Tell me something: Does anybody think Irving Berlin's estate needs another infusion? No, right? So why do the malls start piping in Berlin's hit White Christmas alongside all those other Christmas chestnuts starting as early as November? We get the same 17 songs for six weeks. Where's the creativity here?
Speaking of which - creativity I mean - what's going on in stationery stores this time of year? Just try getting a card that's not holiday-related. For that matter, just try to find a card that celebrates the season without all the father son holy ghost stuff. "Peace On Earth" would be just fine for me but I have to be all religious if I want to send anyone a holiday greeting.
Speaking of which - please greet me with the phrase, Happy holidays, not Merry Christmas. I don't celebrate Christmas and fully half of the people in Toronto, one of the most diverse cities in the world, don't. I take these days off because they're statutory holidays not because I believe in Jesus. I actually am a believer in Jesus the man, not Jesus the son of God but the radical thinker who believed in change and challenged the ascendency of greed in the halls of the temple.
Speaking of which - Jesus would be grossed out if he were to witness the present-day consumer binge that happens around this time of year. It makes those pagan Romans look positively progressive by comparison.
Speaking of which - all the best aspects of Christmas are based in pagan ritual. The tree, for example, is a symbol that pre-dates Jesus. The accent on light and candles is shared by other cultures. Both Dwali and Hanukkah, which my family celebrates, centre around the miracle of light. If those three kings did make that trip to Bethlehem, they did it during the winter solstice, a major pagan celebration that happens this time of year.
All of which is to say - we're all in holiday mode together.
So, be inclusive. Say Merry Christmas only to people you're absolutely sure celebrate that holiday. Play it safe with the rest of us.