I think it is fair to say that I am not a huge fan of the cynical, commercialised monstrosity that Christmas has become. I'm certain that I am on solid ground when I question the motives of those behind the array of tawdry and generally useless items that appear in the shops with festive decoration and a somewhat inflated price tag.
However, even as an atheist, I understand that this is not what Christmas is truly about and I certainly respect those that wish to take time out at this time of the year to celebrate the birth of Christ. I don't have the faith and therefore need to construct a Christmas that has some meaning for me and avoids any major friction with those that worship in Church and those that worship on the High Street...
... So my Christmas has to be a time for relaxation in the comfort of my own home and spending some quality time with friends and loved ones. There are gifts. There is a tree. There are even carols but as I get older the childish avarice is long gone and I feel that "quality time with friends and loved ones" should not be restricted to the back end of the year and hence question the relevance of Christmas as it pertains to me.
Before I go any further I need to stress that I am not anti-Christmas, it just does not have a huge amount of relevance to me and I feel somewhat coerced to conform. I suppose it is a bit like the Office Party. It is a party and so you should be able to let your hair down and really enjoy yourself but you know that the Boss and colleagues are watching and there are rules that must be followed. Christmas is somewhat similar; it is a celebration but there are a set of unwritten rules that must be followed unquestioningly. Over the years I have reviewed and questioned many of these but breaking them seems virtually impossible in light of tradition.
Now where was I going with this ...
... Oh yes, this might seem a little "Bah Humbug" but at least I acknowledge the presence of Christmas and am happy* to take part in a "miming to the backing track" sort of way. However I am not so sure about the Senior Daemons at Dante's Nine Circles of Hell. This morning I received an e-card and so I clicked the link and watched. It was a 4 minute video in which 34 General Managers of the Organisation passed on a Seasonal Greeting. "Fair enough" you might think, but in those 34 Seasonal messages the word Christmas was only mentioned once. Yep ONCE. The actual script seemed to be a repetitive variation on the theme of "Happy Holidays" and "Have a Great New Year".
Now I am wondering whether this message was intentionally constructed in this way to avoid any offence to non-Christian colleagues because I can see no other reason why one of the two most important Christian celebrations got diluted down to "Have a Happy Holiday and a great 2012" by 33 out of 34 speakers .
I'm not a Christian but am quite annoyed by what appears to be a sanitisation of a religious message. Whether it be Diwali, Eid, Christmas or Hanukkah, their religious festivals should be acknowledged and celebrated not sanitised and euphemised.
---* "happy ish"