This means war

Last night, I had to make a run to the grocery store. On the way, I encountered traffic from the Festival of Lights, the annual Morris holiday parade. Then, in the grocery store, they were piping in Christmas carols already.

This is intolerable.

The 2016 War On Christmas begins today. Gird up your loins, atheists!

I have already made my assault plans, and am assembling my army. Next week, all three of my kids, and one daughter-in-law, are gathering at my house, and I’m going to propose an all-out attack to them. We’re going to travel north a few miles to the local tree farm to savagely cut down a pine tree, which we’ll erect in our house and festoon with fearsome glittering objects. We will drink hot apple cider. There will be reindeer-drawn wagon rides downtown the day after Thanksgiving — we will ride the hell out of them. We may even put up decorations in our windows, and I’m even tempted to get lawn ornaments, or maybe put up colorful lights around the door. We shall be blatant.

And when the believers feebly protest, But you’re atheists…, I shall tell them, “Yes, and this is my celebration of family and relaxation and a secular federal holiday, and it is a godless, humanist occasion. Why don’t you go mewl at ghosts in church, or more likely, trundle soullessly through a noisy shopping mall?” Because I’m taking over.


  1. HappyHead says

    Anne, you just need to come north and become a Canadian, we get Ritual Sacrifice with Pie day out of the way in October, so that we’re free to start up the War on Christmas as soon as November 1st.

  2. Ogvorbis: I have proven my humanity and can now comment! says

    I grew up in a UU family. We celebrated Christmas. When my kids were young, we had Christmas trees, we exchanged gifts, we decorated the house. We did a little bit last year because we were all home for Christmas day (which is very unusual).



    And the worst part is, I am attracted to the traditions of Christmas. And thoroughly repelled by those who extol, loudly and vehemently, that, if I do not celebrate that holiday for exactly the right reason and in exactly the right way, I am desecrating the most holy day of the year. So I give them the finger and spend time with family.

  3. jerthebarbarian says

    As far as I’m concerned, “Holiday Season” starts as soon as Halloween ends. I actually like that we go right into Christmas and if there weren’t objections from my spouse (who prefers her Christmas and Thanksgiving and New Years to be three distinct holidays rather than one two-month long holiday), I likely would have had the tree put up on November 1st (well really November 5th this year because the tree is more of a weekend thing).

  4. says

    “to the local tree farm to savagely cut down a pine tree”

    Oh! You arboricidal maniac!!
    We at PETFir and SAVE THE CONES FUND vehemently decry this wanton cruelty!!!!!

    Picture the scene. Row upon row of innocent young trees growing proud and strong on the hill’s side—perhaps standing in a quiet snowfall or listening to the song of the little birds—suddenly one day seems different from all the other days of their short lives. At first they feel curiosity, “What’s that buzzing sound? Those creaks? That sound of dragging off?” they ask.

    Then consternation, “Why does it seem to be coming nearer?”

    Then, like the girl who will insist on going about in her underwear in some really bad ‘chop-up-a-teenager’ movie, in a welter of sap and wood chips comes the horror, while rooted to the spot with fear, the poor helpless little Christmas trees meet Mr Chainsaw!

    Unable (as you, or I, or a turkey, or even an Easter egg could)—unable to hide, to run, to escape, to dial 911. What can the poor trembling trees do but await their fate?

  5. Nullifidian says

    Ritual Sacrifice With Pie Day, I’ve come to realize, celebrates the genocide & continuing economic subjugation of aboriginal peoples. I know that might not be the intention, but that’s due to a sort of cultural myopia.

    I’m not onboard with it any more.

  6. brett says

    And when the believers feebly protest, “But you’re atheists…”, I shall tell them, “Yes, and this is my celebration of family and relaxation and a secular federal holiday, and it is a godless, humanist occasion.

    Most excellent. You’re celebrating the fun, secular holiday with the trees, decorations, etc that everyone likes, and not the religious holiday that folks merely tolerate aside from the devout (although I’ll admit that singing “Angels We Have Heard on high” is always enjoyable).

    Getting a fresh tree is pretty great, too. We did that once with some cousins, getting a permit to cut down one pine tree in this particular area. That tree lasted forever in our living room – I swear it was still green and fresh after spending more than 5 weeks on a stand. We left it up longer than we usually do for that reason.

