Marcia’s Law – WHO’s Stealing Christmas?
“You can’t hurt Christmas, Mr. Mayor, because it isn’t about the…the gifts or the contest or the fancy lights. I don’t need anything more for Christmas than this right here: my family.”
-How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Sunday morning, we looked out our front window and saw that a lawn ornament had been deposited on our front walk. It wasn’t just an ordinary outdoor ornament; it was one of those new-fangled white spirally Christmas trees that looks a lot like Charlie Brown’s sad little incarnation until they are plugged in and lit up. This one was definitely unplugged.
We figure that a roving band of teenagers, on their way home from loitering at the local park had decided that a little vandalism was their way of celebrating the season. They decided to make a little mischief as they wended their way home. The irony of it is that the ornament belongs to our neighbor who thinks that gay people are stealing Christmas. No wonder it was planted on our property. We have a gay son. Ergo: the theft.
Hence the newest form of scapegoating that the right wing nut jobs have invented: Gay people are stealing Christmas.
I don’t know how that is possible. My other neighbor is gay, and his house is ablaze with lights and Christmas cheer. I know he bought all that stuff. No thievery going on there.
Perhaps the people predisposed to thinking gays are prompting Armageddon do not understand that Christmas is an amalgamation of various traditions, both religious and secular. While Christmas has several genuinely old (and often pagan) elements, how we celebrate it today is a relatively new development. The Puritans censored Christmas because they knew it for what it was, a pagan midwinter festival. And, until the middle of the 19th Century, most Americans did not celebrate Christmas at all (Jason Mankey).
Some of our most revered traditions, the Yule log, the tale A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, the poem, The Night Before Christmas, and even Santa Claus all have their origins in festivals and holidays that existed before Christianity. But, the common denominator of all of these holidays, festivals, and traditions is gift giving, feasting, family, and drinking.
In days of yore, people didn’t want to give up their traditions (especially the unadulterated gluttony) so when the early Christians decided to establish a date to celebrate the birth of Christ, they settled on an already existing holiday. That way, people could continue their old traditions (especially the drinking) while embracing the new.
What has happened over the years is that capitalism has taken precedence in shaping Christmas. The gift giving aspect has really taken off. There are goods to be sold. And where there are goods to be sold, there is money to be made. Where there is money to be made…well this IS America after all.
Which is why I’m confounded about this notion of gay people “stealing” Christmas. Every gay person I know is out there spending their money as much as anybody else this season. And, if Christmas is REALLY about feasting, family, and imbibing, I’m thinking they’re in for that too.
So, where is the theft?
It certainly isn’t happening in our house. While that forlorn lawn ornament sat on our sidewalk, we finished decking our halls. We talked to both of our sons on the phone, and we discussed holiday gifts. We anticipate a repeat of previous years’ gluttony, and we hope there will be something under the tree to surprise and bring joy to those we love; and maybe for ourselves as well. None of that sounds like a robbery is about to take place.
We, like many Americans, will spend time with family and friends. We’ll eat too much and maybe consume more alcohol than we should. We’ll probably spend more on gifts than our budget allows as well. We won’t, however attempt to impose the secular manner in which we choose to celebrate the season on those who hold a more religious perspective.
And, we most certainly will not make false and unfounded accusations that someone is “stealing” Christmas. Because Christmas is about the same things people have been celebrating for thousands of years, sharing the love of family. And, nobody is stealing that.
So, when it’s finally the big day and everyone is gathered ’round, let’s open our hearts and our minds and enjoy our family and friends. Let’s eat, drink, and be merry. And let’s try to remember that…
The Grinch: It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags.
Narrator: The Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
The Grinch: Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas . . .
Narrator: He thought
The Grinch: …means a little bit more.
…And I’m just a mom who loves her son…