There are a mind-numbing number of Christmasy movies on TV. Taken in doses of one, it’s charming, in pairs, tediously predictable and anything more constitutes an overdose, nausea at the sight of schmaltz being a common symptom.
I have a vague recollection of a group in the UK who launched a campaign against Christmas decorations in the work place, claiming it alienated those who held no affinity with December tinsel. I also recall there being a Muslim man at the helm of the campaign which somehow catapulted the campaign into that all too familiar world of contemptous scrutiny from those certain Muslims are trying to take over the world.
It is a pity that my only reference to it is a sketchy memory of a Sky News anchor quizzing an outspoken campaigner, more comprehensive googling would likely dig up a reference, but a lazy google has found David Cameron, leader of the British Tories, saying :
Christmas is something that we celebrate as a country and should be in schools. Of course Muslims want to celebrate Eid and Jews, Passover, but you don’t build a stronger country by denying Christmas.
This has never made any sense to me at all. And the idea that anyone ever could be offended by a Christmas card that says “Merry Christmas and happy new year” and we’ve got to send one saying “Season’s greetings”; I think it’s just insulting tosh.
In fact, people – Muslims and Jews – are offended because it’s treating them in a silly and politically correct way.
Why thank you Mr. Cameron for volunteering so enthusiastically for the job of spokesperson for the Muslim population-and the Jewish population too. With sa benchmark like this you’d be better suited to being a peace envoy in the Middle East. A highly sought after position, I’d reckon, posterity among the perks. But while we wait on your CV to be approved, I’d like to clarify to ye, valued readers, that I’m not anti-Christmas. I respect the traditions of my fellow citizens of the world and I sincerely wish them a very merry Christmas. But while I do understand that there may be a significant slice of the population pie celebrating Christmas, I wonder if it isn’t a tad presumptuous to assume that subjecting the whole to the whims of a few could foster nationalism. Might I further add that the irony of democracy is that it inherently protects minorities.We get Christmas, we understand it, we empathise with its traditions, but I’m not really party to any of it, so please, oh please, could you tone down on the Christmas hullabaloo? It really doesn’t go with my South Africaness.
A colleague who is very keen on telling stories while puffing away on Camels, as mindless of Anti Smoking regulations in public spaces as he is of actually working, tells me of his wife’s experience as an au pair to the brat of a banking executive in New York. The executive kindly asks her au pair when Christmas is celebrated in South Africa. ‘December 25th,’ says the au pair. ‘But it’s ummer in the southern hemisphere then,’ says the executive, ‘you can’t celebrate Christmas in summer…. ‘ With reasoning like this it’s little wonder the banks are crumbling. And then there’s Africa’s own DSTV, flighting ads, sporting a well endowed snowman complete with snow storm attached, wishing their viewers a Merry Christmas. Yep, I can see how sunny, hardly ever snowed upon, sub-Saharan Africans are relating the idea of the snowman to their idea of Christmas. Cultural hegemony, I tell ya.