I was thinking yesterday about how hardly anybody said to me, "Merry Christmas." It was all "Happy Holidays." But let me ask you this — do you call your tree a "Holiday Tree"? It's Christmas people. If an atheist can celebrate Christmas, can't everybody else?
I don't see why Christmas, as Christmas, needs to be an uncomfortable time for people, but apparently it is.
I got a call from a dear friend yesterday. He's Catholic. His girlfriend is Jewish. They're staying at a relative's house who is Baptist. The Baptist family wanted everybody to attend the midnight Christmas service at their church. My friend was wondering how to handle it, and what to expect. Would they be proselytized? My advice: Go. Have a good time. Experience somebody else's traditions as a chance to explore and learn. I've been to Catholic and Jewish services before. It's an educational adventure. And if they preach at you, smile and say, "Thank you for your concern about me, and I'll certainly think about what you have to say, but right now, I think we should just enjoy Christmas together."
Of course, who am I to speak ... apparently, I'm in the doghouse with my family for not sending out Christmas cards. I never send out Christmas cards. Of course, this is the first year I'm not in San Diego at Christmas either.
This was the first Christmas Billie and I spent as just the two of us — no family, no friends, not even her sons. We had a nice dinner last night, and watched a movie. This morning, we slept in, watched some of one or two of the Christmas parades on the teevee, then opened our presents. In a bit, we'll go to "Elf" at the local cinema house. It's raining, and quiet and cozy.
Well, not too quiet. I'm listening to disc 2 of the Anthology of American Folk Music, edited by Harry Smith. A box set I've long desired. This is what my wife got me. She also gave me some clothing, and a box set of 70s punk rock — ah, the music of my youth.
For her, there was the "Seabiscuit Collection," by which I mean I got her the book, the movie and the PBS documentary. I also gave her a few other books, some perfume and a yoga set. All my shopping was accomplished online. No malls. I didn't even need to wrap anything!
So no terrorists-at-the-malls worries for me.
But I haven't worried about terrorists anyway. Orange alert be damned. Has it occurred to anyone that all of the chatter our intelligence workers pick up is, in itself, an act of terrorism. If people are terrorized, even if no bombs explode or noxious gasses fill the air, is a terrorist act? I really don't expect Al Queda to strike at such an obvious time as Christmas. That would be too easy, and less effective then striking when we least expect it, when we're looking the other way. In the meantime, AQ can use our paranoia against us, planting disinformation to increase our jitters and change our behavior.
That's not for me. I'm living my life just as if there were no AQ. And I'm also living it as if there were no P.C. So, I say to all, Merry Christmas!