From The Hedgehog Review
Minor Novels Argument-Starter

An Advent Gripe

Not about, but on the occasion of: the complaint I made last year about the thing called "Holiday":

The American Christmas has always, or at least since the middle of the last century or so, had its secularized aspect. That was fine: we were a predominantly Christian country, but plenty of people who did not celebrate the religious holiday as such found much to enjoy in the cultural paraphernalia. Irving Berlin gave us "White Christmas," which no decent person could dislike or resent, and he was Jewish. Notice, though, that he didn't shy away from using the word "Christmas." From an early age I had a sense that something was missing when the decorations and greetings and such of the season left out any mention whatsoever of Christmas itself. And at a not so early, but not very late, age it occurred to me that "the holiday season" would lose the essence of its charm if the religious core of it were removed.

Well, that has pretty much happened now as far as public speech is concerned.

"Middle of the last century"? I must have meant to say the 19th. It certainly predated the middle of the 20th. But anyway:

The good part of this is that as I lose interest in Holiday I take more notice of Advent.

Which I'm currently doing. 



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When I was young I always figured that "Happy Holidays" and "Seasons Greetings" were a way of combining good wishes for Christmas and New Years simultaneously and never thought much about it. In the ensuing years, however, they do seem to have acquired a somewhat less innocent connotation, alas.

I'm sure that's often been the case. I also speculated that those expressions were a solution for Jewish merchants and others who wanted to participate but had a problem with "Merry Christmas". That's all fine. It's not the INclusion of those, it's the EXclusion of Christmas itself. It's too complete and pervasive to be an accident.

Yep, I agree.

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