Thursday, December 23, 2010

"The Gretch Who Stole Christmas"

OK, I totally stole the title from The Daily Show, but it's just plain awesome.

What compelled me to write my previous post, was the kerfuffle that Faux News reporter Gretchen Carlson made about a parade in Tulsa, Oklahoma, my hometown. Basically, she had her panties in a wad because the annual holiday parade held there did not use the word "Christmas" in its title.

When the parade started years ago, it was called the P.S.O. Parade of Lights. It was sponsored by P.S.O., the electric company based in Tulsa. I'm not sure when it started, but it must have been after I moved away, because I don't remember ever going to it. My understanding that it was modeled after Disney's Electric Light Parade, or something like that. Anyway, after a few years, P.S.O. dropped its sponsorship, and it was taken over by my favorite Irish Pub,McNellie's. (sidebar - the sweet potato fries there are heaven on earth.) After they took over, the name was changed to Holiday Parade of Lights.

Not really earth shattering news. But for Gretchen Carlson, who was apparently having a slow news day, it was the end of the world as we know it. If you watch the video, my favorite part is the incredulous look on the guy's face as she's grilling him. And the video is just another reason I heart Jon Stewart and all the writers of The Daily Show, or as I call it, The News.

As an atheist, one would think that I'd be all for using the politically correct "Holiday" instead of "Christmas." The truth is, I don't really give a rat's ass.

I actually LOVE Christmas. I worked for about a decade as a visual merchandiser (basically a department store decorator) and we VMs spent about four months of the year planning, prepping, installing and removing Christmas decorations. As a result of my time doing that, I go pretty big on putting up the decorations at home. At one point, I had about 15 Rubbermaid totes filled with Christmas decorations. I have winnowed them down to about 9 now, but still love getting them out every year. Feels like seeing old friends when I drag them out. My mother is big on Hallmark ornaments, and thanks to her, we own about 150 of them. I used to put up at least three trees, but have downsized to the regular tree and the Barbie tree. Yep. We have a Barbie tree. This year, it is bright holographic pink tinsel, with lights, silver balls and bows. I think we're up to around forty Barbies on it.

I'm so anal retentive about how my Christmas trees are lit, that I spent the better part of three hours when we set the tree up a few weeks ago, removing a burned out strand of lights and replacing it. (another sidebar - this is a pre-lit tree, and when I finally got the strand off, found it was three strands of lights, joined at each end by male plugs. I don't think the Underwriter's Laboratory approved of this.)

I also love making out the list of presents I'm going to get for everyone, shopping for said presents, and my favorite thing, wrapping them.

So even though we celebrate Christmas at our house, it's a non-secular holiday, and we make it about spending time together and making traditions. We always do Christmas morning at our house, big dinner, a movie, then drive around and look at Christmas lights. It's not about a religious holiday, it's about a FEELING. FEELING grateful, happy and concerned for others.

So when people like Gretch make a big deal over what they feel is politically correct, here's what I'd like them to know:

Get a fucking life.

If anyone should feel that their rights are being violated by wishing someone "Merry Christmas," "Happy Holidays," "Happy Hanukkah," "Joyful Solstice," "Happy Kwanzaa," or "Happy Festivus," it should be the atheists. Maybe it's my Southern/Midwestern upbringing, but when someone wishes me a holiday greeting, I feel that they're just feeling happy, being friendly and using good manners. I have no problems saying it back either. Any friendly exchange amongst the human race is a good thing.

So, Gretchen Carlson, and the rest of you self-righteous so-called Christians, instead of worrying about what other people are saying, you should focus more on the message you are sending.

WWJD, indeed.

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