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10 Things about the Christmas season that irk this Pagan (and they might surprise you)

Updated on November 4, 2013

Most people who know me well are aware that I am a devout pagan. As such I celebrate the Winter Solstice and the rebirth of the Sun Lord. In the United States pagans are still a minority and our festivities often looked on with suspicion or ridicule. I discount this to one of two things -ignorance or sheer intolerance. All the same I try to like everyone and feel to be accepted one must be accepting of others. When it comes to the celebration of the Christian holiday of Christmas, even as the media pushes it on us at every turn I remember the meaning it has for Christians. The birthday of their Savior. I do not see Jesus as divine, yet I can honestly say I LIKE him. Sure, scores of his followers have, down through the ages, committed wrongs in what they claimed were his name, but those wrongs are a reflection on them, not the man he was. Nor will heinous acts ever speak for the character of all believers of the faith. There are plenty of good Christians around, more so I'd say than bad.

All the same there are a few things about the Christmas season here in the U.S. that irk me. But some of them might come as a surprise to you, especially if you are a curious Christian. So I'm sharing the list of top ten here. And from my curiosity I'd be interested in hearing if any of these are something you identify with?

10. Pets stuffed into uncomfortable costumes

So exactly when did sadistic acts of pet tailoring become an integral part of Christmas traditions? I don't know, but we see these costumes on pets more and more. Sorry, but no amount of hearing Oh, how darling! is going to make Fido, Spot, Tom Cat or Fleabag feel any more comfortable or less embarrassed while forced into wearing one of these outfits.

9. You can't buy eggnog milkshakes any other time of the year

I don't drink eggnog often because they're fattening, but by golly on those rare occasions I want to go out and drink something rich, yummy and calorie-heavy, I would appreciate being able to order it in eggnog. Eggnog, mmmm!

8. People hating on Santa Claus

There are some Christians who outright hate Santa and the Easter Bunny merely because of their pagan origins. As a pagan I could hate the bastardization of our sacred deities,but what does hate behoove anyone? And among certain Christian fundamentalists the bashing of Santa, his elves, the reindeer and the festive decorations has evolved into a tradition of its very own. But as they are apt to say, Jesus, the Reason for the Season, so how about a little less stone-throwing and a little more Love Thy Neighbor?

7. Old Navy commercials

Old Navy commercials irk me in general for a few reasons: 1. the visual saturation of pastel shades, 2. the Target-esque use of red (original, right?), 3. the air-headed music and dance, 4. actors that prance and dance around like they're at a Broadway audition, 5. the generally butt-ugly clothing advertised. With the Christmas season these commercials hog more air time than usual. Some people may like these commercials, but if Old Navy wants my business then they need to get rid of the tired pastels and replace the air-head music with heavy metal. And oh yeah, start making clothes that don't look like they were designed by the Partridge Family.

Of course, these commercials do work to the advantage of another clothing retailer, because the more of these ads I see the quicker I am to rush over to Hot Topic to buy a whole new wardrobe.

6. My home town's electricity-hogging downtown light displays

There was a time when my home town was a prosperous little place, back when there was industry here and it wasn't run like a bedroom community for the Tri-Cities. Nowadays industry is gone and the place is run by the leftovers of the tax-loving elitists who eagerly voted in regulations that turned it the bedroom community. The rest of us are left often just struggling to put food on the table and have enough money to pay for gas and the utility bills. Adding to the tensions this brings, our city governing folks seem forever at ends wit on how to pay for any and everything needed here, including an animal shelter, new jail, city employee benefits and the inevitable demands of teacher wage increases.

Despite these issues, the general low wages, the increase in homelessness and unlikely chance things are going improve any time soon, our city sees a huge amount of money put into the annual downtown Christmas displays. There aren't just lamp post decorations but lighted trees, including a tremendous tree display on the side of a nearby mountain. I don't want to sound like a Scrooge, I truly don't. Holiday displays are lovely, and each and every year my family enjoys a good view of that mountain-side tree. I just happen to think all the money that goes into paying the electric bill for those displays would be better spent toward helping provide electricity to area families that can't afford it.

5. Post office workers that are courteous, considerate and timely only in the few weeks leading up to Christmas

There are some good postal workers around, but I've encountered a lot of bad ones, too. The thing that irks me most about the bad ones is that their average salaries triple the income my husband and I bring in over a course of a year. Still, come the Christmas season, they believe they deserve a tip from us. Don't get me wrong, I've given loafs of bread and treats out to hard-working federal employees during the holidays. But if their regular routine is to be rude, unfriendly, unreliable, or to root nosily through our magazines and postcards and bang our packages when they think we're not watching, then a drastic and sudden change of attitude in the days leading up to Christmas won't get 'em even a candy cane.

