we need (a little) christmas

 

I’ve come to the realization that the so-called war on Christmas is real. But contrary to what you may have heard on the right-wing radio stations or from the right-wing pulpit, this war is not being waged by atheists or ISIS or even the good people at Starbucks.

The war on Christmas has been bought and paid for by the haters. You know who I’m talking about, that loud minority of people who are offended by and hate everything that makes the rest of us happy.

You smile and say, “Happy holidays!” They grimace and declare, “It’s Christmas, you Jesus-hating asshole! Christmas. Not Kwanzaa or Chanukah or solstice, whatever the fuck that even is. It’s Christmas. Merry Christmas.”

You walk into Target shortly after Labor Day and your eyes light up when you spot the first signs of Christmas. No sooner do you bust out a few bars of Deck the Halls and they scream, “What the fuck?! It’s not even Halloween.”

At 12:01 a.m. on the first of November you curl up with a cup of hot cocoa and a Hallmark Christmas movie while Irving Berlin’s White Christmas plays softly in the background. Out of nowhere they appear, “What about Thanksgiving?! #thanksgivingmatters. Those pilgrims gave their lives so we could have Thanksgiving.[1]

And then there are those people who scream about the “commercialization of Christmas” and complain when the obviously anti-Christian town council decides to display a Christmas tree in lieu of a crèche. They rail about putting “the Christ back in Christmas”, never mind that they are often the least Christ-like people among us.

These haters hate tradition, old and new. The day after Thanksgiving they renounce Christmas cookies by announcing plans for a new diet. They declare children to be spoiled and admonish any parent who gives their child more than four gifts. They compose lengthy anti-Elf on the Shelf diatribes, mocking parents for posting photos on social media and claiming the elf is “a capillary form of power that normalizes the voluntary surrender of privacy, teaching young people to blindly accept panoptic surveillance and reify hegemonic power.”[2]

Huh.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t understand the hate. I don’t understand why people pretend to care because that’s all it is, pretend. Does it really matter what day your local lite FM station stops playing Maroon 5 on an endless loop and starts playing Johnny Mathis on an endless loop?  Does it affect your life if my kids get 437 Christmas presents? Are your sensibilities truly offended by the sight of a Christmas tree in October?

Oh please.

The truth is we need Christmas. We need Christmas because it makes us better people.

Christmas gives us hope. It offers us the promise of the person we could be rather than the person we are. Its one day in the whole of the calendar where we are good and kind and anything seems possible.

Is it any wonder then that we would try and stretch out that day (and feeling) for as long as we could?

So please, let us have our Christmas music in November and our holiday store displays in October and our predictable Hallmark movies all the season long. And let us flood social media with photos of that stupid elf and eat too many cookies and give way too many presents.

But most of all let us have whatever it is we choose to believe, whether it be the impossible story of a baby in a manger or a benevolent fat guy in a red suit. Don’t take it from us because we need it.

We need Christmas. It makes us better people.

___________________________________________

[1] This is not true.

[2] Technology Professor and part-time Grinch Laura Pinto, Washington Post (December 16, 2014)

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hazy shades of winter

The year I turned 40 Todd and I celebrated our eighteenth anniversary. We have two children, ages 5 and 9.  The year my parents turned 40 they celebrated their twentieth wedding anniversary.  They had three children, ages 18, 13, and 9.

On the surface it may seem like we shared a similar path, my parents and I. But I was 38 the year my then-7 year old son arrived and not-quite-40 the the day we met our 5 year old. Contrast that with my parents who welcomed their first child before they could legally drink. At an age when I was staying out at bars until 2 am, my Mom and Dad were raising a hormonal teenager, a defiant seven year old, and a free-spirited toddler.

I don’t know how they did it.

Growing up, we struggled.  With Reaganomics failing to trickle down and steel mills closing up all across the rust belt, my Dad was often out-of-work.  My Mom found full-time employment as a clerk at a local department store, a position she held for years even after my Dad had achieved long-term job security.  Throughout the years we lived in a series of rented homes.  We were frequent visitors at the food bank.  We bought groceries with food stamps. There was no extra spending money, no family vacations.  Even McDonald’s seemed a luxury.

