Dear Conservatives: You do not own Christmas!

Sarah Palin just wrote a new book.  I kid you not. The topic of her latest crusade is Christmas. It appears she feels us liberals are engaged in an all-out war against Christmas. Let me assure you, however, that the majority of us liberals, regardless of our personal beliefs, are not in any way threatened by your holiday celebrations. 

Really, Sarah, lighten up. 

You see, what most conservatives still don’t seem to get is that we are all free to believe and practice any religion we choose, or none at all! Isn’t that an amazing thing! We can even change if we want. We can grow and learn and take on new beliefs and traditions. I, for one, think it’s a pretty awesome system. 

You don’t get to tell me what to believe, not when it comes to faith, not when it comes to my body, or my family, or my relationships, and NOT when it comes to my Christmas! 

Did you know this was not always the case? A brief look into the history of this great nation of ours would reveal that at one point Christians themselves banned Christmas, believing the holiday, associated with ancient Pagan rituals and involving such forbidden things as drinking and dancing, was an insult to God. Christmas was illegal in the City of Boston from 1659 to 1681. 

In 2013, we can celebrate the holidays of our choice, or none at all. AND we get to celebrate them in whatever way is enjoyable to our own families. Yes, parts of Christmas have a Christian tradition, and parts of it are Pagan. We can incorporate whatever parts of either we enjoy and want to celebrate. We can even, like the Costanza family’s Festivus celebration on Seinfeld, completely make up our own traditions. No one gets to tell us otherwise, or force their own belief system on us. The same goes for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, Chanukah, Kwanza, or any other holiday you can think of.  

Have we forgotten that part of the holiday involves lying to our children about a large man in a red suit who lives in a secluded village with a bunch of tiny men? We even allow him to sneak into our homes in the middle of the night? Maybe we should question that one a little more thoroughly! 

I’m also not a big fan of the holiday were we celebrate the one peaceful meal we had with Native Americans before we annihilated their people and tried to wipe out their culture. I much prefer to think of it as a time just to get together with family and be thankful for all we have. But hey, if you want to go with the Pilgrim decorations, who am I to tell YOU what to do! 

This is really the hang up I have with conservatives. Why, if I am willing to respect your belief system, can you just not leave the rest of us to ours? 

I mean, who cares what we call it, if we say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” Isn’t it really all the same season; the season of peace and joy? I celebrate Christmas because I was raised in a Catholic family, but my own beliefs have evolved well beyond the church of my youth. I also like the idea of celebrating the Winter Solstice as well; a time to celebrate the cold, dark days each getting a little longer on our way to spring and new life once again. Its connection to the ancient gods or goddesses should not be threatening in any way to the faith or traditions of others. In fact, I love learning about the faith and traditions of other families and have always encouraged my children to explore and learn in whatever way works for them! 

I would never, knowingly, insult or belittle your family’s beliefs. I ask only that you keep in mind that your beliefs may not be shared by everyone, and that is okay. Please try to respect them also. My wish for everyone is that they enjoy their holiday season, in whatever form it takes! If someone wishes you “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” just know that they are wishing you well, they are wishing you happiness. 

Maybe, just maybe, there could be one season where we forget the partisan politics, the battles over whose family values are the right family values, and the war on female bodies.  And please, oh please, can we stop talking about “Obamacare,” just for a few weeks anyway! Instead, we could focus on some of those things that seem to get lost in the politics of late; like peace, joy and maybe even goodwill towards others. That’s the holiday season I’d like to see. Oh, that and drinking and dancing! 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Mrs. Palin!



Karen Foley

About Karen Foley

Karen Foley, has successfully been writing her blog for the BDN since May 2011. By successful, she means a few people read it, and she has not been sued, stalked or fired since starting it.