It’s the holidays, so it’s time for the Christmas ‘war’

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Ah, the Christmas season is upon us.

It’s time for the right to crank up the “war on Christmas!” cries.

Since the ascendancy of talk radio and the Fox News Channel, the “war on Christmas” drumbeat has sounded through the season as insistently as “Silver Bells” or “Jingle Bells” at the nearest big-box retailer. Every perceived slight to Christmas, every acknowledgement that other holidays, from Hanukkah to Kwanzaa, are celebrated at this time of year, every greeting of “Happy Holidays!” is ginned up as the latest salvo on Christmas by the killjoys of the left, who want to bump off Santa Claus, trample on Nativity sets and make Dec. 25 another day to clock in at the Maoist commune.

But, of course, there’s no “war on Christmas.” There never has been. But a “war on Christmas” sells to a certain slice of the demographic as reliably as an upgraded flat-screen TV. Sarah Palin, that dependable wind-up doll of demagoguery and resentment, has even published a book about “protecting the heart of Christmas” that is sure to be on the discount tables before the first buds of spring.

It should be noted that, as far as warriors against Christmas go, some of the most ardent combatants were the founders of this country. The Puritans were not fans of Christmas carousing, and outlawed its celebration for a number of years. In 1710, in fact, the minister Cotton Mather roared that “the feast of Christ’s nativity is spent in reveling, dicing, carding, masking and all licentious liberty … by mad mirth, by long eating, by hard drinking, by lewd gaming, by rude reveling!”

It wasn’t until 1836 that the first American state, Alabama, declared Christmas a holiday, and the federal government finally followed suit in 1870, close to 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Traditions are all good and fine, but the “war on Christmas” is one tradition that should die a quick death.

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