Of course at the time we never knew this because at the time my parents made sure we always had the things we needed.  We may have bought our clothes from the sale rack at the discount store and eaten an unusual amount of Hamburger Helper, but for the most part it seemed we did not want for anything.  Looking back I don’t remember the struggles.  I remember the Christmas Santa Claus came to visit us at the farmhouse.  I remember the make-shift living room floor picnics at the house on Market Street.  I remember the elaborate birthday parties on Buffalo Street.  I remember the unconditional love.

I don’t know how they did it.

My parents at age 40 had a dramatically different life than I have at age 40.  I hold a mortgage with the promise of home ownership.  I take annual trips to Puerto Rico.  I buy clothes on sale out of choice, not necessity.  The struggles and sacrifices of my parents gave me this life; I would not have it otherwise.

So I hope my struggles and sacrifices, however trivial in comparison to those of my parents, serve as teaching moments and provide for Chris and Elijah the tools to achieve their dreams.  I want to create memorable birthdays and Christmases and living room picnics and offer to my sons the unconditional love my parents so freely gave to me.

A 40 like my 40, but better.

epiphany! the twelfth day of christmas

This Christmas we did not receive eight maids a-milking or seven swans a-swimming; there was not a single drummer or piper to provide musical inspiration for the absentee lords and ladies; and as for the rest of the birds, well sadly, they were a no-show too.  We did, however, receive an unusual gift: a very energetic almost-but-not-quite-five year old boy.  He arrived the day after Christmas.

So now I have two kids.  And I am exhausted.  I mean…I’m exhausted.  So exhausted I cannot can’t even be bothered with the superfluous “a” when a simple apostrophe will do.

And the reason I can’t be bothered with that superfluous “a” is because we did it all.  A second Christmas.  Multiple visits to the children’s museum.  Trips to McDonald’s and the movies.  Afternoons at Chuck E. Cheese.  New Year’s Eve at Noon followed by New Year’s Eve Night Out.  Pizza at the bouncy house.  We watched Frozen.  We listened to Frozen.  We watched Frozen.  We discovered an animated British TV show called Peppa Pig.  We ate cookies and made homemade ice cream.  Did I mention Frozen?  We played fire truck and train and a million games of hide-n-seek.  We even celebrated a first 5th birthday.

We became a family.

Yes, there were moments of doubt.  Is this going to work?  What if this doesn’t work?  Does he like us?  What if he doesn’t like us?  Can we do this a second time around?  No really, can we do this a second time around?   There were raised voices and tears and disagreements…over chairs.

It’s never easy, even when it is.

But then there was laughter.  And reluctant hugs turned willing.  Suddenly hands weren’t asked for, they were given.  I love you  was whispered like a secret gift.

And so it went, the twelve days of our Christmas.  I suppose it lacked the pageantry and price tag of the true Twelve Days of Christmas, but I wouldn’t change a minute of it.  Not one exhausting minute.  And that is the real epiphany.  For me, anyway.

the week that was 6

This week all roads continued to lead to Christmas. The closer we get to the arrival of Sinterklaas the more I eat sugar cookies and binge-watch holiday movies.  My ass is getting bigger by the minute.

Last night while working my way up a size in jeans, I indulged in my annual viewing of Scrooged. My favorite of all the Christmas Carol variations, everything about this movie is perfection: from Bill Murray’s cynical modern-day Scrooge to Carol Kane’s abusive Ghost of Christmas Present  to Alfre Woodard’s wig as a post-racial latter-day feminist Bob Cratchit.  It even has the Solid Gold Dancers as the Solid Gold Dancers and a gym-tastic Mary Lou Retton as Tiny Tim.

The Dickensian tale is moved from 19th century London and dropped into 20th century New York City with Murray playing the heartless president of a TV network.  He scares a mute child, threatens to staple reindeer antlers to a helpless mouse, and delights in the death of an old woman.  Of course by the movie’s end he sees the error of his ways and reunites with his true love, the delightful where-is-she-now Karen Allen.  When the cast gathers during the end credits to sing Put a Little Love in Your Heart, my heart grows three sizes.

Earlier in the week I scarfed down an appetizer of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  Is there anything better than the timeless chemistry of Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo?  Yes, a young Juliette Lewis, in arguably her best performance, as surly teen Audrey Griswold, and an even younger Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, in what is undoubtedly her best performance, as yuppie scum Margo. If Scrooged touches my heart, Christmas Vacation tickles my funny bone.  I used to watch it for Doris Robert’s wig, but over the years it has really grown on me.  And now, it just aint Christmas without the Griswolds.


