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Old 12-19-2005, 07:54 AM   #1
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Default The War on Christmas.

Or, I should say, A fictional 'war on Christmas' [I get so tired of all the made up tempests in tea pots. Personally, I've seen no "war on Christmas" here and believe it's just made up malarkey.]

By T. Jeremy Gunn 1 hour, 55 minutes ago

Last December, a group called Public Advocate for the United States (which claims to defend America's traditional family values) sent some Christmas carolers over to sing in front of the ACLU offices in Washington.

Carrying signs reading "Merry Christmas" and "Please Don't Sue Us!" - they also seem to have carried with them some rather strange imaginings about an assault on Christmas. (Related: Law doesn't mandate a secular Christmas | The year's dust-ups)

I don't know what the carolers thought might happen.

To tell the truth, the ACLU is not often serenaded by Christmas carolers. So it was with some excitement that the staff went outside and joined in the singing. They brought with them cookies and warm drinks to share. One staff member, who is an ordained Baptist minister, did a little witnessing about his faith to some astonished proponents of family values.

Fox News did broadcast the event (as a part of its "war against Christmas" campaign). Although the visiting singers were shown, the cameras failed to include any footage showing that everyone had participated in the caroling. Rather than reporting the facts, the anchor preferred the propaganda: "We believe the ACLU heard the message loud and clear, but they don't care."

The battle cries

This year, several groups are once again introducing the Christmas season with some heated and misleading military rhetoric. Some declare, "There is a war against Christmas!" One group launched a "Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign." One particularly bizarre charge is that there is "a thorough and virulent anti-Christmas campaign." Without a shred of evidence, they pretend that there is an effort afoot to remove "God" from the Declaration of Independence. Two groups even announced that they have assembled hundreds of lawyers to protect Christmas against this imaginary threat.

Make no mistake about it. These warrior-lawyers are not asking us to love our neighbors (and certainly not our enemies), nor to turn the other cheek, nor to be peacemakers, nor to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.

Nor is this a joyful effort to encourage the Christmas spirit in the millions of places where it can be promoted without any conflict: in people's hearts, in their homes, with families, in churches, or with friend and neighbors.

No, this is a campaign of military-infused rhetoric demanding that everyone accept one politically correct version of "Christmas."

For example, this year in Boston - the same city where Puritans once prohibited the pagan-inspired "Christmas tree" - the new Puritans now demand that the city call its evergreen spruce a "Christmas tree," and they threatened a lawsuit if the city didn't comply.

Another group charges that there is a "campaign of fear, intimidation, and disinformation" against seasonal symbols in Raleigh, N.C. - and they offer to provide a defense for the city against any threatened lawsuit. Yet they give no evidence that anyone is threatening a lawsuit. Before accusing others of engaging in "disinformation," perhaps these Christmas warriors should first take a look in the mirror.

Why this desire to manufacture controversy - about Christmas?

Guidelines already exist

Rather than engaging in propaganda about a "war on Christmas," all who want to promote the spirit of Christmas should remember a couple of simple guidelines.

First, Christmas displays - including nativity scenes - are perfectly acceptable at homes and churches. This religious expression is a valued and protected part of the First Amendment rights guaranteed to all citizens.

Second, governments should not be in the business of endorsing religious displays. Religion does best when government stays out of the business of deciding which holidays and religions to promote. Religion belongs where it prospers best: with individuals, families and religious communities.

And finally, as a seasonal greeting to all Christians: Merry Christmas from the ACLU! And for believers in all other traditions: Thank you for enriching our world!

T. Jeremy Gunn is director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief.
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Old 12-19-2005, 09:36 AM   #2
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That bit about God in the Declaration of Independence... it's not even part of the law of the land. It is, in fact, in opposition to much of the Constitution... but anyway...

The War on Christmas will end in the minds of those who see it when everyone is taught a vaguely Protestant, obscurantist version of everything in public schools. Those who don't see a War on Christmas won't mind too much.