4. Folks who risk the safety of drivers with distracting or blindingly overdone light displays

I like seeing festive displays on private residences: pretty, twinkling lights, heart-warming manger scenes, adorable reindeer and snowmen...when these are tasteful, and most especially if the displays don't turn the house into a carnival.

Most folks who put up epic displays say they do it "for the children". But to be brutally honest these displays often cause traffic jams and distract drivers, and as well glaring lights can temporarily blind drivers. People can be hurt, and children amongst them. For people who feel they have been called upon to entertain the young with an electrified celestial cornucopia for the eyes (and perhaps ears) may I make this suggestion: set your stuff up INSIDE your home. When you're done decorating inside you can put a lawn sign -a tasteful non-visually hazardous sign- inviting your neighbors and their kids to come inside to SEE your eye-dazzling stuff. This way the kids are entertained, you've accomplished your mission and the vehicular accident rate is kept down.

3. Atheists bad-mouthing Christmas or other seasonal holidays

This billboard and others like it beg to ask the question: what reasonable person purposely sets out to antagonize those who don't agree with them? Sure, it can be called a matter of free speech, but how would the people who put up these things feel if someone rented a billboard showing an atheist wearing a dunce cap? Or one with an atheist having relations with a monkey? Or an atheist burning in a lake of fire? It wouldn't be the nice thing to do and would plainly show intolerance. Yet unreasonable atheists (as opposed to the reasonable ones) continually ridicule the religious-minded at every turn.

I have friends who are atheists, but they're respectful human beings, nothing like the kind so insecure or pompous in their beliefs they can't pass up any religious holiday without trying to ridicule followers of that faith. Practitioners of this brand of Atheism seek to eradicate all religions, and during the Christmas season focus their attacks at Christianity. But doling out intolerance for intolerance is not the act of any reasonable person. And in the end a fanatic, by any other name, is still a fanatic.

2. People who get pissy at hearing any seasonal greeting other than "Merry Christmas"

Imagine this scenario: it is nearing Winter Solstice when a Christian friend comes up to me and says "Merry Christmas". I am immediately offended by what I perceive as a slight to my faith; my mouth drops open, I shiver melodramatically, raise my nose to show my indignant reaction, then grunt loud enough to be heard by everyone within a twenty yard radius, "Don't you mean Happy Yule?"

If I reacted this way I'd be considered a pompous jerk, and deservedly so.

The truth is I don't like Political Correctness any more than the next sane person. If someone wants to greet others with "Merry Christmas" I don't get offended. It is a greeting that comes from the heart, usually signifying the person saying it is wishing me happiness. The same when people say "Beautiful Hanukkah!", "Joyful Kwanzaa!", "Happy Holidays!", "Seasons Greetings!" or, as Pagans are apt to say, "Happy Yule!". But there are some individuals so caught up in proving Christmas is the only acceptable December observance that they act every bit as pissy as the Political Correctness followers that want all religious connotations removed from salutations.

Life is too short to go around looking to be wounded in every word spoken. It truly is.

1. People who think atheists hold the market on celebrating the Winter Solstice

Whether they are religious fundamentalists or pro-science crusaders, the assumption that Winter Solstice is a celebration only observed by Atheists is truly demeaning. For thousands of years peoples of many cultures have associated the Winter Solstice with the birth of Divinities and other sacred events. For anyone to delegate these spiritual observances as anything less denotes either ignorance or the perpetuation of a purposely contrived myth. And while doing either of these things fans the flames of contention, do any of us really need further contention in a world already saturated with war and hatred?

So it is my prayer people will stop using the Winter Solstice for negative campaigning. And I also end this Hub with a heartfelt wish for a very joyful winter for everyone, one enriched by the warmth of friends and family and uplifted by the spirit of love.

This Hub ©December 2, 2012 by Beth Perry


Submit a Comment
  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    5 years ago from Tennesee

    Hi Au fait!

    I began to notice a couple of years ago that certain atheist groups were claiming to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Their claims have been rather in-your-face media wise, and while I don't care what anyone celebrates, I find it disgusting if folks do it just to make a political or social statement. That is not celebration, that is just attention-seeking or worse, and it is a slap in the face for those among us for whom the Solstice is a sacred, meaningful occasion.

    As to the one about Old Navy - this year (so far) I have not seen a single one of those ads. Target seems to have taken over the concept, though not quite with the gawdy gusto Old Navy had!

    I've just recently woke up and still working on my morning coffee, so please forgive me if I don't address every part of your comment. However, I do want to say I like what you pointed out about Jesus not saying,"Love thy Christian neighbor so long as they believe exactly like you, just as you love yourself." I think this is a fantastic observation about the Nazarene. For no, no, he certainly did not say that and a lot of folks seem to forget his actual words.

    Gods bless and thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  • Au fait profile image

    C E Clark 

    5 years ago from North Texas

    I didn't know atheists celebrated the Solstice.

