Santa Claus, friendly elves and pagan trees don’t make the holiday non-denominational.
Non-Christians who opt out of stockings and presents aren’t considered bad at religion; they’re considered bad at American-ness.
I’m saying it once again for the people in the back: disliking Christmas doesn’t mean I’m mean or a bad person. It means I’m not Christian and have no reason to celebrate a holiday that’s not significant to me.
For some reason, people think it’s fine to shove “holiday” products and parties at non-Christians as long as the infant Christ is technically removed from the story. I’ve been called a grinch for not wanting a Christmas tree at my home and not having a favorite Christmas song, though I understand why you’d want to be drunk all of Christmas day.
It seems so small, but it all adds up. Simple acts like going to the grocery store feel like a kick in the jaw when Christmas music blares in the aisles and my innocuous purchases come in a red-and-green “season’s greetings” bag. Each tinkly “It’s the Most Wonderful Tiiiiiime of the Yearrrrrr” is just one more tiny reminder that I’m not part of the majority: I’m an exception to the given social rule, and everyone else is off having a party without me simply because of my beliefs.
The thing is, multiple 30-foot Christmas trees in the lobby of an office building for six weeks are not in any way equal to genuine human kindness: It’s just a failed attempt to act like everyone gets a turn. To quote “Animal Farm,” some animals are more equal than others.
Jeremiah 10: 1-5
10 Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
2 Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
Meet Krampus, Saint Nick’s demonic sidekick
Evergreen branches were hung over doors and windows. It was thought their eternal life would scare away the spirits of the underworld and those under their dark influences.
Druids of the Celtic cultures also were often associated with sacred glades and magical trees. Their buildings reportedly often featured evergreen boughs as symbols of eternal life.
Further north, the frosty Vikings believed evergreen trees to be the personal property of their version of the Sun god — Baldr.
The Romans even adopted the idea, using evergreens to decorate temples during the festivals of Saturnalia and their Sun god, Sol Invictus.
As for the United States, the Christmas tree legend began little more than 160 years ago.
As recently as the 1840s, German settlers in New England were being openly decried by Puritans declaring such ‘heathen symbols’ demeaned the sacred holiday.
But, in 1846, everything changed.
The world was just as obsessed with every move Britain’s royalty made in the 19th century as they are in the 21st.
And in December 1846, the highly respected Illustrated London News published a sketch of Queen Victoria standing with Prince Albert and their children around a decorated Christmas tree. Prince Albert was German. He’d brought the long standing family tradition to Windsor Castle with him.
Fashion conscious society on both sides of the Atlantic immediately seized upon the idea.
The Christmas tree as we know it had arrived.