And for those who tirelessly crusade to expunge religion from the public eye - dude. We live in a society that's predominantly Christian. We can't help it if some of that spills over into what we say and do publicly...
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Old 12-19-2005, 09:44 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Tina
Or, I should say, A fictional 'war on Christmas' [I get so tired of all the made up tempests in tea pots. Personally, I've seen no "war on Christmas" here and believe it's just made up malarkey.]....
Good observation. And tempests in a tea pot is right. Sometimes it baffles me what odd subjects some folks and groups pick to go on a major crusade. The way I see it, things and customs change all the time. Sometimes for good reason, other times for dubious ones. At some point Columbus Day was a big deal. These days we sort of quietly ignore it as something that borders on the politically incorrect.

Personally, I am far more bothered that I have a hard time these days getting into the Christmas spirit due to the gross commercialism of it all, whether they call it Christmas or Holiday spirit.
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Old 12-19-2005, 10:05 AM   #4
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All smoke and mirrors designed to keep us from questioning the true, unthinkable problems: Poverty, government sanctioned torture, a deficit that will cripple our children's future, tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while children go to bed hungry.

"Don't Think of an Elephant." Read it.
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Old 12-19-2005, 10:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jane
All smoke and mirrors designed to keep us from questioning the true, unthinkable problems: Poverty, government sanctioned torture, a deficit that will cripple our children's future, tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while children go to bed hungry.

"Don't Think of an Elephant." Read it.
Never leave any opportunity to put in some partisan political swipes.
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Old 12-19-2005, 10:23 AM   #6
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Sorry about that.

I am a dyed-in-the-wool liberal. However, I think the "powers that be of both parties" are allowing this to happen rather than saying, "Hey, Stupid, wanna talk about what's really important."

It's so much easier to use a BSO. (Bright, Shiny Object designed to distract)
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Old 12-19-2005, 10:40 AM   #7
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There is no war on Christmas. Jerry Falwell and his ilk are just trying to stir up trouble and controversy out of nothing. They always have to have an enemy to project their hate on to.

No one is offended by Merry Christmas. Religious Christmas songs have been played at every store I've been to this year. Silent Night, Little Drummer Boy, Joy to the World and so on. Nativity scenes are everywhere. No one complained, no one protested, no riots broke out.

As a rule I never say Happy Holidays. Because if you say Merry Christmas to a non-Christian they really don't mind. But if you say Happy Holidays to a Christian you run the risk of having someone get really ticked off at you.

All the people protesting and angrily screaming catch phrases like "Put the Christ back into Christmas!" are in serious need of some Christmas spirit. Perhaps they should also be reminded that they are in fact celebrating a co-opted Pagan holiday. I saw a photo of a Pastor dressed as Santa protesting outside of a Walmart. If he only knew.
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Old 12-19-2005, 12:25 PM   #8
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Jon Stewart cracked me up with what he said about the non-issue of "Happy Holidays" vs. "Merry Christmas." "Happy Holidays" is plural because more than one holiday is in this season--even for Protestants, since both Christmas and New Year's Day fall within a week of one another. As Jon Stewart said, you could wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year . . . "but you got shit to do."
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Old 12-19-2005, 12:27 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Webmaster
Personally, I am far more bothered that I have a hard time these days getting into the Christmas spirit due to the gross commercialism of it all, whether they call it Christmas or Holiday spirit.
I was gonna say the same thing Conrad. I'm sick of all of it. We don't even celebrate in our home anymore.
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Old 12-19-2005, 02:57 PM   #10
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You know, it doesn't help when folks like Bill O'Reilly lie about so called evidence of this so called war. He claimed that in Plano, Texas (http://www.pisd.edu/news/archive/200...y.report.shtml) kids weren't allowed to wear red and green to school. Same thing in Saginaw, Michigan except that it's been expanded to include the entire township. (http://www.wnem.com/Global/story.asp?S=4235657). Except, not surprisingly, both are out and out lies, thus giving Al Franken even more fodder for his next book.

Gee, ya think he's trying to start something? I'm not saying that liberals don't do crazy things. (Hell, I'm liberal and I do crazy shit all the time). But hey Bill, at least get your facts straight, will ya?

