I don't need another reason to be pissed off at the religious right, but I have one: they have freakin' ruined Christmas for me. They have taken a season that used to be fun, and is supposed to be about peace on earth, brotherhood of man and all that jazz, and turned it into yet another orgy of xenophobia and intolerance. Well done.
I am of course referring to the fact that I can no longer innocently wish someone "Happy Holidays" without fearing that I will raise the ire of some wack-job fundie who thinks I hate the Baby Jesus. Last year I wished a guy "Happy Holidays" and after he stared at me for a few seconds he literally snarled back the words "Merry Christmas!" Lighten up already pal! And please stop listening to Bill O'Reilly. The people behind the "Merry Christmas NOT Happy Holidays" campaign are the same twisted hatemongers who would run screaming to the FBI if some dark-skinned person wished them a "Joyous Eid al-Fitr," but think nothing of literally demanding that a Jew, Muslim or Hindu have a "Merry Christmas."
I have some very specific reasons for wishing folks "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas": (1) Most obviously, I don't always know the religious background of the person I am speaking to, so telling them to have a "Merry Christmas" is at best stupid and at worst insulting. Call this political correctness run amok if you must, but where I come from it's just called being considerate. (2) Christmas falls only on December 25th, and on every other day between Thanksgiving and New Years "Happy Holidays" is simply a more appropriate salutation. (I tend to wish my family "Merry Christmas" on the 25th, but other than that "Happy Holidays" makes more sense.) (3) The whole holiday season is linked more to seasonal cycles and ancient pagan rituals than it is to any religious event (and for what it's worth most scholars do not place Jesus' birth in the month of December anyway). So just be thankful I don't wish you a "Scintillating Solstice" and get over this whole "War On Christmas" nonsense.
With that joyous sentiment, I want announce that after Thanksgiving, I will be posting some Flowering Toilet Yuletide favorites. Some of it will be secular, some of it will be sacred, and a lot of it will be profane. By the time I'm done you should have enough holiday music to make a mix CD guaranteed to annoy any sanctimonious relatives. Then on January 1st 2007 it all disappears into the aether.