Santa paid an early visit to Defoe Street when Chris received his yearly video message from my less-portly doppelganger (seriously, I need to lay off the cookies).  You can view the heartwarming video here (just ignore the disturbing baby-like elves who grunt and coo approval at their dark overlord Santa):

https://www.portablenorthpole.com/app/video/watch/547cacf7d45da-547cacf7d4682?utm_medium=vidch14001_conf&utm_campaign=oper&user_id=5262154&pixel_source=en_vidch14001_conf&utm_source=watch

Between these videos and that damn Elf on the Shelf I am tapped out creatively.  That elf has done it all — he ziplined into town shortly after Thanksgiving, was held hostage in a stand-off with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles late last week, and just this morning I found him under the mistletoe in a three-way with Ken and Barbie.  I should have such adventures.


Todd and I have been mostly child-free this week.  Chris is involved in no less than 847 activities: piano lessons, yoga, cooking class, choir, re-interpretive existential post-modern Afro-Hungarian line-dancing, macaroni macrame.  He’s very busy.

Parents who complain about how exhausting it is to drive their kid from activity to activity are liars.  Exhausting is having your kid at home every night and then being forced into the role of Julie the Cruise Director.  I don’t care how much an activity costs — it is worth every penny if it means I get to be visibly drunk.*

Tonight Chris is attending a Christmas party so Todd is taking me out on a date.  Of course I had to tell him that he was taking me out on a date, but still, if he’s willing to pretend that I actually listen when he talks, then I can pretend this date was his idea.


*I’m never visibly drunk.

the week that was 5

The big news this week was black.  As in, Friday. Millions of Americans abandoned their Thanksgiving turkeys mid-meal to crowd local malls in a bid to snatch up ten dollar panini presses and 99 cent poinsettias. Unlike the pro-abortion homosexual 9/11 American-hating terrorists at K-Mart who opened their doors on turkey day at 8 am, family-values store Walmart resisted the siren-call of consumerism…opening their doors at 6 pm.  I suppose this makes Walmart better than K-Mart because, really, if you haven’t finished your holiday meal and lapsed into a post-turkey coma by 6 o’clock on Thanksgiving then clearly you must be a pro-abortion homosexual 9/11 American-hating terrorist.

Despite our pro-choice homosexual leanings, my family displayed patriotic superiority waiting until 9 am on Friday to hit the malls.  And while we did miss out on buying a bunch of junk we didn’t need, we did score some great deals on a bunch of junk we really wanted.

After doing our part to keep the economy from teetering off yet another fiscal cliff, we made our annual pilgrimage an hour north of the city to a Christmas tree farm.  Todd and I have been cutting down our own trees for more than a decade now, introducing Chris to the tradition last year.  It’s a comfort to know that nothing changes and every year is the same: Five minutes after we arrive Chris will fall into an icy mud puddle then Todd and I will fight then someone will cry then someone else will storm off in tears and then just when we think it can’t get any worse someone will suggest the other two go “fuck off”.  (FYI: We’re working on curtailing Chris’s potty mouth.)

Of course none of that unpleasantness matters because at the end of the day we gather around our beautifully decorated tree in matching handmade sweaters, sipping homemade cocoa and eating artisan-crafted Christmas cookies.*


It was another week of celebrity retweets, unsourced reposts, and copy-and-paste Wikipedia MLK quotes on Facebook as New York upstaged Missouri. Considering the amount of hand wringing in my news feed, I was a bit surprised when a protest rally parading past my office in downtown Pittsburgh drew just literally tens of people.  Proving once again that while it’s easy to be socially active from the comfort of your smart phone, it’s quite another thing to actually be present in the real world.

From a stalking perspective I love Facebook, but beyond that I just don’t get this hashtag activism or these attempts at engaging others in intelligent discourse.  I mean, how much truth to power and honest change can you hope to affect in a virtual reality populated by anatomically-challenged, overweight 50 year-old men who routinely pass themselves off as well-hung, buff 22 year-old studs?

In the same way we now look back and ask, “Can you believe people used to sit around in wool suits and top coats and stupid hats and dump raw sewage in public streets and rivers and then wonder why it was they had such a low life expectancy?”  I believe our children’s children’s children will one day look back and ask, “Can you believe people used to sit around in skinny jeans and ironic T-shirts and stupid beards and dump raw sewage in public streets and rivers, I mean the internet, and then wonder why it was they couldn’t solve centuries of racial inequality in 160 characters or less?”


