Sunday, December 7, 2014

The holiday season is here

I love this time a year. I love the colors of the holiday decorations, all the lights, foods, goodies, presents, and a chance to pause and reflect on life, the universe, and everything. However, I think I liked it better back home than here in the USA.

Take this for what it is - I'm a foreigner and I see things from another point of view that might not always sit well with Americans. In this country everything is a religious battle.

I don't care who believes in what, who celebrates or doesn't celebrate, or how a person celebrates. Live and let live.

The American debate of what to call the holiday season drives me nuts. I don't understand how people can be offended by the phrases "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas" - how does it matter what greeting a person chooses? The important thing is that someone took the time to pause, see you, and wish you joy.

I often mention that Sweden is one of the most secular countries in the world. We say "God Jul" and we call the season "Juletid." This is clearly related to the ancient yuletide traditions, but it's still neutral enough for no one to be offended. It's what we call it, it's a name, and I don't think anyone gives it any more thought than you would be offended by the names of the week.

I also don't understand bumper stickers saying "Put Christ back in Christmas." The church decided to celebrate the birth of Christ at this time a year because people refused to let go of their old traditions. I sort of think the old traditions won, because they're still present in almost every home.

The Christmas tree comes from pagan origins, and the Mistletoe has origins in Norse mythology. Christmas presents come from pre-Christian Saturnalia. Santa Claus is believed to be a mix of a Turkish bishop who lived around the year 300 and norse god Oden.

Did you know that Christmas was banned by the Puritans and illegal in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681 because of the pagan origins?

What do you think? Does it matter what we call the season?

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