The 60s Official Site Blog

Dedicated to the memory and history of the 60s from a personal and historical point of view.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

What Happened to Christmas as I Remember It?

Christmas time is my favorite time of the year.  As we age we look more back in time and instead of forward.  I think the reason for this is that our memories of  fun events are etched more vividly in our memory bank when we were young. I recall living in Ohio during the 50s & 60s how we hoped and prayed for a White Christmas. It just did not seem like Christmas unless it snowed.  Maybe it was Bing Crosby song and movie "White Christmas" that made us wish for it.  I also remember the TV shows that had a Santa Claus that read letters from young boys and girls and on Christmas Eve you would see him pack his bag and turn out the lights to end that year's show.  You knew he was on his way that night to your house to bring the goodies.  Do you remember special Christmas programs during the season.  Never were the shows called holiday shows.  These special presentations added so much more to the excitement of the season.  You see a few of these programs now but not many.  Why?  I know but you figure it out. 

I recall the Christmas season was truly a great time of charity and love and I believe it still is with one exception.  The assault from minority section of the population is something we never experienced during the 1960s.  Christmas Day  is a federal holiday and has been since 1870 when President Ulysses D. Grant made it a legal holiday.

I recall how the expression Merry Christmas was given with no hesitation not too long ago.  I also remember how we celebrated the season in our schools with musical assemblies. Christmas decorations  including the Nativity scene  were seen throughout the city without a complaint.  Today it is norm to try to remove a special meaning of the celebration when it offends just a few persons. that over 90% of the U.S. population recognizes.   I believe in freedom of religion not freedom from.  

Controversy and criticism continues in the present-day, where some Christian and non-Christians have claimed that an affront to Christmas (dubbed a "war on Christmas" by some) is ongoing. In the United States there has been a tendency to replace the greeting Merry Christmas with Happy Holidays. Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union have initiated court cases to bar the display of images and other material referring to Christmas from public property, including schools. Such groups argue that government-funded displays of Christmas imagery and traditions violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits the establishment by Congress of a national religion. In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Lynch vs. Donnelly that a Christmas display (which included a Nativity scene) owned and displayed by the city of Pawtucket, Rhode Island did not violate the First Amendment but in November 2009, the Federal appeals court in Philadelphia endorsed a school district's ban on the singing of Christmas carols.  What a shame.  We sang them in our school as part of the Christmas program.  Today due to trying not to offend anybody, the Christmas vacation iss now called Winter Break in the public schools. 

In the private sphere also, it has been alleged that any specific mention of the term "Christmas" or its religious aspects was being increasingly censored, avoided, or discouraged by a number of advertisers and retailers. In response, the American Family Association and other groups have organized boycotts of individual retailers. In the United Kingdom there have been some minor controversies, one of the most famous being the temporary promotion of the Christmas period as Winterval by Birmingham City Council in 1998. There were also protests in November 2009 when the city of Dundee promoted its celebrations as the Winter Night Light festival, initially with no specific Christmas references.
The attack has also gone to cable TV on Comedy Central on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart who in most cases has no appeal to the baby boomers.  His appeal is for the younger generation who seem to admire him and look at his show as real news. It has become a pitiful situation when he sells what he shovels as news and comedy. 
I remember the smiles, the laughter, the wide eyes of amazement from the young children, beautiful decorations and more importantly  the real reason we celebrate Christmas,   My God help us never to forget what we are celebrating and help us defend the true meaning of Christmas and our right to celebrate it.  Merry Christmas to all even to non believers.

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