*That doesn’t happen.  We aren’t the fucking Waltons.

claus and effect

The day after Thanksgiving we took Chris to visit Santa.  Chris is eight years old — nine in February — so this very likely might have been our last Black Friday visit with jolly old Saint Nick.  Of course I hope not.  I hope he believes forever.

It’s selfish really, wanting my son to stay in this perpetual state of holly jolly arrested development.  But I miss believing in that magic.  I miss that blind faith, that anticipation, that innocence.  And so the reasoning goes if he still believes then I can believe too.

Because as long as Chris believes then maybe just possibly Santa Claus is real.  And if he is real then maybe he really does live in the North Pole with his grandmotherly wife and his army of Roloffs.  And if the wife and the little people are real so then it stands to reason are the flying reindeer.  And if he can make reindeer fly then circumnavigating the globe in one night is suddenly not so impossible.  And if it’s not impossible then it must be possible.  Santa Claus is real.

Which is all I  want. Because if Santa Claus is real then I’m eight years old again.  It’s Christmas Eve and I’m too excited to sleep.  Like every Christmas Eve since I was three,  I’ve been up all night waiting until that moment when I can rush down the stairs to see what Santa brought.  It’s the magic of Christmas and I haven’t lost it.  It’s still in me.

Except I’m not eight years old.  I’m an adult.  A cynical and jaded adult.

Like the man on the radio this morning as we drove Chris to his bus stop. The commercial voice announced, “The holidays are a stressful time.”  Chris interrupted, “Why are the holidays stressful?”  I started to list the reasons: money, family, low levels of serotonin that bring on S(easonal) A(ffective) D(isorder)…but then I realized that he was not asking a question, he was making a point:

There is no legitimate reason for this to be stressful.  It’s Christmas.  It’s magic.  It’s Santa Claus.  Stop making this complicated.  Just believe.

If only.  Because as we get older — no matter how hard we might try — we can never truly recapture the innocence and magic of our Santa years.  It always eludes us.  Just.

My wish for Chris is that he never outgrow his Santa years; that he keeps the innocence and the magic of Christmas with him always.  How different the world would be if we could all do just that very thing.

the week that was 4

The big news this week was Thanksgiving. I love holidays for many reasons — food, presents, more food — but mostly I love holidays because they give me a legitimate excuse to drink before 9 am, an opportunity I seized yesterday with both hands…firmly on a bottle of champagne as I indulged in a round of early morning mimosas. In our house if you do the cooking, you do the drinking.

So cook I do. Or did, rather. A twenty-five pound turkey, homemade stuffing, homemade mac-n-cheese, fresh cranberries, broccoli, a pumpkin pie and apple-cranberry cobbler.  And yes, Todd cooked too: homemade mashed potatoes and a to-die-for carrot soufflé.

Despite the mountain of food that we prepared (and for three people, no less), I’ve still never understood the fuss around cooking Thanksgiving dinner. It really is the easiest meal to prepare; mostly idiot proof, provided you can follow directions. Essentially you turn on the oven and then pop the turkey in for 3-5 hours depending on how big a bird you bought. If you have any self-respect you baste it every 30 minutes. (Note: Those of you lacking dignity may skip that step and jump to the part where you serve your guests a dry turkey carcass.)

As for the sides…seriously, how hard is it to prepare a few vegetables?  Wash, peel, cut, cook.  Voila.  I suspect the idea of Thanksgiving dinner being this laborious, back-breaking task was a myth created by our grandmothers and then perfected by our mothers; a scheme designed to allow them a few peaceful hours — free from husband and children — to sit in the kitchen getting hammered and melancholy on cheap wine and regret.

Well I’ve been making Thanksgiving dinners for nearly two decades now and the jig is up. You ain’t fooling anyone, Nana.


This week, like a dead fish left to bake out in the hot Florida sun, you could smell the stink steaming off Facebook.  People took to their iPhones and laptops to “express themselves” with a wailing and a gnashing of teeth I haven’t seen since, well, three months ago when everyone was wailing and gnashing their teeth over dead celebrities and mental illness.

Suddenly everyone was my eight-year-old son, tears streaming down his face after losing a round of Clue, screaming, “I have feelings.”

