A sigh of collective relief and a "holidays" cheer as we learn that a report on the banning of Christmasy green and red from a Florida elementary school is apparently false. "There is not a ban on the colors red and green at Heathrow Elementary," a spokesperson for the Orlando-area school district declared. Too bad she didn’t renounce the story before the good folks at Fox and Friends got their hands on it. But as Stephen Colbert noted, "Who cares if the story is true? This is war!"
It’s war on Christmas season, and here’s one Jew that wants to be on the right side. I felt guilty when the choir and band at my son’s public school Holidays Concert sang an equal number of Chanukah and Christmas songs, despite the fact that Chanukah was already two weeks in the wind, and there probaby aren’t enough grade schoolers in the building for a future minyan (even an egalitarian one). One toddler wandered from the audience up to the display of blue-and-white (not banned) fake Chanukah presents and tried to help herself, only to have her mother say "That’s not for us." At the post office, I saw a mother put in the position of having to explain a dreidel to her daughter when she asked what kind of Christmas decoration it was. Everywhere you look there are menorahs alongside the trees and creche, and in the ultimate display of inverted proportion, the Chabad-built menorahs are much bigger than the Yuletide decor. No wonder so many passersby feel compelled to vandalize them.
And no wonder people are so antsy about it being called "The Holidays" instead of Christmas. The Wall Street Journal even used a sophistcated data search tool to see which phrase was more prevalent in literary culture, finding Merry Christmas was far more prevalent. That’s a change from last year when the paper declared that Christmas had lost the war.
I’ve done my part to reverse the trend. The five-foot long red and white wooden Merry Christmas sign I found in my basement from a previous owner now proudly adorns my grateful neighbor’s front yard. No ambiguous Seasons Greetings for him. Last week I wished everybody a Merry Christmas. The lady at the Korean gocery. The guy at Dell’s tech support with the Indian accent. I don’t know my paperboy’s religion, but I signed the tip card Merry Christmas anyway. Ditto with the mailman. In fact, I’ve been doling out Merry Christmases almost everywhere I go lately, even letting few slip in shul. Sorry, Rebbetzin.
Mel Gibson, Pat Buchanan and the folks at Fox are mad enough. Who needs the aggravation? Let’s throw in the towel in the war and Christmas, sit back and relax. Until the war on Easter begins.