I have often complained that Christmas starts too early – the proof of which is clearly found in stores and shops where retailers have been decorated for the so-called “holidays” since before Halloween. I knew something was wrong when I walked into a store on October 30th this year and heard “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” when I should have been hearing “Monster Mash.”
To add to the insanity of the early Christmas rush, Starbucks has started using its signature red holiday cups already. Only last week my wife came home with a red cup and I commented, “Wow, they’re using the red cups already?” Let me make it clear that I am not annoyed about what appears on the cups but rather that “Christmas” anything is being churned out in early November.
When I saw the cup I had no idea it was different than last year’s cup; to be honest, I just knew Starbucks used red cups at Christmas (or in this case way before Christmas). Then I started hearing stories about people complaining that the cups were “anti-Christmas” because of deleted imagery (apparently there used to be snowflakes or reindeer or some other innocuous holiday image on the cups).
In a somewhat related story, there were complaints being lodged at the Roosevelt Field Mall (located in Garden City, NY) where the display where kids could meet Santa was shaped like a glacier with not a Christmas tree in sight. Again there were anti-Christmas accusations about the mall and someone started a campaign on Facebook, and soon a petition was started and a thousand signatures of protest secured.
Needless to say the mall feared a backlash and quickly added some trees to the glacier, and then a little bit later dismantled what we can suppose was meant to represent the North Pole. The people got their trees and are happy, but the red Starbucks cups continue to be distributed as they are for now making some people still unhappy.
What seems like minutiae to me – paper coffee cups and a plastic mall display – obviously seemed very important to many people out there. What I don’t understand is how either situation constituted an assault on Christmas. Perhaps I am missing something here; however, I am a Christian and find neither of these things to be insulting or infringing on the spirit of Christmas.
If we want to be honest, nothing done in retail has anything to do with the spirit of Christmas – which is in essence “peace on earth, good will toward all.” The retail idea of Christmas spirit is big business for many – that has to do with selling the idea of Christmas but nothing to do with what really matters.
Some people who are getting upset about red cups and the glacier display are misdirecting their concern over celebrating Christmas. As far as I know Americans are allowed to celebrate (or choose not to celebrate) in the way that fits our individual needs. That means decorating out houses like Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation or putting a lone candle in the window if we want. Some simply place a wreath on the door; others do nothing at all. This is the way it is meant to be here in a country that is supposed to be about individual freedoms.
Sadly, social media and smartphone cameras provide people with platforms to capture images of just about everything and then a way to protest just about anything. In truth I sometimes wonder if protests such as these have anything tangible to do with the issue and more about these people getting the most likes or tweets.
Plain red paper cups and a glacier display in the mall do nothing to ruin my Christmas. That already started when I heard Christmas music in a store on October 30th. Of course, in this country freedom of speech is an inherent right, so they can all go ahead and protest these and other things. My guess is that this kind of taking a stand about trivial matters gives them satisfaction and, if nothing else, something to complain about.
This reminds me of some people complaining about the use of “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.” Neither expression offends me; rather, I see it as a kind way of not insulting someone (they do not know whether you want to hear “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Kwanza”). Those purists who want to hear everyone saying “Merry Christmas” and force the issue are worse than old Ebenezer Scrooge moaning about Christmas driving a stake of holly through his heart.
So I will just forge ahead and try to ignore this insanity, but I have already heard grumbling about the balloons to be used at the Thanksgiving Day Parade in a couple of weeks. Ah, just what we need, some new minutiae for people to get ready to boycott or protest. At this point my holiday spirit is in serious danger of flying out the window and never coming back. Ho-ho-humbug to all and to all a good fight.
Photo credits: newsday, starbucks, fanpop.com
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