    I've written an article about #2. I agree that it's beyond ridiculous to make such a big deal out of what greeting one should use. If you aren't on the clock for some government agency you can say whatever you want to.

    Same thing with prayer in school and other public places. No one can stop you from praying so long as you do it silently, and what would be the reason to be shouting your prayers anyway? To prove to everyone around how pious you are? Or do you think God has bad hearing?

    Furthermore, it is not illegal to pray at school or school events, or in any other 'government' buildings. So long as prayer (and religion of any stripe) are not being promoted and not officially on the agenda, anyone can stand up and say to those around them, "I'm going to have a prayer before the game starts (or whatever the event happens to be). Would anyone like to join me?" It's perfectly legal so long as it isn't an official part of the program schedule.

    I agree with 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. However, I'm wondering where you find courteous postal workers even at Christmas?

    Agree that neither individuals, families, or towns and cities should be spending money on extravagant light displays or other decorations they can't afford.

    The reason I don't agree with #7 is that I don't have a TV, but if it is as you say, I would agree with that one too. :)

    If someone has a distracting light display next to the freeway I could see your point. Most of the people who do that sort of thing here are in quiet neighborhoods and sometimes all, or nearly all of the citizens of a particular neighborhood go all out. Then people flock to their neighborhood to see it and they usually drive about 5 miles an hour, stopping frequently. You can't feel sorry for people living in that neighborhood if they're participating in the lighting, and if a person doesn't want to see it, why would they go to that neighborhood?

    I fail to understand why some people imagine that everyone in the world should be exactly like them -- sharing their values, beliefs, etc. Do they think themselves so perfect that everyone should be a carbon copy of themselves? If they are Christian, that is a sin. Anyone who even vaguely imagines themselves morally superior to any other person is sinning with just their thoughts. They sin more when they act on those thoughts, and treat those people badly that they feel are inferior to themselves. When they say ugly things about those people they consider inferior to themselves, they sin still more. So much for perfection . . .

    As I point out in my article on the Merry Christmas wars, we have people starving and dying from lack of healthcare, we have wars all over the world, and we have a terrible crime rate along with a lot of official legal hate in mean cities all across this country that have made it illegal to be poor and/or homeless. Yet how we greet people at Christmas is the most important issue in the minds of so many people -- something some of them would probably start a war over. Is it any wonder our world is so screwed up?

    I am a Christian and my beliefs are strong, but Jesus came not only to pay for our sins but to set an example of how He expects His followers to conduct themselves. He wasn't namby-pamby, but at the same time He believed in extending love and friendship to everyone. He said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." He did not say, "Love thy Christian neighbor so long as they believe exactly like you, just as you love yourself."

    This is a great article that will hopefully get people to thinking this holiday season.

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    6 years ago from Tennesee

    savvydating, well Santa bless you! I like your style, and thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  • savvydating profile image


    6 years ago

    This article is charming, heartwarming and funny as all get out. I appreciate your tolerance of Christians. Some of us Jesus people are actually not all bad. Personally, I've always been rather fascinated by witches-- in a good way, and I'm not being politically correct. It's just how I feel. As I very recently mentioned to another writer on Hubpages-- I like the "harm none, do as you will" philosophy.

    As for your #2 example, turns out other groups get pissy too. For example, I once made a reply to someone that I like to say "Merry Xmas" during the holidays-- that is not to say, I am not good with hearing other types of greetings as well, because I am, but for me--I just happen to like those words, "Merry Christmas." It brings to mind Charles Dickens Christmas Carol, which is my favorite story of all time. Thus, the words have meaning for me as a time of generosity. Nevertheless, this lady, who prefers a more "general" greeting term in December, and sort of advocates for it, became incredibly offended when I mentioned my preference for me--not for everybody else. Sheesh! And I was like, "What the hell?"

    Anyhoo, I've rambled on long enough, but one more thing... I am so with you on the horribleness of the bashing Santa thing. I love Santa. Santa is my hero. He's my kind of guy--all the way!

    Up, awesome, funny!

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    Dexter, thanks much. And hope so, too :)

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    Melinda Mind, thanks for dropping in and reading!

  • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

    Dexter Yarbrough 

    7 years ago from United States

    Great hub, Beth! It was entertaining and enlightening all in one. I hope it gets folks to thinking!

  • Melindas Mind profile image


    7 years ago from Oregon

    Yeah, most of these annoy me, too. And I'm a Christian. lol

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    Lil Miss Reader, thanks much and I'm glad you were able to appreciate it. Bright blessings :)

  • Lil Miss Reader profile image


    7 years ago from Somerset New Jersey

    I LOVED this hub! I too have my peeves about Christmas and the way it is celebrated. Having been raised in a Catholic household and having a family who is catholic, there are many things that drive me crazy as a Wiccan about the season. Thanks for giving us some of yours.