  7. says

    I was in LAX (gate 43!) last night and they already have a pagan tree up, and an irritating choo-choo train that runs around making noises. Because, apparently, airports are not full of enough extraneous noises.

    A couple years ago I started decorating my jeep, which was a nice greenish shade of rust.

    This year I’m going to make suet balls with nuts and stuff, and some salty fruit chews for the porcupines. The deer already ate my cilantro so they’re paid up in advance. There’s a nice pine tree nearish the house, I think I’ll just hang all the stuff from it.

  8. Becca Stareyes says

    I was planning on making my decorating plans this weekend so I’ll be ready to go two weeks from now. (Black Friday is the day I celebrate by staying home all day, usually grading papers, refusing to spend and putting up my holiday stuff.)

    I do like keeping some strings of lights up all year, but I try to swap them out seasonally. (Right now, my mantle has a garland of fake maple leaves and colored lights; in December, it will no double be replaced with fake evergreens.)

  9. says

    Except for the Big Box stores, we haven’t seen much Christmas hype as yet. Our service club will be putting up lighted snowflakes and candy canes on the town’s two major thoroughfares the Saturday following Thanksgiving, and the club’s “Christmas” party and white elephant gift exchange will be at our house again this year. Most don’t have the faintest idea that they are celebrating (so far as we are concerned) a totally secular event.

    Family celebrations start with the first gathering of the clan at my brother’s home for Turkey Day, and intensifies over several days that last week of December as the farther-flung members of the extended family drop in at our place for anywhere from a few hours to several days. It’s all about family. And Tradition.

    Happy Holidays (whichever ones you prefer).

  10. pipefighter says

    Pie day has always been a non issue here in canada. For our family, it used to be the start of december when we set everything up. Now we start after remembrance day. Anytime someone says christmas is a christian holiday I just point out that it is just an amalgamation of pagan holidays and the only people ever to ban it were other christians for those exact reasons.

  11. says

    Even in the “War against Chrismas” some things are – or at least should be – banned by the Geneva Convention. Lawn ornaments are at the top of the list.

  12. cartomancer says

    I’m beginning to see why Americans get so het up about Christmas. For us in the UK it starts in mid December at the earliest and is over in two weeks…

  13. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    I’ll mercilessly crush so many Christmas cookies! My hatred is so visceral, I won’t even use tools or my bare hands, I’ll destroy them with my gnashing teeth! Muhahaha!

  14. says

    #12: GIANT NODDING INFLATABLE SANTA CLAUS. Must Have. Just to spite the world.

    But then realism sets in — it would blow away in the first brisk storm here. There have been days I’ve had to chase trash cans down the street, and our Hillary sign blew away, too.

  15. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    That’s why always shout “Happy Solstice” while religious types celebrate the birth of the person that they will soon celebrate his murder/suicide/sacrifice/disappearance.
    They never question that little phrase in their songs that indicate mid winter was not possibly when he was born, if he actually was born and not just fabricated as a mythical figure.
    It is perfectly reasonable that there were strong resisters to Roman domination and that some storytellers eventually melded all the stories into a single personification. and…[stop ranting]
    returning to the OP. I too have been frequently seeing “memes” about this subject:
    after Halloween is THANKSGIVING, not Christmas, gimme a farkin break. My turn first THEN yours. wait for December you @!#$ (with Turkey shaking finger at Santa)
    *chuckle* *chuckle*

  16. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    when I was a kid (millenia ago) Christmas decorations (house lights etc) were forbidden until the day after Thanksgiving (before Black Friday was recognized). Also included a minor regulation requiring lights to come down Jan 2 approx. with grace period to Valentines Day.

  17. Silver Fox says

    There was a large hawk sitting in my backyard birdbath this morning. Squirrels were gamboling about, apparently unconcerned. Songbirds were hitting the feeder not thirty feet from the birdbath. This was surely a Sign from the Almighty. He’s none too happy about Xmas starting so early or, perhaps, it’s about Trump. Whatever the reason, I may not leave the house until the new year, assuming there will be one.

  18. chigau (ever-elliptical) says

    Have you considered a sound-system playing the same three Xmas Carols over and over and over and

  19. geral says

    If you can stand another Don the Con video, we’ll be saying Merry Christmas again. Believe him.

  20. says

    I love christmas. Now, the selling of christmasy sweets starts in September and to be honest, I’d eat Lebkuchen all year around, so I don’t mind. We started crafting some decoration last week and will continue next Monday. Week after that it’s the battle of cinnamon wafers and week after that it’s St. Nick’s day and I take the girls to see “A Christmas Carol”.

