The Times West Virginian

December 15, 2013

Is there really a ‘war on Christmas’?

Times West Virginian

— We all know how the story starts ...

“Every Who

Down in Who-ville

Liked Christmas a lot...

But the Grinch,

Who lived just North of Who-ville,

Did NOT!”

And we know how it ends ...

“And he puzzled three hours, ‘till his puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!

‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store.

‘Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!’”

The Grinch realizes that even without food and decorations and presents, the Whos still came together, held hands and sang on Christmas morning, despite his best efforts to take the holiday away.

Though the much-loved story, first published by Dr. Seuss in 1957, never once mentions Christ or his birth within its pages, it’s critical of the commercialization of Christmas and all but smacks you in the face with its moral about Christmas needing to be a celebration of the arrival of the Messiah.

The good doctor even admitted that he based the Grinch on himself after looking in the mirror one Dec. 26 and not liking what he saw. He wrote it, he said, to “rediscover something about Christmas I’d obviously lost.”

These days, maybe you could say the Grinch is still alive and well and trying to steal Christmas away ... In Texas rather than Whoville.

A new Texas law maintains that people may now — without fear of sparking a lawsuit — say “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy holidays” at school and display religious and secular symbols like Christmas trees, menorahs and Nativity scenes in public places as long as more than one religion and a secular symbol are included.

Conservative activists say it protects Christmas and strengthens First Amendment rights of children. Liberal ones say it isn’t necessary and it’s a way to introduce Protestant religious themes in the classroom.

One elementary school seems to have misinterpreted it. Instead of including more than one representation of Christmas, a “Winter Party” seems to have been planned to include none so as not to offend anyone. The rules of the party were: no Christmas trees, no use of red or green, no use of items that could stain carpets and no references to religious holidays, including Christmas.

Talk about national attention. Another shot fired in the War on Christmas? Is there even a war? We took that question to our readers, who log on to to vote in our online poll.

Last week we asked, “A Texas law has rattled many who claim there is a ‘war on Christmas’ and that schools, stores, companies are trying to wipe away the true meaning. How do you feel?”

And here’s what you had to say:

• Christmas is everywhere. If there’s a war, it isn’t a successful one — 10.68 percent.

• Religious observations and symbols of Christmas are personal and something that rules and laws can’t take away — 40.78 percent.

• Of course there’s a war! If I hear “happy holidays” one more time ... — 48.54 percent.

Merry Christmas, y’all. This week, let’s talk about the gifts we wish we could give.

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor