The AFA's favorite argument for why stores must mention Christmas (and only Christmas) is because it is such a special and important holiday and way better than any other holiday ever. Saying "happy holidays" or - gasp - acknowledging Christmas alongside "lesser" holidays like Chanukah, Kwanza or Yule/Solstice is blasphemous because it doesn't pay recognition to Jesus. And what better way to honor our savior than by shopping? (But only in stores that decorate in red and green and use the "C" word!)
Since the AFA won't stand for anything at Christmas time that isn't CHRISTMAS (and gets especially pissy if you dare acknowledge anything pagan-based), we thought we'd would just remind everyone what their so-called "Christmas" is really about. They're right - it's about Jesus Christ. Only it's not. But yet it is.
I don't know if these geniuses over at the AFA think that Santa and the reindeer and evergreen trees covered in lights were actually in the Bible, but the truth is, Christmas as we know it today has very little to do with the birth of Christ. Much of it was "borrowed" from pagan celebrations and some of it is just commercialized made-up stuff. So what's the big deal if a retailer doesn't go Christmas-crazy?
So we thought we'd remind the AFA exactly what they're complaining about by listing some of the "Christmas traditions" that likely came from earlier pagan traditions.
- December 25
In the 4th century CE, in an attempt to convert the pagan masses to Christianity, Christian leaders adopted many of the traditions of Saturnalia for Christmas and named the last day as Jesus's birthday. Yule was a Germanic pagan winter festival that was also equated with Christmas once the Christian calendar was adopted. Various scholars have suggested that Jesus' actual birth date may have been closer to September or April, but no one knows for sure. One thing we can be sure of, is that it likely wasn't December 25th at all.
- Exchange of Gifts
- Candlelight Services
- The Evergreen Tree
- Mistletoe and Holly
- Yule Log
- Christmas Ham
- Caroling and Wassailing
The AFA really hate the abbreviation "X-mas" but it might actually be the only Christmas tradition that actually does have to do with Christ. Yep, that's right. All that "Keep the Christ in Christmas" complaining about X-mas is totally misguided.
It is a common misconception that "X-mas" is a modern attempt at taking away the religious aspect of Christmas, but the truth is that "X" stands for Christ. The Greek word for Christ is Χριστός (Xristos) meaning "savior". Legend has it that Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity because he had a vision of the Greek letters Chi (X) and Rho (P) intertwined - the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ - so the letters "XP" or just "X" was often used to stand in for "Christ". It became popular to use "X-mas" as shorthand back in the 16th century.
So there AFA! If you're going to tell other people how to celebrate Christmas, then maybe you should take a look at the way you celebrate first. Because you're basically celebrating a pagan holiday and pretending that it has anything to do with Jesus, even though it doesn't. (Note: We're not saying there's anything wrong with the way that people celebrate Christmas. Just that it's completely ridiculous for the AFA to boycott businesses for not acknowledging Christmas in the ways that they see fit without having any knowledge of where their holiday traditions actually came from.)