Who's in the Holiday Spirit? New Year and Boxing Day should be honored

I'm not a Christian. But I give to the poor at Christmas. And I say Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Have a Great Boxing Day!

I was again amazed this year at how many people whined about the whole "Put the Christ back in Christmas" thing. I mean, it's not like those six letters, c-h-r-i-s-t were being removed.

Okay, I guess some people take exception to the use of Xmas instead of Christmas. But that's just dumb since the choice of the letter X is not random. Clearly X = cross = Christ. It's just an abbreviation (think fish on the back of the car). If you can use a fish for Jesus, surely you can use Xmas for his birthday.

If folks feel our society has truly lost sight of the real meaning of the winter holidays, they should be chanting "Put the Christmas back in Winter Holidays." That's right, Winter HolidayS, plural. There is more than one.

Apart from Hanukkah. there's New Year's Day and Boxing Day and Hogmanay. There's a whole season of winter holidays, hence the term "Happy Holidays." Duh! That almost like shorthand for "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and have a good Boxing Day while you're at it."

Boxing Day is a formal holiday in England and several other countries (a coalition of those willing to relax on the day after Christmas and count their blessings instead of assault the mall in a quest of more).

New Year's Day and the day after that are formal holidays in Scotland (by formal I mean the banks are closed, etc.). I vote that America adopt all of these. And accept that there's not much Christ in them. If you have ever celebrated the New Year in Scotland you will know that it is NOT a religious holiday (and yes, I am aware of the etymology of 'holiday'). There is a definite and frankly undisguised pre-Christian, i.e. pagan, aspect to the celebration. An example? Check out the Biggar Bonfire, now on the web!

As for Boxing Day, my personal favorite, there is some Christ in it (it is also St. Stephen's Day and St. Stephen was the first Christian martyr). And a leading contender for the origin of the name of the holiday is the idea that people box up their leftovers and give them to the poor, which is a fine Christian notion. But Christians don't have a lock on charity. A lot of non-Christian belief systems compel people to give to the poor. Heck, if you had to sign a form saying you were Christian before you could donate to the thousands of causes that receive massive charitable donations at this time of year, I bet the numbers would drop dramatically.

I'm not a Christian. But I give to the poor at Christmas. And I say Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Have a Great Boxing Day!

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