I had a little firsthand taste of this yesterday. This very sweet, very daffy regular customer of the bookstore ordered a coffee from me, tipped me a dollar (quite rare for any of us to get a tip at all from the tightwads we have,) and wished me a ‘blessed Christmas’. Okay, but then she went on to add, “That’s not Happy Holidays. It’s Christmas.,” with a touch of fire in it. I actually like this customer, but this was over-the-top.
There were also a number of peole asking me for Christian books about Christmas. When i took them to the seasonal section, and they caught glimpses of Santa Claus, reindeer, and snowmen, they protested, no, no, that they want traditional Christmas books. I found it deeply ironic that the books that they wound up choosing were all relatively recent inventions, crap churned out by the Christian marketing juggernaut like those saccharine Veggie Tales and Max Lucado.
Although my family never made much of an emphasis of this Jesus character, we did have a nativity scene under our Christmas tree. Ever since 1977, Darth Vader has played an important role, along with whatever robots we have had handy. (R2-D2 fits well in a manger.) Lou set up a nativity scene for our tree. No Vader, although we do have a collection of four wise robots and some shepherd monsters than i picked up from the Dollar Store. The part of Jesus is played by a fingerpuppet Beaker of the Muppets. I don’t know Lou’s reasoning, but no one ever seemed to get what Jesus was talking about either, and he always seemed accident prone to me.
The part of Mary is played by a green bubble-blowing monkey. They want to invent traditions. We have ours…