This morning(Thurs. Dec 21st) there was a story on a local Ottawa Radio statiion about a Carleton University professor, John Hale, who for years has signed off the Christmas exam he set for his students with a Merry Christmas wish. This year he sent his exam to the departmental office for preliminary review and when the exam was returned to him the Merry Christmas wish had been eliminated--by the Departmental Chairman (the response by the University said the Chair-- another stupid politically-correct title since a chair is an inanimate object-- had expurgated the Merry Christmas wish contrary to university policy).
The professor got his revenge by e-mailing his Christmas wish directly to all of his students. Earlier this month an Ontario court judge ordered that a Christmas tree be removed from the lobby of her court to the back door. Fortunately that decision was reversed by the provincial Premier.
Last year both the City of Boston and our Canadian Governor-General's residence announced that henceforth the respective seasonal celebratory trees would be called Holiday trees. The tree at the G-G's residence is an annual addition to the official Residence site and the Boston tree(app 50-60 ft tall) has been cut and shipped by the people of Nova Scotia to the City of Boston every year since 1917 in appreciation of the assistance provided by Bostonians to the City of Halifax following the great Halifax Explosion where the ships IMO and the MONT BLANC collided in the Halifax harbour and leveled half the city.
These pronouncements created fairly strong backlashes and both the Mayor of Boston and our newly-minted G-G reacted very quickly to state unequivocally that there had been an error and that the trees would continue to be called Christmas Trees. I was heartened by the rapid response to reverse an obvious wrong and two days later I was heartened even more to read that our Canada Post would continue to carry nativity and other Christmas scenes on their stamps into the foreseeable future.
My greater concern however has been the gradual erosion of not only the term Merry Christmas but of the overall right of Christians to celebrate in their traditional way. In Professor Hale's words Christmas was fast becoming "THE HOLIDAY THAT DARES NOT USE IT'S NAME". There is, though ,finally, a common sense pushback beginning. A retail marketing analyst recently was quoted as saying that more stores this year are returning to the use of Merry Christmas after a decade of using the neutral and, in some peoples minds non-offensive Happy Holidays.
I have also seen letters to the editor in our local paper by Muslims and Jews that they see no offense whatsoever with the celebration of Christmas by Christians. I am certain that our fellow Canadians of both the other faiths would rise up in great dudgeon if they were asked to change the name of the Menorah to Holiday Candle or Ramadan to some other innocuous title. For a long time though we as Canadians have allowed the apostles of political -correctness from within our own ranks with their creed of inclusiveness and a mantra of not wanting to offend newcomers to this country, to advocate the tradeoff of our traditions in the name of being a welcome and open society.
I personally have had enough. To paraphrase Scrooge, these self-styled do-gooders should be boiled in their own Christmas pudding with a sprig of holly stuck up their nose. I do not wish anyone who does not accept the Ideals and traditions of Christmas to become proponents, however I do not want them telling me how I will observe the season and/or pressuring others to accept their misguided beliefs.
To paraphrase Scrooge once more "You celebrate Christmas in your way and leave me to celebrate in mine". This Christmas I have vowed to become more pro Christmas than ever before. I will be wishing anyone I meet to have a MERRY CHRISTMAS, The CHRISTMAS cards I sent out this year had a happy holidays inscription to which I added MERRY CHRISTMAS in my own large script.
If the above sounds like a rant from an angry old man I would beg to differ. Although I have reached the "cash for life stage" (age 65) 65 is now the new 50 and therefore I prefer to use the term mature rather than old. Further I am not angry but I am upset that anyone would want to take away from my grandchildren the dreams, the wishes and the wonders of the Christmas season that I enjoyed as a child. And so to one and all out there in Greenfield Park Land, MERRY CHRISTMAS, MERRY CHRISTMAS ,MERRY CHRISTMAS. JMcC
Thanks John McC.