “We’re going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again.” Truthfully, we as consumers and members of society should never have stopped! If you’re Jewish and feel it’s appropriate, say ‘Happy Chanukah.’ If you’re a Christian, say ‘Merry Christmas.’ If you’re more comfortable with a secular greeting, say ‘Happy Holidays.’ If you’d rather not say anything, perhaps it’s time to look in the mirror and recognize the Ebenezer Scrooge reflected in your place. It’s your choice, and your right, to say what you damn well please. Merry Christmas.