Pharyngula has this post up:
The Xmas war is a funny thing; I would think the logical thing to do would be for xians who want us to remember the reason for the season
be berating their own who fall for the Satanic obsession with the Material World, and the buying of shiny prezzies.
Someone I responded to in the comments mentioned that instead of people being nicer and filled with joy in this season, they were in fact more stressed out, nastier and definitely not into the 'holiday spirit.' I concurred.
For many it is a horrible time that fills many with loathing. I was brought up catholic, and my family was pretty much into the consumerist thing, so Xmas had to be equipped with decorations, a tree, presents we could afford (although this was the only time of year I ever saw my mother use plastic) and many baked goodies.
I loved it as a kid - what kid doesn't? You get a bunch of stuff you need or want, and for many families in our lower-middle-class area, this was the only time you got new toys, got to make and eat wonderful spicy sweet cookies and cakes, two weeks off school...it was awesome. When I got old enough to make a little money, I got to buy my friends presents and my love of cooking began - I got to make cookies and give them as gifts as well. Astounding how many of my friend's Mother's didn't bake, and everyone loves a festive plate of fudge, right? It was even better finding out that all the trappings (even the date!) were stolen from pagan sources, so that didn't hurt me when I became a pagan in my teens.
Indeed, why not have a day that just about no one has to go to work, and use it for visiting and feasting on whatever you like? As far as I have read, the present thing (especially the large presents) is fairly recent, in the last century. I see nothing wrong with that, especially if you like the smells of holiday food, the carols (which I think everyone is sick of by Dec. 25) and getting together with friends or family.
The only thing I would personally declare war on is the wasteful consumerism. It's gone way outta control, even in these economic times, although It was worse when people had jobs, etc. I have worked retail, and I know how much they count on this season to make the year profitable, but they're doing that for ALL holidays anymore. I worked for a shop that offered Easter gifts that cost $70, seriously. The rationale being, I'm sure, that if, 'we did it to Xmas, we can do it to any holiday' and they just keep going and going. It's so embedded in our consciousness that I would get 'told off' by co-workers that I was 'cheating my kid' by not indulging them wit Xmas presents, and they would 'feel left out' when other kids got a ton of new shiny.
It's fun to get presents, but I've seen the curve of when kids are opening them. They are damned excited, I sure know I was, when I saw a mountain of things to open up, all for me, even though my mountain was really more of a hill. A small one. They open the first one, and want to examine it, maybe take it out of the excessive packaging so they can actually play with it, but they are encouraged to rip into the next gift, and the next, and overload ensues. Finally you get a kid who is over-saturated with the excitement of the opening/discovery experience, and looking around (while surrounded by lots of new things) for something more to open.
"Is this all I get?" I have heard this on Xmas mornings spent with fairly affluent people who have no less than ten prezzies for each kid in the house. Most of the toys are cheaply made and lose the kid's interest in a few days, only to be discarded. This even happened in the 70's (anyone remember Silly Sand? I played with it once). Toys are even cheaper now, and much less interesting, so hey, more plastic for the landfill.
Then we would eat lovely food, no, gorge ourselves on it, and feel sick and remorseful if we gained some holiday pounds, which allows the diet industry to make its money off of our guilt.
We are being played, and very well so. Paying credit card fees for buying shit we can't afford and nobody really wants, buying food we can't afford, and then paying someone else to help us lose the unwanted adipose off our bodies. If you can afford it, rock on, but many cannot, and think they must, to make it a Good Christmas for their families and friends, and are paying it off for months. Then we do it all over again.
This should be the War On Christmas. It should be a war against losing all reason when it comes to your household budget and means, it should be a wake up call to the O'Reilly's out there that the date is stolen, the trappings and the holiday is stolen, and that modern marketing has utilized it to our disadvantage.
Saying "Happy Holidays" pales in the face of the real damage Xmas does.