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Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Local War on Christmas

posted by on December 23 at 11:31 AM

Ugh. Let’s all pray to the non-denominational baby something-or-other that our region will soon stop handing the war-on-Christmas shriekers ammunition like this.

The past few weeks, visitors to the U.S. District Court building have been treated to a hapless display of irises, primroses and other spring flowers.

Why spring flowers in the dark of winter? It was a rush replacement. For what has been there in winters past—dozens of bright-red poinsettias….

Long story short: No more poinsettias in the lobby (workers can still have them in their offices). The landlord, the General Services Administration, felt it had no choice after hearing “a series of complaints” that poinsettias were “too Christmas-y,” says Bill Lesh, the agency’s spokesman.

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Poisonous little fuckers too. Seriously. Keep 'em away from your cats, dogs and little kids.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | December 23, 2007 11:49 AM

@1--Poinsettias aren't super poisonous. They can cause irritation if eaten by pets, but they usually don't cause death.

This whole thing is stupid. Put up the poinsettias and deal with it, people. They bring some color into the darkest time of year. Rejoice and be happy!

Next thing you know they'll be outlawing the red and green street lights!

Posted by Michigan Matt | December 23, 2007 12:05 PM

Oh for god sake, people are stupid.

Posted by monkey | December 23, 2007 12:15 PM

Dildos have no xmas association, and the one's at Toys in Babeland are colorful and festive. Why not decorate public buildings with those?

Seriously though everyone should celebrate Christmas, off the ski slopes somewhere in a nice cozy room, thus leaving more Xmas powder for me.

Posted by kinaidos | December 23, 2007 12:19 PM
Posted by Kyle | December 23, 2007 12:20 PM

Brave Republican Troll is on a smear campaign against Dan Savage today. He doesn't care about the children dying in Iraq. All he cares about is the fact that Savage supported the war at some point in the past.

My disgust cannot be overstated. When all you care about is smearing people who disagree with you while overlooking the suffering and death we are causing - and even supporting it - you are a lousy human being.

My apologies for the repeat posting. I'm hunting Troll. Big, fat, blubbering Republican Troll.

Posted by montex | December 23, 2007 1:00 PM

Brave Republican Troll is on a smear campaign against Dan Savage today. He doesn't care about the children dying in Iraq. All he cares about is the fact that Savage supported the war at some point in the past.

My disgust cannot be overstated. When all you care about is smearing people who disagree with you while overlooking the suffering and death we are causing - and even supporting it - you are a lousy human being.

My apologies for the repeat posting. I'm hunting Troll. Big, fat, blubbering Republican Troll.

Posted by montex | December 23, 2007 1:01 PM

Saying the government can't celebrate Saturnalia like any other part of civilization is like refusing us the right to say "Habeas Corpus" or "Amicus Curie" or any of the traditions brought to us by our history. Should half of legal jargon be in Chinese? Heck no.

Posted by Joshua | December 23, 2007 1:04 PM

@8, It has been awhile since someone posted what Dan wrote a few years ago. The only thing I took from that is just never trust the Stranger on policy issues....ever.

Posted by Just Me | December 23, 2007 1:05 PM

This may be ridiculous, but I perfectly understand the over-reaction to symbols of Christmas. It's shoved down our throats for 6 weeks (and growing) every year. I actually had to listen to carollers in my office's lunchroom once a long time ago.

I've never celebrated the holiday; I don't see any reason to start now, and I hate that I can't even listen to KEXP without hearing Christmas music. At least it's not the same old songs.

Posted by Tizzle | December 23, 2007 1:22 PM

The sad thing is when I explain that I don't do Christmas because I'm an atheist, everyone says "oh, but now Christmas isn't really religious anyway." To me it's got Christ right there in the name and it seems pretty damn religious to me.

So I agree with the fundies who want to emphasize that it's all about Jesus. I don't get why they then want the government to be observing it though. Seems like the only argument for a government Christmas is if you believe the religious origins of Christmas are entirely diluted.

But whatever. To me the true meaning of Christmas has always been people from all walks of life and all creeds agreeing on how disappointed they are in each other. Disappointed over Christmas itself. There would be no Christmas without recrimination.

Posted by elenchos | December 23, 2007 1:38 PM

Complaining about poinsettia's is so tedious and dumb in my opinion. They are just a seasonal red plant.
So whats next?
Apple Pie, candy canes and stuffing those are kind of too Christmas too.

I love my Christmas Tree with colored lights, and I'm putting on Christmas music right now while I make a bunch of Chocolate rum balls for tomorrow.
Hey rum is too Christmasy too. It should be outlawed this time of year!

Posted by mj | December 23, 2007 1:50 PM


Well, by that logic, the spring flowers that have been brought in also provide color to this time period, without any of the symbolism of Christmas. Which I can't wait to be done with for another year. I like to see government spaces doing something else.

Screw those war-on-Christmas types, I'm glad we're pissing them off. Why should we be worried about what these fundamentalists think of our behavior?

Posted by Abby | December 23, 2007 1:53 PM

elenchos I agree Christmas is a Christian holiday but I really don't think that most people celebrate it with that idea.