Full disclosure: I wrote a lot of other stuff here but Todd said it was too angry. And no matter how strongly I may feel — not about the events in Missouri, but the reaction of the public to those events —  I don’t want to offend good people, who I otherwise respect, simply because I disagree with their opinions.

So I’ll just say this:  if you have an overwhelming need to be a part of something, keep it simple and be a part of your life. By which I mean, clean your own house. Because all this noise disguised as discourse is just you distracting yourself from the business of living your life. It changes nothing.

This instafacegram tweeting cyberbullshit — this isn’t real. Your life is real.


And speaking of real, it’s time for me to unplug. I’m off to cut down a Christmas tree with my husband and son. It may not be some grand act of passive protest, but it is living.

the week that was 3

The big news this week was that the radio (finally) started playing Christmas music.  With the exception of the much-hated Christmas Shoes song, Kenny Rogers’ Mary Did You Know and the possibly-rapey Baby It’s Cold Outside, I love Christmas music.  It sets my feet a-tapping and my heart a-singing.  Quite simply, it is Christmas. When Josh Groban sings O Holy Night, I weep. When Gayla Peevey announces I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, I’m a six year-old girl with pigtails (again).  And when Michael Buble sings anything, I change the station.

More than frosted sugar cookies. More than a perfectly decorated tree. More than presents.  It is the music. Christmas music is a universal language we all speak.  It says, Now is the time of year when we will be good people.


This week I discovered that several people I am currently friends with (or have been friends with in the past) have multiple Facebook pages. Apparently it’s not enough to be dull in one profile, now you have to be boring in parallel timelines.

John Smith 5:57 pm I just made the best dinner! dinner1
John A. Smith 6:27 pm I just ate the best dinner! emptydinner

John Smith 7:12 pm I just had my last cigarette. Ever. #smokefree
John A. Smith 7:14 pm Buying cigarettes — at Tobacco Outlet

John Smith 8:34 pm is in a relationship.
John A. Smith 8:38 pm is single.

I will never understand some people.

Also of note this week on the ‘book was the news that Charles Manson had applied for and been granted a marriage license. This was a rally call to single people across the land to elicit sympathy from their coupled friends by posting desperate Facebook statuses that declared, “Even Charles Manson can get a date!  What’s wrong with me?” Umm, well you post Facebook statuses like that for starters.  My favorites though were from allies of the LGBTQ(XYZ) community who said they didn’t want to live in a country where that awful killer Charles Manson could get married and not their gay friends, who some people noted were neither awful nor killers.  But the best comment came from a young woman who stated that she would not get married until every gay person in the world was given marriage equality. It’s a nice sentiment but, oh honey, after visiting your Facebook page it’s very clear that if anyone were to put a ring on it you would be at the courthouse faster than I could arrange an interracial three-way (very fast).


This week also saw the Great Homework Showdown of 2014 with reigning champion Chris going up against challengers Team Dad. Chris was at his little bitch best but ultimately proved no match for Team Dad, specifically co-captain Todd who — after extra innings, overtime and an extended penalty phase — brought home a win for the visiting team.

I’m not going to lie, I need to be half in the bag before I can even consider helping Chris with his homework. It was sometime during Act II of Chris’s five act opera (titled, You’re the Worst Parents in the World Stop Being Mean to Me) that I retreated to my bedroom with the cat and promptly locked the door, cracked open a beer and turned on my Christmas music.  As Todd battled one of the less-cooperative of Chris’s many personalities, I was being carried away to a winter wonderland populated by talking snowmen, flying red-nosed reindeer and my good friend Perry Como.

how to survive the holidays

For many Americans, myself included, the last two months of the year are a happy time of reckless drinking and excessive binge-eating.  It all begins like clockwork at approximately exactly 9:37 p.m. on October 31st when, shortly after putting your kid to bed, you begin to steal his Halloween candy.  At first you show admirable restraint taking only the loose Tootsie Rolls at the bottom of the pail, but by the end of the first week you’ve moved on to a breakfast of snack-sized Kit Kats and mini-Twizzlers. A midnight raid early in week two takes out the last of the king-sized Milky Way bars and you know you’ve hit rock bottom when your son asks what happened to the jumbo Reese’s Cups and you suggest the dog ate them.

