Saturday, 19 December 2009

Oh come ONNN.

'Tis the season to be pedantic, so who am I to fly in the face of tradition?
I have bought many packs of Christmas cards over the years, and they fall into two categories: Silly and Religious. This year is no exception, and I have some nice Nativity ones, which say "Merry Christmas" inside them, and some nice non-Nativity ones (geese, Miss Piggy and 1950s skaters, since you ask), which say "Season's greetings" or similar.
I am not particularly bothered about what Christmas cards say inside them - yes, we all know it's one of the Big Two of the Christian year, but I don't (as an agnostic myself) feel personally affronted if this is either pointed out to me or studiously (and with great PC) avoided.
After all, it's nice to think someone thought of you and sent you a card, whatever the feeling behind it.
HOWEVER. I bought some nice Robert Sabuda pop-up Christmas cards (well, I think they're nice, so that's the important thing), which combine some seriously Nativity pop-up images with some inoffensively snowman 'n' reindeer pop-up images (perfect for the rabid Zen Vegan in your life). And the one with the pop-up The Baby Jesus In A Manger says "Happy Holidays" in it.
Let's be honest, the sentiment "Happy Holidays" is designed to show Those Of Other (Or No) Faiths that while you wish them a nice break over the December 24th - January 2nd period, you wouldn't dream of trying to convert them at swordpoint like your ancestors might have done. Affixing this to a picture of The Baby Jesus is as pointless as asking people to come to church with you for a coffee. I appreciate the strenuous efforts the manufacturers were making to remain politically correct (and I am, as I may have already said, a fervent agnostic), but there are limits.


Rol said...

Whenever I hear 'Happy Holidays' I think of beaches and sunshine. "It's political correctness gone MAD, I tell you!" Etc.

Angela said...

Love Sabuda's pop ups, have several books including The Night Before Christmas which looks a lot like those cards, will have to get some!

Lucy Fishwife said...

Rol - I KNOW. All the more reason to feel strangely deflated when somebody says it to you and you abruptly remember that there is no sunblock in your immediate future. At least "Christmas" implies cold, wet, and rushing your children/pets to the vet because they've eaten tinsel.

Angela - He is truly the king of kings. I particularly liked the Wizard Of Oz he did, which was NOT ONLY pop-up BUT ALSO came with 3D glasses for added psychedelia.

Simon Thompson said...

Lucy, I had exactly the opposite gripe. The only people I'd dream of sending Christmas cards to are clients or other people I want money from (Abi does the rest and forges my signature). Many of these people are of God-knows-what religious persuasion - I think there are a couple of tree worshipers, a Jewish person, a Muslim, an Irishman and a Scot, one or two satanists, some Wickan folk, etc. All I ask for is for some of the cards that aren't absolutely pants to be blank inside, so I can write - I don't know - "have a good break and a happy new year" or something. But I had to schlep to three shops in the middle of London, ending up in Rymans on Oxford Street, before I could find any. I truly knew what the blessed Mary and Joseph had to put up with by the end of it, I can tell you.


Steerforth said...

Although I'm an atheist, I find "Happy Holidays" highly offensive, because it is symptomatic of the way traditions are stripped of any meaning and rebranded as insipid, postmodern events in today's consumer culture. Happy Holidays masquerades as being inclusive, but it's actually about expanding the customer base.

I'm a grown-up. Give the whole Christian thing and let me decide for myself.

Sorry if that's a bit ranty and pompous. I've just cracked open my Christmas bottle of Croft Original and it always ends in tears.

Lucy Fishwife said...

Simon - I forge Mr F's signature too. It's a wife thang. Yes, why are there no blank cards??? After all if it has a robin or a Santa on the front it SAYS Christmas and the printed message inside just gets in the way of your sentiments ("Give Me Money", for example, or "I Still Owe You £10 And Haven't Forgotten"). Tchuh.

Steerforth - For "Croft Original" read "De Kuypers Sour Rhubarb Liqueur" and I'm with you all the way. Hallmark sucks.