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My Part in the War on Christmas

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Posted 07-17-2013 at 05:47 PM by Jeff Westover

I had an experience in college that long ago tainted my belief in editors and journalism in general.

I was assigned to write a piece about a student rally being held on campus in opposition to Affirmative Action. (This was California in the early 1980s).

The assignment wasn't my cup of tea but it involved my grade so I did what I had to do, carefully following instructions that I was given.

To be honest, my heart wasn't in the article because I had no real interest in writing news. I wanted to do well in the class, yes. But I've always been more of a writer who composes from the gut -- I write from belief, conviction and emotion. That's just who I am.

I had another problem with the assignment: a horrible personal bias.

To make a long story short my acceptance into the California college system at the time was derailed after years of planning, positioning and saving through high school simply because I was a native Californian and I am white. In other words, Affirmative Action kept me out of the college of my choice and I really, really resented it.

But I wrote the piece, turned it in and forgot about it. Until I got a call from the editor, who ripped me for turning in a piece that was, as she called it, "without a soul". When I reminded her it was about who, what, when, and where I knew I blew my opportunity altogether. She gave the assignment to someone else and I had to find another way to fulfill the requirements of my journalism class.

But the experience taught me a valuable lesson about editors, publications and agendas.

As a publisher of sorts myself I should vehemently stand by my right to publish whatever I want. But in my old age and after 20 plus years of sharing Christmas online I've learned that a neutral position is not only possible but it is absolutely the best policy.

Christmas is unlike any other kind of hobby out there in that there is controversy written all over it. While on the front pages of the site we try to address controversies as deftly as we can we endure backlash from time to time on various topics when we brush up against peculiar sensitivities.

An example: last year there was a thing put out there about the Christmas tree tax supported by the Obama administration. We learned about it, investigated it, and then reported what was really going on. There was no "tax", it was a self-imposed fee lobbied for by the Christmas tree industry to help market their product, much like they do for beef or for milk. (Got Christmas trees?)

We just reported the facts, our little attempt to just tell the truth.

That resulted in a lot of email from those for and against the legislation who thought our coverage of the thing was "slanted".

Normally I pay attention to these things only long enough to check to see if we got it right. Our "customer" is the Christmas fan and that is where our agenda is, if we have to admit having one at all.

We get mail from time to time on various topics, as all publications do. But for the most part it is to ask a question, clear up confusion, or point us to new sources or information that would make our presentation better.

Today I received some mail that I thought was a result of our ongoing efforts at a sister site to this one, I had just today posted up more information about Sarah Palin's new Christmas book and what a bad idea I thought it was.

But as I read the email more closely what I found was an attack not geared towards that site but towards this one. He wrote:

"Your website is offensive to fair minded people everywhere. If Jesus was real he surely wasn't born in December and he really wasn't worthy of the day set aside for him. Your site promotes the belief that Jesus, Santa Claus and Christmas are all sacred but the truth is that they are all a myth."

Well, okay. That's your opinion and you're entitled to it. But then he got nasty.

"I will expose for the racist, bigoted and hateful tripe it is every chance I get. It is full of right-wing ideology that perpetuates the lies of white supremacy and capitalist thinking. It is wrong that crap like this is allowed to be published and I will fight to take you down."


I get that there are extremes everywhere. But for the life of me I cannot understand the motivation behind this kind of rant.

I won't defend myself or My Merry Christmas here because I don't need to.

You go ahead and believe whatever you want to believe. That has been our approach to the Christmas community and it will continue to be our approach to anyone that appreciates Christmas.

Don't appreciate Christmas?

Ok. Move along then. Live and let live. We're not anti-anyone.

Well, we ARE anti anyone who cares to silence us or take us offline.

I can recall being taken to task a few years ago when I said on a radio interview that I didn't believe there was a war on Christmas.

What I meant by that was that the evidence of Christmas flourishing is overwhelming. There might be those petty arguments spurred by media out there every holiday season that they call the war on Christmas. But at the end of the day it really isn't about Christmas.

It is about religion in public places. It is about control. It is about power in school systems and on courthouse lawns. Christmas is just their vehicle. It isn't about Christmas itself.

But maybe I'm starting to turn. When emails start to arrive where they call Christmas in and of itself evil I think I have to take a stand.

There is a scripture that comes to my mind, --

"...stand ye in holy places, and be not moved..."

Yes, that is how I am feeling about all this. We do not, as Christmas enthusiasts, need to be popular.

We do not need to be accepted.

We do not need media attention, converts, fame, glory, money or power.

We need to just be left alone.

As a believer in Christmas I espouse peace on earth. I will not defend Christmas by attacking those who attack us. But I will put on the armor necessary to allow me to stand in this holy place.

And I will defend it.
Total Comments 2


  1. Old Comment
    caninemomssister's Avatar
    Well said.
    Posted 07-27-2013 at 09:54 PM by caninemomssister caninemomssister is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Bradmac's Avatar
    I agree with you, Jeff. Some folks just have to be this way. Haters gonna hate.

    It's unlikely that arguing against them will change their minds, so ignoring them is usually the best course, assuming they will let it go.

    I'm sorry you have to deal with folks like that; people who claim that we are racist, bigoted and hateful, while spewing hatred with every breath. Your willingness to endure this kind of abuse for the sake of protecting this site does not go unnoticed.

    Kill 'em with kindness!
    Posted 08-08-2013 at 07:02 AM by Bradmac Bradmac is offline
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