Here in this quick snapshot, you sit proudly next to our humble $20 Christmas tree from Kroger…or should I say, our “family tree?”
It’s apparently politically incorrect to say “Merry Christmas” as opposed to “Happy Holidays.” However, that doesn’t mean it necessarily is the smarter thing to do, as explained in this article from Forbes contributor Paul Jankowski:
“Several retail giants learned this the hard way when they began taking the word Christmas out of their November and December advertising campaigns in an attempt to be politically correct. Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sears, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and GAP have all felt the wrath of believers when they abandoned Christmas for more generic well wishes like ‘happy holidays’ and Lowe’s infamous ‘family tree.’ The result: a slew of negative media coverage and consumer push-back.”
“Merry Christmas” not only is the smarter choice for retailers, but it is also the choice phrase of the majority:
Bottom line: The majority supports Christmas. So why is this an issue?
Let’s find out by hearing from the minority…
I was referred to a well-written article by Sam Killerman of the blog It’s Pronounced Metrosexual. His article “30+ Examples Of Christian Privilege” helped me understand the “Happy Holidays” crowd a bit better.
This particular example of Christian privilege opened my eyes: ” [As a Christian] you aren’t pressured to celebrate holidays from another faith that may conflict with your religious values.”
As much as I personally support the separation of church and state, I can’t deny the fact that Christmas is a Federal holiday.
Of course, there’s really no way around this. If 73% of the work force requested to be off the same day in every office and plant, it would be an issue every year.
So the most practical thing to do is make the explicitly Christian holiday an official paid holiday.
But going back to the minority who prefer “Happy Holidays,” it seems something they all have in common with each other is they feel marginalized and/or intimidated by the majority.
Likewise, it seems that the “Merry Christmas” folks also feel marginalized and/or intimidated by the minority.
By the time you are old enough to read this letter, I don’t know that this will be that big of a deal anymore.
My hope is that the American population will be less polarized- that the Republicans and the Democrats won’t brand each other as completely irrational and/or evil and actually learn to compromise instead of zealously endorsing their own political party.
I can’t change how everyone else views each other, but I can influence how you see everyone else. As your parent, I will be deliberately teaching you that no group is completely irrational and/or evil, whether they’re for or against gay marriage, abortion, legalizing marijuana, nationalized health care, or using the term “Merry Christmas.”
We can’t worry about what they think, anyway. We’ve got each other, kid. That’s all I care about.
A few weeks ago I invited all my readers to send me their family’s holiday cards, so I can display them on my refrigerator. I explained that the cards would not only serve as a cool decoration and a way for me to meet Dadabase fans, but also as entries for upcoming giveaways.
So now it’s time to check it out in action.
Today, Zazzle is giving one lucky Dadabase reader a free personalized ornament through their website. It’s really cool because you can put a picture of your kid on the ornament. We got one for Jack and it should be arriving in a few days.
Now, as for the winner, we’re letting Jack decide. I’ve put all the holiday cards in a hat and now Jack will draw a winner…
See? That was fun. So if you haven’t already mailed me your family’s holiday card, take a minute to do that right now and join the cool club. You will become eligible for the next prize giveaway. Here’s the address again:
With good reason, I’ve never been able to legitimately process the double standard of leading a child to believe in Santa Claus while at the same time teaching them not to lie.
It’s interesting how far we have had to stretch the lies, just like with any outrageous falsehood, in order to keep kids believing.
“How does Santa fit down the chimney? How does he fit all the toys in his sleigh? How does he travel the whole world overnight?”
(Insert ridiculous answers here.)
Yes, the legend of Santa Claus was born of Christian folklore, so as a predominately Christian nation, we can rest assured knowing that jolly ole St. Nick has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. He has been confirmed, baptized, and even has a tattoo of John 3:16 on his arm.
Yet we can’t deny that in the way John Lennon once infamously claimed that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, the fame of Santa arguably is greater than the actual reason Christmas came to be celebrated in the first place: the birth of Jesus as the prophesied Messiah of the Old Testament.
But can we really get caught up in this particular double standard? Aren’t there other white lies we tell our kids to either A) comfort them or B) entertain them? Yup.
A very traditional white lie I’ve heard parents tell their kids is that when a loved one dies, in particular a grandparent, that person becomes an angel who watches over them in Heaven.
Sorry, the Bible doesn’t say that. I don’t know of any popular religion that actually does.
Besides, what does that even mean? How does Grandpa Murphy “watch over” your kid? Does he part the clouds, look down and see little Jaxon about to run over a stick while riding his bike, so Grandpa sends a few of his buddy angels to kick the stick out of the way just in time, saving Jaxon from crashing his bike?
Sure, the Bible says that there are guardian angels, but we don’t actually become them ourselves after entering Heaven. So it’s a white lie.
