The most wonderful time of the year always has a few certainties. During the holiday season, you can be sure to see Christmas lights, hear holiday music and taste seasonal foods. In the last decade, another tradition has been added to the holiday season: right-wing pundits complaining about the “War on Christmas,” usually motivated by businesses removing religious imagery and telling employees to say “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.”
The most recent example of this was Starbucks changing the design of its 2015 winter cups. This year, the company eschewed their traditional Christmas artwork, which included such designs as reindeer and snowmen, for a minimalistic, completely red cup. This elicited some backlash among the Christian right, with a movement being created to “trick” Starbucks employees into saying Merry Christmas. The movement was blown up by the media as more serious than it actually was, but it did have a few high-profile endorsements, chief among them Donald Trump, who called out Starbucks at one of his rallies.
Penne Restad is a distinguished senior lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin and has published a book, “Christmas in America: A History,” about the evolution of the holiday within American society.
“If there was a war on Christmas, we wouldn’t have Christmas,” said Restad. According to her, Christmas and corporations have always been intertwined, and if there was really an effort on the behalf of corporations to declare “war” on Christmas, the war would be short-lived and self-defeating.
Conservative outrage is a bit hypocritical to say the least. One of the major talking points of conservatives this election is the defeat of “P.C. culture,” a movement to take on issues such as racism and misogyny through criticism of “micro-aggressions.” The main argument against this movement is that it is an overreaction and sometimes overextends its reach.
However, if conservatives are going to attack the left for the support of these movements, it’s hypocritical to get upset over their own perceived micro-aggressions. A company using the word Christmas a fewer times in its advertising is not even a micro-aggression — it’s a nano-aggression. Is there any difference between getting upset over someone not using Caitlyn Jenner’s proper pronouns and getting upset over someone saying happy holidays? With regards to the holidays, conservatives should practice what they so often preach and grow thicker skin.
Chastian-Howley is an undeclared sophomore from Dallas.