Christmas Trees, Santa and Poinsettias have nothing to with Christians. I hate the fact that Christians have been so in your face that you do not like Christmas

I love all the lights and the idea of giving this time of year as long as it remains simple and loving.

I have not been in the States for Christmas's in over 15 years so I'm having a hard time understanding all the stress in the air.
Also I am a Christian so I obviously have no problem there.
I'm just sorry that Christians have been so in your face at Christmas that you do not enjoy it anymore.
I think there are Atheist who do celebrate Christmas just as family time or even just a cozy fun time of year.
It's fine you do not celebrate it though. I have no problem with that just don't take away the poinsettias. LOL.

Posted by mj | December 23, 2007 2:04 PM

If large corporations could not make massive money with our copious amounts of consumption this time of year Christmas would be about as big of a deal as.. hmmm Flag Day.

Fact: Most mainstream protestant denomincations DISCOURAGED the celebration of Christmas until the late 19th Century as it was too "Catholic" and filled to with too many "pagan" symbols. For those protestants (including Methodists, Presbyterians, Congergationalists ect) Easter was theologically MUCH more important to their belief than Christmas.

Posted by Some Fun Facts: | December 23, 2007 2:56 PM


Abby--I agree. Spring flowers can certainly brighten up the dark days of winter. That's why I often force spring bulbs in my home. I just think people should pick their battles a little more wisely. Enforced prayer by the government at Christmastime? No thanks. A poinsettia here or there? Yeah, it's not that big a deal.

But I spent part of the day baking cookies and will be having friends over to watch Pee Wee's Christmas Special tonight which is about as religious as I get. . .

Happy Holidays!

Posted by Michigan Mat | December 23, 2007 3:15 PM

My "Christmas" wreath contains, among other things, about 50 demilled 50 BMG rounds. Ho ho ho.

Posted by Hairy Christmas | December 23, 2007 4:17 PM

The thing that ticks me off is when I ask people, as a polite thing, what they're doing during the holidays (emphasis on "holidays", as in time you do not work), and they're all, "Oh well, I don't celebrate Christmas." Ok, but you're still taking the days off, right? That counts as fucking celebration, I think. Jesus Christ.

Posted by Gloria | December 23, 2007 4:34 PM

For all Christians Easter should be the most important. But it's not happy like Christmas, so suffers from PR issues.

Posted by Arturo | December 23, 2007 4:47 PM

@ Gloria,

They're taking the day off to recover, not celebrate. There's only so many times you can hear X-mas music, see endless true-meaning-of-christmas movies on t.v., and taste so much homemade fruitcake before you go psychodelic on somebody's ass.

Posted by Y.F. | December 23, 2007 4:51 PM

Oh, Gloria, please lose the stick up your ass - it is not attractive. (Besides, I could replace it with something that would do you a whole lot more good...)

Posted by sweet Child o' Mine | December 23, 2007 5:03 PM

Excuse me, but the last time I checked, primroses were a pagan (druid) fertility symbol. Ahem.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | December 23, 2007 5:37 PM

@12 "Goodbye" is derived from "God be with you." Now that you know that, will you have to switch to "Fare thee well?" "Holiday" is pretty clearly derived from "holy day." What will you call New Year's and MLK Day? Will you ever be able to accept a clerical position if offered? There's a lot of things that derive from religion you may have to boycott.

However, I agree with you that Christmas is not secular. The worship of Mammon gets bigger every year.

Posted by Gitai | December 23, 2007 7:19 PM

This is total nonsense. Poinsettias are pretty plants, native to Mexico, and do not indicate accepting the tall white guy with flowing locks and a big beard as your savior.

All of this while we have a federal government forcing cruel theocratic policies down our throats, and throughout the world.

Posted by Yid Kid | December 23, 2007 7:59 PM

I think December itself is too God-damned Christmasy, and that we should go straight from November into January.

Or better yet--May.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | December 23, 2007 9:00 PM

Of course I'm taking the days off, Gloria, why the hell wouldn't I? I don't really have much of a choice in the matter, and I like days off to sleep in as much as anyone. Although when I worked retail I worked Christmas, which was awesome because I got time and a half and no customers to deal with. But even now, I'm not exactly 'celebrating' anything. I might go see a movie, or I might stay home and watch that marathon of Arsenal games from the FA Cup that they're showing on Fox Soccer Channel- hardly a celebration of anything other than being off from work.

Posted by Abby | December 23, 2007 10:23 PM

its SEASONAL, people, NOT RELIGIOUS: poinsettias, the TANNENBAUM, mistletoe, presents, candles, lights, feasting.

there's a fucking BIOLOGICAL REASON for this holiday. as in THE SOLSTICE. autumn into winter.

and that reason precedes Constantine's conversion to Christianity & adaptation of the Feast of Sol Invictus for Christ Mass. its as old as our species. don't let your religion, or lack thereof, fuck up a perfectly good holiday.

CALL IT YULE. for us pasty northern european types, that's what it was before Jebus.


Posted by max solomon | December 24, 2007 11:21 AM

Having grown up where most of the poinsettias are grown... I don't see how they can be "Christmas-y" beyond simply their use at the time of year. The are not mentioned in the nativity story, but simply provide colour and income for the growers at a time of year when fewer flowers are available.

Posted by CalValkyrie | December 24, 2007 1:07 PM

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