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    Nell Rose, hey there girl. Whoa, I hate hearing about your town being like mine. It is too bad poorer people aren't elected into office, I think that could well help bring in intelligent governing.

    Thanks much for reading and commenting; always good to hear from you :)

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    Hi Sharkey11, and I think saying Happy Holidays is a very thoughtful way of going about it. It doesn't seem you're trying to conform to any political correctness agenda, just be friendly and respectful of all faiths. Nothing wrong with that! And I've seen those FB posts, too. And it comes across as a bit smug to me. Merry Christmas can be a warm sentiment, but when you say it as a matter of pride I think that rather chills the warmth right out of the expression.

    Thanks much for reading and voting up. I appreciate it and gods bless.

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    Hi Will! I agree with you, though I do feel fanatical Atheists won't be content until all religion is banned or at least silenced. Of course, at this time they're too timid to try and go after the one modern-day "religion" that would enthusiastically persecute Atheists if given half a chance. A lot easier for them to cast stones at those who turn the other cheek.

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 

    7 years ago from England

    Well we don't have that commercial thank goodness! lol! but the bit about your town is exactly the same as mine, there is always going to be someone who has something to say about Christmas or anyother time too, but as long as we hold onto what we believe then stuff the rest I say! lol! we pagans stick together, and yes I agree about those stupid dog costumes too! have a great one beth, nell

  • Sharkye11 profile image

    Jayme Kinsey 

    7 years ago from Oklahoma

    Wonderful hub! I was raised as a Catholic, turned to Wicca, and and now I can't say that I follow any particular religion, but try to celebrate the best parts of all of them. I deeply respect all religions, and it irks me that they don't do the same. I have met wonderful, open-minded people of all religions, and I, in turn, respect their wishes and needs at the holidays. It isn't hard. Why can't everyone do it, I wonder.

    I am one hundred percent with you on these pet peeves. The one I hate the most is the argument over what greeting we should give. I always say Happy Holidays, because I figure it includes Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Yule, Winter Solstice, Twelfth Night and anything anyone else might be celebrating. Seems more polite than asking random strangers what their religion is so I can use the "correct" phrase.

    I've noticed Facebook is covered up with people doing the "I ONLY say Merry Christmas"posts. Like you said, they are being confrontational, not following what Jesus taught. Sad. I hope one day everyone learns to love each other.

    One a side note, I love Santa Claus. And reindeer, and Nativity Scenes, and yule logs, and mistletoe...its all fun and beautiful!

    Voting this up and sharing.

  • WillStarr profile image


    7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

    I believe in letting people do whatever they want as long as they leave me alone. The current 'war' on Christmas is the work of the secular humanists,who would like to remove all vestiges of Christianity, the Christian observance of the birth of Christ, and the word Christ and all its derivatives from the American lexicon. If possible, they would also remove Christmas entirely as a federal holiday. Like millions of other Americans, I take that personally.

    Christians don't behead people or fly airplanes unto buildings when insulted, so they are a safer target than other, less tolerant religions.

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    Becky Katz, I hate hearing about the pressure you feel during the holidays. That just sucks and contrary, I'm sure, to what the occasion truly means for you. I hope this situation changes for you.

    About the "false idols", I get close to worshiping cheesecake and pecan rolls, but never, never offer sacrifices in their honor ;)

    Warm thoughts to you and yours and thanks for dropping in to read and comment!

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    Jeannieinabottle, thanks much lady, and bright blessings!

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    7 years ago from Tennesee

    SassySue1963, I appreciate you dropping in to read and commenting. Happy Holidays my friend!

  • Becky Katz profile image

    Becky Katz 

    7 years ago from Hereford, AZ

    I am a Christian and a lot of the things that irk you, irk me also. I detest the over commercialization of the season. I would love to celebrate the Birth of my Lord in a quiet, respectful manner, but I am instead forced to buy tons of things that I cannot afford for my family and friends who will be upset if I don't buy more. I don't want to spend days decorating my house for something that is intensely personal to me. I would love to just put the little Nativity scene up to remind me and go pray. Worshiping false idols is not my thing.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie Marie 

    7 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    This is a really awesome hub. I don't really follow any religion and merely play along with the Christmas thing because it is something I've done my whole life. It is great to get the word out about other celebrations, and I love reminding Christians how many of the Christmas traditions come from Pagan traditions. :-) Voted up and sharing!

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Hi Beth,

    At our core, I guess we aren't very different. I hate Old Navy commercials (any time of year to be honest), gaudy light displays disgust me, dressing up pets just makes me shake my head (they do this often at Halloween also), I'm fine with either Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. Neither one bothers me in the least. This is an awesome Hub because it really speaks to commonality and not what divides us. Nice job & Happy Solstice! :)


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