"No Spin Zone" my fat white ass.
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Old 12-19-2005, 03:06 PM   #11
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I am planning a war on the number 84 and other various abstract concepts
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Old 12-19-2005, 03:43 PM   #12
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Default Happy Holidays

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatlane
And for those who tirelessly crusade to expunge religion from the public eye - dude. We live in a society that's predominantly Christian. We can't help it if some of that spills over into what we say and do publicly...
I am a Pagan and a Goth, last person you would think would be shopping for Christmas gifts right?
Wrong. I come from a family of Catholics, secular Christians, Agnostics and a couple mellow Atheist as well as a couple other Pagans. I buy gifts for those people for their holidays, not just mine.
I have a friend who celebrates Kwanza (I had to send an e-greeting to her since I could not find a Kwanza card in Boise) and an entire handful of friends who celebrate Hanukkah, I have been to passover dinner with them and would have no problem celebrating anything they invited me to.
I say HAPPY HOLIDAYS because that is just what I mean, it is a wish that no matter what holiday you celebrate in the winter, even if it is only New Years Eve that you will be happy and find peace and contentment.
I honestly don't care if the giant tree on our courthouse steps is called a CHRISTMAS TREE or a YULE TREE, or TANUMBAUM or FRED, I just like the lights in the dark and dreary days of winter. In fact I kind of like Fred.
I don't care if there is a Nativity scene on the courthouse lawn, as long as someone else does not care that there is also a 6 foot tall Menorah there as well. I don't care if you wear a Cross, a Star of David as long as you don't give me guff about wearing my symbols.
People simply spend too much time worrying about what other people are doing and not enough time worrying about being the best person they can be within their own belief. Personally it reminds me of a couple of spoiled children huffing and puffing and whining cause Johny got a bite more ice cream then Jimmy or cause "MOM loves you best."
We honestly choose to let these things bug us or not and it seems that in a season when so much of the focus of all religions is on forgiveness, rebirth and peace we should just live and love to the best of our ability



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Old 12-19-2005, 03:56 PM   #13
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Default A reason for the season

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webmaster
Sometimes it baffles me what odd subjects some folks and groups pick to go on a major crusade.

There are people freezing in the street, children going without decent clothes and enough food to eat, and yet so many of the people who speak of "Putting Christ first" in this season are not the ones you see standing behind the serving counter at the Soup Kitchen, are not the ones who adopt families for the holidays or who support programs to help children. They would rather spend their funds on lawyers and lawsuits to make sure we all celebrate the same. Maybe they should be more concerned that we ALL CAN celebrate.
Sad fact in this country, the percentage of donations to income is highest with those who can least afford it, maybe because they know what it is to want, or need and not have.
I say the people who want to waste time arguing about what to call a big beautiful and now dead tree on the steps of their local government buildings should maybe spend some of that time and energy remembering what the message of this season is actually about. Love and peace and prosperity to all.


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Old 12-19-2005, 04:13 PM   #14
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On the November 9 broadcast of his television show, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said "I don't believe most people who aren't Christian are offended by the words 'Merry Christmas.' I think those people are nuts." Later, when guest Philip Nulman, an advertising and marketing executive, said that using the phrases "Season's Greetings" and "Happy Holidays" does not offend Christians, O'Reilly disagreed. "It absolutely does," he said. "And I know that for a fact."


Well what about those people that are dislexic either by accident or on purpose: saying things like: "Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year"?

The War Against Christmas ... Led by President Bush

We haven’t really waded into the supposed controversy over “Happy Holidays” versus “Merry Xmas” because, well, there are more important things happening in the world. But the irony (and hypocrisy) surrounding this is too funny to pass up. Anyway, if you’re not up-to-speed, conservative commentators are beating the drums on a phony ‘War on Christmas.’ Their thesis: secularists are on a mission to take Christmas away from Americans. The weapon of choice? The non-religious ‘Happy Holidays.’ That greeting, of course, covers all your bases: Hanukah, Kwanza, whatever.

The delightful ironies:

The most powerful man in the world, President George W. Bush, wishes close friends and supporters a happy "holiday season.” “What's missing from the White House Christmas card?” asks The Washington Post. “Christmas.”