    Also, you can piss off some Christians here by putting up your stuff before Totensonntag.

  21. Ed Seedhouse says

    Since “holiday” is short for “holy day” shouldn’t we ungodly celebrate “unholidays”?
    Personally I’ve always thought we should give the winter solstice holiday season back to the pagans who invented it.

  22. johnhodges says

    Jeremiah 10:1-10
    Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: “Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, for the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move. Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.” …

  23. wzrd1 says

    I was going to wax admiringly about loading up on my preferred arms of ham, for the federal holiday meal and likely, before as well, as I’m out of ham bones for soup.

    Then, I read Anne’s comment at #1 and realized, “Crapmuffins! I forgot to get a couple of pie pumpkins!”, gonna have to hit the farmers market on payday. All of the stupidmarkets got those giant decorative, tasteless, thin sided pumpkins.

    I prepare my pumpkins by slicing them into six inch segments after cleaning the seeds and “strings” out, reserving the seeds for next year’s planting and perhaps, baking some for a snack, then 15 minutes in the pressure cooker and they’re ready to separate the edible portion from the skin.

    We’ll need those pies for Turkey Day. As we’re quite distant from our personal immediate family, we’ve adopted a local family, but anyone in the greater Shreveport area is welcome to drop by. Just bring a tidbit to add to the pile. :)
    And plates to borrow, we’re rather low on plates, due to being screwed during a company paid relocation that still hasn’t happened.

  24. mostlymarvelous says

    Ha! Being from South Australia, we always had the Xmas Pageant on the 2nd Saturday in November when I was a kid. It was run by a local department store and, of course, Father Xmas had to arrive with great ceremony and move, elves and all, into his Magic Cave in that store. That way, the store got most of Adelaide’s and SA’s children through their own doors during the following 7 weeks. Why? Because that was where the real Father Xmas lived. All those others in the other shops were “just” helpers.

    In our house, getting home after the pageant was time for Dad to clamber into the ceiling and bring out our artificial tree. Which was decorated within an inch of its non-existent life. The other reason was that we had quite a few relatives in the country who sent gifts quite early. So there was a steadily increasing accumulation of small parcels to sniff, rattle, poke and prod for weeks of never-ending fun.

    And I’m absolutely and forever addicted to Xmas decorations. I’ve got so many I got to the point of having to decide on themes for each Xmas as it came around. Music & instruments & choristers, puddings, nuts & cherries, cherubs & angels, baskets, bundles & “gifts”, toys, reindeer & snow thingummies. That way I’d either leave several boxes of gear in storage or decorate each room, hall, entrance at a time with a different emphasis.

    The concepts of restraint, elegance and simplicity have no place anywhere in my Xmas world – if I can still see a green spot on the tree that’s a sign I’ve been derelict in my extravagant, OTT, vulgar endeavours.

  25. Crimson Clupeidae says

    I have to admit, I loved this time of year a lot more when I lived in Germany (Hamburg). The food, the drink, the lights….did I mention all the drinks? :D

    They have a lovely drink of mulled wine that translates roughly to fire tongs bowl (I think, I’m not even going to try to get all the proper umlauts to spell it properly on my english keyboard!). It was positively delicious…especially around the 5th or 6th drink…. ;-)

  26. blf says

    Since “holiday” is short for “holy day” …

    I’d heard this before, but never really checked. I just did check — and it is essentially true — but noticed something relevant to the OP at the Online Etymology Dictionary:

    holiday (n.) […] Happy holidays is from mid-19c., in British English, with reference to summer vacation from school. As a Christmastime greeting, by 1937, American English, in Camel cigarette ads.

    It’s all Big Tobacco’s fault!

  27. blf says

    I’m not even going to try to get all the proper umlauts to spell it properly on my english keyboard!

    I’m currently using a French AZERTY keyboard configured as an (British) English QWERTY keyboard (them customized to, e.g., disable shift / caps lock). This can be quite confusing / amusing, especially when it comes to non-letters, as very few — not even digits (1, 2, …) — match the keytop labels. Fortunately, I’m a touch-typist, so as long as I can get the fingers on the home row keys correctly, it’s not too much of a problem. (What is a problem is I haven’t yet adjusted to the “feel” of the keyboard, so am making even more Typos offerings than usual at the moment.)