O, Christmas Tree
by Brian Keaney
I’m known for many things, not all of which I’m proud of and many of which I’m not so foolish as to put here online. However, this morning, I couldn’t have been happier that my reputation preceded me.
Today I finally bought my Christmas tree, a week later than I normally would have. I wanted to buy from the Dedham Community House again this year for two reasons. For one thing, they are only two blocks from my place, so getting it back is cake. More importantly, I wanted to support an organization that does some great work in my hometown.
I could go to a big megastore, but why send my money to stockholders in other states and countries when I can keep it here doing good work for my friends and neighbors? Although it is only slightly further from me than the Community House, I am boycotting Lowe’s once againuntil after Christmas. Not that I spend a lot of moeny there anyway, but it is ridiculous when they start putting Christmas items out a month before Halloween. As Suldog reminds us each year, Thanksgiving comes first!
In any case, the Community House only sells on Saturday and Sunday, and I thought they were worth waiting a few extra days for since I couldn’t get there last weekend. When I walked up this morning I immediately heard someone call out my name. I turned around, and the director was asking if I was back to buy the biggest tree on the lot again. I assured her I was, and asked where I could find it.
There were two early contenders, but in the end it was easy to choose the right one. It’s nine feet tall, and has a terrific shape. There was another tree that looked slightly bigger, but the shape wasn’t nearly as good. I don’t get too particular about too many things, but when it comes to Christmas trees I am a complete snob.
Not to ruin this with a complaint, but I left off on a rather disappointing note. As we parted ways a volunteer wished me a happy holiday. I know people use this expression to avoid offending anyone, but for Pete’s sake I just bought a Christmas tree. It should be pretty clear by now that I celebrate Christmas! I think it would have been safe to wish me a Merry Christmas.
As I was bringing in my tree I put the radio on to listen to Christmas music. The first song that came on was Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song, Part II.” Granted it’s meant to be funny, but I still took no offense at it. Maybe that’s easy for me to say, being in the majority and all. After all, Sandler wrote his series of songs for those kids who feel like they are the only ones in town without a Christmas tree.
However, I spent a year in Honolulu where I was an ethnic minority. There really wasn’t a majority, but we hoales were not even a plurality. One of the great things about that city was all the street festivals they threw. It seemed like once a month they were blocking off streets to throw a party. I marched in the Martin Luther King Day parade and had a blast at a Chinese New Year party. I wasn’t offended by anyone else’s celebration, and no one was offended when I wished them a happy St. Patrick’s Day.
As I said, I wasn’t going to mention his comment as I’m sure he didn’t mean to upset anyone by it. However, I just read about a city councilman in North Carolina whose election is being challenged because he is an atheist.
When Mr. Bothwell was sworn into office on Monday, he used an alternate oath that does not require officials to swear on a Bible or refer to “Almighty God.”
That has riled conservative advocates, who cite a little-noticed quirk in North Carolina’s Constitution that disqualifies officeholders “who shall deny the being of Almighty God.” The provision was included when the document was drafted in 1868 and was not revised when North Carolina amended its Constitution in 1971.
The vast majority of people celebrate this holy day, and only a very small percentage don’t. Even if you don’t, the sentiment behind the greeting should be evidence enough of the goodwill towards men they intend to impart. I’ve always wondered what those who don’t celebrate any holiday at this part of the year feel when they are greeted with “happy holidays.” Do they get offended? Should we instead be wishing each other “non-denominational, politically-correct, seasonal tidings of winter cheer?” Somehow that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
And, not for nothing, but have the good people of Ashville, N.C. not heard of the “no religious test” clause of the Constitution? I don’t care if he Decks the Halls or spins the dradle with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, or doesn’t observe any religious occurrences at all (curiously, the atheist councilman not only celebrates Christmas but also attends a church). I would much rather have an atheist who is right on the issues in office than a fellow Christian who is wrong on them.
Anyway, my tree is up, my apartment smells fantastic, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. Merry Christmas, and God bless us, every one!