The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
On this day, in 1776, George Washington and the Continental Army crossed the Delaware river to surprise a Hessian force celebrating Christmas in Trenton, New Jersey.
And, speaking of wars, fellow-Yid Jonah Goldberg, has an interesting pro-Christmas take on the "The War on Christmas" meme.
Until A Christmas Carol, Christmas was more of a community celebration, a time for revelry. It was a lot like what New Year's Eve is today. But Dickens carved out Christmas as a special time for children. In the tale, the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to his own childhood, where he sees himself abandoned as all the other kids have gone home to be with their families. "The school is not quite deserted," the Ghost observes. "A solitary child, neglected by his friends, is left there still." Scrooge sobs at the sight. The Ghost then takes poor Ebenezer to see children playing and making merry with their family. Scrooge exclaims, "What would I not have given to be one of them!" . . . Thanks to Charles Dickens, Christmas became a time when parents thought about the Christmas they wished they had had when they were kids. And so they set out to deliver it to their own children. That's one of the keys to Christmas's enduring popularity. As Bill Murray says in Scrooged (you knew I'd come back to that), at Christmastime, however briefly, "We are the people we always hoped we would be."
take comfort in the knowledge that the Christmas haters are not merely losers, they are losing. Most Americans—who spend almost a trillion dollars a year at Christmastime by the way—understand those people are idiots. If anything, Christmas keeps winning in the war on Christmas because Christmas is so much Odin-damn fun! So enjoy the holiday on Dickensian grounds—faith, family, fun all mixed into one. Say "Merry Christmas" with joy in your heart and have a good time—if for no other reason than the fact that nothing pisses off the people who hate Christmas more than people actually enjoying Christmas. And by all means, let us redouble our efforts in our defensive war against relativism or the relentless erosion of our culture by political correctness. But there are other days of the year to have those arguments. The whole point of Christmas is not to have arguments.
That's what Thanksgiving dinner is for.