It’s a similar thing when a beloved pet dies. Yeah, all dogs go to Heaven, just like that movie that came out when I was in 2nd grade. Cats? Yeah, them too. The goldfish? That’s debatable. Now, let’s stop asking so many questions and finish eating this delicious Hamburger Helper dinner.
Don’t worry, we “helped” that cow go to Heaven quicker and meet all his cow family that were part of those burgers we grilled out last weekend.
Want to read more on the subject? Today I am giving away a copy of the new book, Christmas is Not Your Birthday, to one lucky and curious reader. The book’s author, Mike Slaughter, is the lead pastor of Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Tipp City, Ohio.
Through his church’s annual Christmas Miracle Offering, over $5 million has been raised for humanitarian relief in Darfur. If you ask me, this guy sounds like a real life Santa Claus. Not one that gives toys to kids, but instead someone who helps keep them from dying.
Just be the first person to A) leave a comment on this post saying you want it and B) send me an email including your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s get something straight: Right now I want you put me on your list of people who you will be mailing your family’s holiday cards to. Bonus points if you’re all wearing sweaters in the picture!
It can be for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa; even just a basic “Happy Holidays” card. If it’s got a picture of your family on it, wishing me happiness this holiday season, I want it.
Fine, I’ll even accept a family snapshot you printed off from your computer on a piece of regular printer paper. Emailed cards won’t work for this, though; it has to already be printed out when I receive it.
You see, it’s not fair; this whole Dadabase thing. You are able to see pictures of my family everyday and read our stories, yet I never see you. That sort of makes you a stalker.
I don’t want this to be a one way street. I want to meet you, readers.
So I’m going to make this thing interesting. As your family holiday cards start rolling in, I will be sticking them on my fridge and regularly taking pictures of the growing collection.
That’s right; you’ll see your own family here on The Dadabase. (As you can see, currently there are zero cards on my fridge- just some of Jack’s artwork.)
Plus, by mailing your card to me, you will be entering yourself for my upcoming book giveaways. I usually give the featured book to the first commenter. Well, that’s not how it will work for the next little while.
Each time there’s a post where I am giving a way a new book (or prize of any kind) I will toss all the card entries into a hat. Then, Jack will draw a winner. If he picks your family’s holiday card, I’ll look to see your address from the card and have the prize sent to you.
Sound like fun? That’s because it is. So right now add me to your list of people who will receive your family’s holiday card. Here’s the address, which is not where I actually live:
Nick Shell c/o The Dadabase
300 Seaboard Lane #5
Franklin, TN 37067
Seriously, stop stalking me and make this a mutual thing. I already know enough creepy people in my life.
During my first summer teaching English in Thailand, I took a week-long vacation to the magical island of Koh Samui, as referenced in the movie Meet the Parents (“Jack speak-a Thai?”). While there, I went to a highly promoted (via hand-painted street banners) Muay Thai boxing tournament. Inside the dimly lit warehouse-style building on the outskirts of legitimate commerce, I felt like I was part of the movie Bloodsport staring Jean Claude Van Damme. Afterwards, as a souvenir, I cut down one of the street banners advertising the event and hung it up in my college dorm at Liberty University the next Fall. Everyone who saw it laughed at the poor English translation: “Super and Real Fight”. I mean, it was a real fight, and I would say it was super as well, but for the fight to be super and real in the same adjective phrase just sounds funny. And that is why I couldn’t title this entry as “Jack’s First and White Christmas”.
In preparing our move from Nashville, TN to Fort Payne, AL (which is located between Birmingham, Chattanooga, and Atlanta), my wife (who is from Sacramento, CA) had asked me if it ever snowed in Alabama. Though the words “snow” and “Alabama” seem like they don’t go together at all, though do. Just like a lot of people don’t realize that Alabama actually borders the Gulf of Mexico and has several beaches, like Gulf Shores. I told my wife to expect it to snow a few inches, up to three times a year. And sure enough, as we woke up around 6 AM Christmas morning to feed and change Jack, we looked out the window to see large snowflakes falling steadily.
A couple of hours later, we drove 0.7 miles to my parents’ house to spend the day with them and my sister and her husband. Turns out, the snow didn’t stop falling and the temperature remained low. So the seven of us ending up staying the weekend together, being that the roads were iced over. One of the gifts my parents bought for Jack was a really cool wagon; ideally for when he gets older. However, when we started getting ready for bed on Christmas night and we were deciding where Jack should sleep, since we hadn’t packed his travel crib, I said, “Well, what about his wagon?” Not many people can say that their first Christmas was a white Christmas and that on top of that, that they slept in a wagon. But I guess it’s not all that strange, being that we were celebrating a holiday where a baby boy slept in a manger. We didn’t have a manger for Jack, but we did have a wagon.
Jack is swinging Christmas morning before we left for my parents' house.
We got snowed in.
Jack's presents from his parents.
Jack's presents from the family.
The Four Generations of Shells: Baby Jack is the only Shell boy to carry on the family name.