Bill O’Reilly, who has recently waged a campaign against corporations that greet customers with "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas,” has an online store that sells “Holiday” ornaments for your "Holiday tree.”

http://mediamatters.org/items/200511300006 --> check out the 88 responses thus far and probably still growing about the Bill O'Reilly and the holiday ornaments

John Gibson is another Fox News employee who’s active in the campaign, even writing a book about the ‘war.’ So he may not be pleased with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, the company that owns Fox News. In addition to selling 'Holiday' ornaments, News Corp is throwing a “Holiday Party.”

by Eric Hananoki on December 7, 2005 - 1:57pm.

The Meaning of Christmas...

Sonti Ramirez and Nestor Sayo take a look at how Christmas is viewed by young people of different religions...

It’s more about spending money than a true celebration.

Christmas is here; bright lights in the streets, decorations in shops and people selling pine trees here, there and everywhere. And who of course could forget Santa Claus!

As young adults we think Christmas is a time when you spend money but it is also a peaceful period marking a religious event. Whereas, when we were younger we thought Santa Claus was real and just looked forward to opening our presents on Christmas morning.

Right now millions of young people around the world are eagerly counting down the days until they wake up to find presents at the ends of their beds.

With all of this going on, it’s easy to forget that not everyone celebrates Christmas. But in fact more than 3 million people in the UK identify with another religion other than Christianity, which works out to be more than a quarter of the population.

Nivine, 10, is one of 1.6 million Muslim people in the UK and for her Christmas is an important day because it symbolises the birth of Christ but it’s not the most important day in the year:

"Eid marks the end of Ramadan so this is the most precious day for Muslims," she says. But she adds that this doesn’t mean she and her family ignore Christmas:

"My family still give gifts to our friends and other people who celebrate it, but we don’t give gifts to each other. We don’t have things like tinsel or trees in our house but my sister and I make paper chains."

Mariya is also Muslim and agrees that Christmas is special:
"It’s not just another day because there is a very different atmosphere in the air. It’s a religious way of giving thanks to Jesus.


We don’t go and do anything religious on Christmas day like going to church but my family does take a day off work and sometimes we put up a Christmas tree."

After Islam, the next largest religion in Britain is Hinduism. Natasha, 15, is Hindu but says her family is not very religious. She finds it hard not to get into the spirit of Christmas, even though she is not Christian, because it is everywhere:

"England has a Christian history and as most people in this country are Christian, it is almost impossible not to make it the largest celebration of the year."

Natasha says her and her family don’t do anything ‘religious’ at Christmas but they do buy into the commercialised side of it, like having a tree and buying presents. Whilst Natasha enjoys this, she thinks it’s sad that Christmas is becoming more about money than meaning:

"The fact that Christmas is a Christian holiday is becoming less and less important with each generation as the religious celebration gets exchanged for the commercial.

In many ways Christmas has been cheapened by profit making companies and the media. It’s more about spending money than a true celebration."

Natasha isn’t the only one who feels this way. Daniel, 15, is Jewish and also believes that Christmas is more about receiving presents than the birth of Jesus:

"I feel the concept of Christmas has been cheapened over the years. Companies see it as a way of making money. Many people still celebrate Christmas for its original purpose but I think that they are now in the minority."

According to market analysts Mintel, the average adult in the UK this year will spend more than £300 on presents for family members and friends alone. Their report also highlights that over half the population say they spend more than they intend to, with only 38% sticking to their original budgets.

Zak, 13, who is a practising Muslim says: "I think the youth these days just think about presents too much. Some people believe in Santa Claus and some don’t, even though I am not a Christian I think they [Christians] should think about the true meaning of Christmas."

Although a lot of young people we interviewed seemed to think young Christian people are clouded by the importance that Santa Claus and the presents are given, we think young people do also believe in the real meaning of Christmas. We understand the celebration as being about remembering Jesus but also about families getting together, having fun and producing a spirit, which in a way is religious.

Like us, the people we spoke to seemed to enjoy the Christmas spirit, even though they were all non-Christian. Zak enjoys Christmas because of the effect it has on people:

"Most people are happy and there is less trouble."

Daniel adds: "I like the sense of festivity, and in many ways fraternity, that Christmas brings. Everyone seems to be jovial and upbeat and everyone is far more generous than usual."