No sooner are you beginning to show signs of early onset diabetes when you abandon the candy and move on to a gluttonous carb-filled Thanksgiving feast where you consume enough food to feed all the starving children in China dating back to the 1950’s when parents still said things like, “You eat that meatloaf.  There are starving children in China.”  Your reward for all your hard-eating is a 72-hour turkey coma…followed by four weeks of Christmas cookies for dinner.  Your shame spiral then comes full circle when, moments after receiving your yearly visit from the ghost of Dick Clark, you wake up hugging the toilet, your face plastered with bits of pork gravy and sick.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.  So complain all you want about holiday store displays in October and Christmas music in November.  Not me.  Those eight weeks are magical.  Give me Perry Como and The Carpenters.  Give me Bill Murray in Scrooged and the whole of Britain in Love Actually.  Give me all the Christmas crap the Hallmark Channel can make.   Kit Kats, Reese’s Cups, Todd’s carrot souffle, row after row of brightly decorated Christmas cookies — I surrender.  I’ll buy new pants.  I’ll run tomorrow.  I’ll join a gym in January.

But for now I’m going to be a kid.  I’m going to remember when the day after Halloween meant Christmas; when Santa Claus seemed possible.  I’m going to take my kid to the Christmas tree farm, cut down the biggest tree we can find and then make Todd drag it back to the car.

How to survive the holidays?  Give in.

the war on christmas (shoes)

If you have ever had the misfortune of finding your radio dial stuck on some conservative talk show or, worse, your TV inexplicably tuned to Fox News, then you have probably heard some blowhard babbling on about The War on Christmas.  Now I’m not sure about the specifics of this particular war as it doesn’t involve 9/11 American-hating terrorists or red-and-green plaid awareness ribbons, but from what I can gather based upon the two-and-a-half minutes of research I did on Wikipedia, it has something to do with putting the Christ back in Christmas.

These fringe lunatics like to speechify about how wishing you Seasons Greetings is an unconstitutional affront to your God-given American-right to be wished Merry Christmas.  They argue that the tree on display at the public courthouse where the manger used to be is a big old anti-American (possibly homosexual) kick in your Christian groin.  But that, friends, is a lie.  Oh, I’m not saying The War on Christmas isn’t real.  It is real.  As real as Kim Kardashian’s humanity.  But this war has nothing to do with Christ or Kardashian.  This war is about one thing and one thing only: The Christmas Shoes.

For those of you not in the know, The Christmas Shoes is a “song” about a little boy who wants to buy his soon-to-be dead mother a new pair of shoes so that she can avoid embarrassment when she meets Jesus later that night.  The details are sketchy, but the implication is that Jesus either has a footwear fetish or he’s just been named Joan Rivers’ replacement on Fashion Police.  (It’s also possible that the line when mama meets Jesus tonight hints at a clandestine Jesus-Mother rendezvous, but I rather doubt that.)

Anyway I’m never quite sure why the boy doesn’t just go to the Salvation Army and buy her a used pair of Doc Martens or at least try Famous Footwear for a pair of knock-off Christian Louboutins, I mean, do you even need shoes in heaven?  Whatever the case may be, it’s up to an educated wealthy white guy to save the day.  It’s basically the plot of The Blind Side, except the black kid is a white boy and Sandra Bullock is Rob Lowe (or at least was in the Lifetime movie version of the song).

The “song” is written and performed by some “singing group” called New Song.  Now I don’t know who these New Song people are — although a quick Google image search suggests that New Song might actually be Christian music-speak for closeted homosexual —  but let me just say this: New Song is dangerous and they must be stopped.

They and their saccharine-sweet lyrics and their nonsensical narratives and their bland optimisms and their lazy rhyming (time/line, out/about if you’re Canadian).  Understand that New Song, and New Song alone, is the real enemy to Christmas.  Not the clerk at Rite-Aid who had the politically-correct audacity to wish you A Happy Holidays even though she knows you to be a Merry Christmas-loving Christian and not some Hanukkah-celebrating Jew or, worse, a 9/11 American-hating terrorist.

New Song should offend us.  When they sing, I knew I’d caught a glimpse of heaven’s love as he thanked me and ran out/I knew that God had sent me that little boy to remind me what Christmas is all about, we should all stab out our eyes in collective protest.  I don’t care how not cynical you are, I don’t believe for one minute anyone truly buys into this pre-fab feelgoodery.

The War on Christmas?  Oh, it’s on.