Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas...erm, Happy, Season's Greetings?

Since I'm get ready to leave town today and will likely will be out of touch for the next few days, I thought I'd take the chance now to wish my readers a merry Christmas. Unfortunately, this has become a rather delicate and potentially controversial thing to do.

On the one hand, not everyone who might read this blog celebrates Christmas--or if they do, they inspire the outrage of conservative Christians because there is no "Christ," let alone a mass, involved in their celebration.

On the other hand, a generic "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" will make me a potential target of Fox News pundits, who would see me--the author of a critical response to the New Atheists--as treasonously becoming part of the War on Christmas.

I could, of course, start listing individual holiday celebrations from different traditions in a long disjunctive greeting, inviting you to select the disjunct that applies to you. But some of the celebrations which I might mention are already past (calling attention to the fact that I was insufficiently sensitive to offer a timely holiday greeting), some are still some time away, and there is always the danger that I might leave someone out, inspiring their ire.

Furtunately, James McGrath has provided me with a working alternative. Armed with The Articles of Christmas, I can safely wish you an appropriately qualified merry Christmas. May your travels be safe, your celebrations joyful, your feasts filling, your reunions happy, and your worship inspiring--if any of these things apply to you, of course.


  1. Here in Norway we never had that problem, as Heathen and Christian alike have retained the olde norse jul (Yule) as the name for the midwinter celebration.

    God jul!
    Oh well, and a Merry Christmas too.

  2. Hi Oystein,

    No problem here either, although it is called Christmas (or, more frequently, Noël) and most, Christian or not, celebrate it in some way. And I suppose that, like us, you're lucky enough to enjoy the snow! God jul!