Finding out what young people from other faiths think of Christmas has been very interesting and enlightening. Maybe in the future it would be nice to celebrate one of their religious celebrations - but for now we’ll just look forward to the 25th and all those presents!

About the team
This story was produced by Sonti Ramirez and Nestor Sayo, 12.It was published by Reach for the Sky Website.
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Old 12-19-2005, 04:16 PM   #15
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I love your posts T'rina :-)
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Old 12-19-2005, 04:41 PM   #16
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I love your posts T'rina :-)

Why thank you kind sir
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Old 12-19-2005, 04:43 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Webmaster
Personally, I am far more bothered that I have a hard time these days getting into the Christmas spirit due to the gross commercialism of it all, whether they call it Christmas or Holiday spirit.
I have to admit the desire of wanting to go back to a more simpler version of the holiday season..back to the main reasons people celebrate it. My family has tried to do that buy setting strict limits on what we purchase, putting meaning back into gifts, playing games, and talking about what we are thankful for during the past year. As a very smart person once told me....simplicity can be the most sophisticated quality of all.

PS: I also fully admit that I can still totally get into the Holiday baking and treats . IT's the best excuse yet to go a little overboard on food and baking.

Merry Christmas

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Old 12-19-2005, 04:46 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webmaster
Never leave any opportunity to put in some partisan political swipes.
Yeah. Makes it easy though -- like shooting fish in a barrell -- given that this whole hoopla was started on Fox, the conservative station, and then picked up by others from the conservative media just looking to make a mountain out of... nothing.

Fact is, I've always said "happy holidays" at some times and "merry christmas" at others. I don't think it matters. I guess this is the big important issue, since there's nothing else going on in the world right now...
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Last edited by Tina; 12-19-2005 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 12-19-2005, 04:51 PM   #19
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Default I am Celebrating HOGSWATCH instead



Now that is my idea of a holiday book

All about a plot to destroy Christmas (I mean HOGWATCH)

Check it out
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Old 12-19-2005, 05:24 PM   #20
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I am planning a war on the number 84 and other various abstract concepts

*snicker* That literally made me laugh out loud.
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Old 12-19-2005, 05:48 PM   #21
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Well, I'm personally gonna celebrate Festivus this year.
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Old 12-19-2005, 05:53 PM   #22
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Bacchals here.
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Old 12-19-2005, 06:01 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T'Rina / MsXXL
There are people freezing in the street, children going without decent clothes and enough food to eat, and yet so many of the people who speak of "Putting Christ first" in this season are not the ones you see standing behind the serving counter at the Soup Kitchen, are not the ones who adopt families for the holidays or who support programs to help children. They would rather spend their funds on lawyers and lawsuits to make sure we all celebrate the same.
I was on your side 100% until you made this statement. Like you I have my issues with big mouths in the church who certainly don't speak for all Christain believers. But I see more churches giving away more turkeys, more toys, more meals, more clothing all year round than any other institution. If you can show me a Gothic or Pagan benevolent children's relief fund someplace ringing a bell in front of a shopping mall I'd be happy to write a check. I can think of three churches in my my general area alone who each give out an average of 250 turkeys to needy families, collecting and donating money to local area food banks and who sponsor drop off places for toys, coats and warm clothing to be distributed without question to anyone who asks.

It's nice to know that people from all walks of life are getting out there and giving of their time to help those who are in need this season. This is the way it should be, everyone doing their part and certainly no contribution is to belittled or discounted. But your statements here reek of the same self righteous attitude which is just as distasteful as it is coming form anyone else.
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Old 12-19-2005, 06:05 PM   #24
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Me, I'm getting a small charge out of watching these idiots froth and moan: while the rest of us strive to celebrate the holidays the best we know how, getting pleasures from whatever traditions we cherish, the War on Christmas Crowd are loudly standing at the barricades, eagerly straining their ears for the first "Happy Holidays" they hear. They're expending so much effort striving to be A-lert and A-ware that they're missing the small seasonal joys all around 'em. . .
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Old 12-19-2005, 06:05 PM   #25
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You know, FLO, today I could *totally* go for Festivus. There are a couple of people I'd like to celebrate on...
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