Vital Signs

News From the Christmas Front

It has been over a year since Chronicles published my piece “Happy Holidays?  Bah! Humbug!” (Vital Signs, December 2001) and used it to announce its 2001 War Against Christmas Competition.  I am still receiving mail on the essay, and I thought I would give Chronicles readers an idea of how the War Against Christmas is progressing.  Some of the critical letters have been especially illuminating, though not always in the way their authors intended.

One correspondent informed me that “Actually, December 25th is the birthday of Mithras” and that “December 25th is Saturnalia.”  Although profoundly silly, this line of argument is surprisingly common, as aspiring deconstructionists routinely claim that Christmas is “really” a celebration of the winter solstice.  Of course, none of the growing number of faux Christmases being foisted on us by the multiculturalists—Kwanza, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Diwali, Bodhi Day, the Birth of Guru Gobind Singh, Dongji, Chinese New Year, etc.—is ever subjected to this sort of critical analysis.  

It is probably true that December 25 was chosen as the date to commemorate Christ’s birth to coincide with (and supplant) the pagan festival of Natalis invicti solis.  But the holiday that has been the major festival in the West for millennia is...

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