Sunday, December 16th, 2012
2 years, 1 month.
Yesterday Mommy and I took you to the Bass Pro Shop to get your picture made (for free!) with Santa. Despite our low expectations about how you would react, it went very well…
We were first in line, out of hundreds. More importantly, to my surprise, you didn’t cry.
Granted, I warned/prepared you all week:
“Jack, do you want to meet Santa on Saturday? Do you want Santa to hold you?”
Your response was always a grunted version of yes.
The more I thought about the concept all week, the more I realized how going to meet Santa Claus is sort of…peculiar.
There is no other situation where parents encourage their kids to sit on a stranger’s lap and get their picture taken.
At best, it compares a little bit to Halloween; how parents take their kids around the neighborhood peddling for candy. Under any other circumstances, that would never happen.
Still, I think going to visit Santa is a very cool and memorable thing.
Something that especially stood out to me when we met Santa at the Bass Pro Shop is that the last thing he said to you was “I love you.” And he said it like he meant it; like a grandfather would say it. He said it like he was waiting for a response.
I think about all the children who went after you in the Santa line. Not all of them hear “I love you” from a father figure as much as you do.
So here it is; this is the obligatory picture of you with Santa that I shared on Facebook. You may not remember it happening. Either way, I’m sure we’ll be back at Bass Pro Shops again for your Santa picture next year.
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Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
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:
A recent article in The Washington Examiner, based on the most recent Rasmussen Reports survey, announces that currently 68% of people polled prefer “Merry Christmas” over the 23% who prefer “Happy Holidays.”
So it should be no surprise that a 2012 poll by The Pew Forum On Religion & Public Life indicates that 73% of Americans identify with Christianity.
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.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
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