Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the wonder that is the modern Christmas.
Traditional celebrations have become consumer-driven, present-buying, glutton-inducing feasts of excess, and people are just offended at everything.
It started just a few days ago when Starbucks unveiled their new holiday cups. Just so you don’t get too offended by them, we’ll break it to you early. They’re red.
Just red, with a bit of an ombre lean making them darker at the top and lighter at the bottom. Apparently, this is enough to start an online war of words among Starbucks’ customers, particularly those of the Christian persuasion.
In the past, Starbucks’ Christmas cups have been Christmas themed, featuring snowflakes, reindeer, white doves, ornaments and other random iconographic symbols to clue people in that Christmas is coming, just in case they weren’t aware.
Now, angry customers feel that Starbucks is oppressing their religion, with one Facebook post going as far to claim that the chain “hates Jesus”.
The argument doesn’t really hold traction however, with Starbucks still faithfully advertising and selling of their holiday beverages including their Christmas coffee blend and seasonal Gingerbread Latte and Peppermint Mochas. Starbucks’ Vice President of Design and Content Jeffrey Fields had this to say:
“In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cup designs. This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”
It’s hardly a response that confirms Starbucks is out to get Christians the world over, especially if they’re just mad that their cup doesn’t match the one that Jesus drank his Gingerbread Lattes out of. But is it worth getting offended about? Have big companies really done away with Christmas so as not to offend people who don’t subscribe to the holiday?
But Wait. There’s More….
You would think that this comedy of Christmas error would have stopped with that, but it seems that it’s only just beginning. Just today we’ve heard of another story that’s got Christmas lovers all riled up in anger. A shopping centre in Long Island, New York, has gone modern for their Christmas Santa display, and customers appear to be taking it as a personal affront.
The Roosevelt Field Mall has done away with the traditional holiday village that it has put up in the past, and instead opted for a more glacial look. The photo kiosk has placed Santa in a scene that apparently looks more Star Trek than Twas The Night Before Christmas, even going as far as ditching Christmas trees.
It turns out that the mall was responding to complaints in the past over their Christmas displays. Apparently some people found the display, with the reindeer and the trees and the elves, to be offensive to them. Sure, Santa is okay, but he has to be sitting on an ice chair in the middle of a glacial set up that looks like something out of IKEA’s winter catalogue.
Shoppers are offended too, but only because the mall wanted other shoppers not to be. Some have gone as far as to boycott the mall altogether, and others are demanding that the mall add Christmas trees and other Christmas symbols to make it feel like Christmas. Not surprisingly, considering they clearly don’t know what they’re doing anyway, the mall bowed and installed some other “key elements” which were apparently “still being added” to the display in the first place.
OK, So What’s Actually Going On Here
It seems that there’s a divide happening in happy jolly Christmas land. On one side are people that just love Christmas, with the lights and the decorations and the useless presents and the wreaths and all that other Christmas crap. On the other side are people that feel like seeing Santa with a reindeer and a Christmas tree is offensive and worth complaining about. For some reason, the people in charge are bowing to the opposition.
To be honest, we don’t really get it. What’s the big deal with a Christmas? Most of the things we consider to be ‘quintessential’ to the season are just symbols after all, not indicative of some people people included and others excluded. Christmas is just a single event in the year, not a life changing moment to be harshly offended by seeing a big fat man in a red suit and a beard on a shiny Christmas chair. We’re laughing at the idea.
The fact that companies feel they need to be politically correct to the point of removing the symbols that we associate with Christmas seems silly, but so too does a company like Starbucks being blasted for choosing grace and design over obvious Christmas icons. It seems like we’ve taken political correctness too far on both sides, and everyone needs to take a chill pill and get over it.
Christmas is, at the end of the day, more consumer than religion in the modern world. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, but it also means there’s no need to get offended just because it doesn’t match how you live your life. We love Christmas, and we can do that as religious people and atheists. We can see both sides of the Christmas story, follow the family traditions, and enjoy the day without being dragged down by what Christmas should or shouldn’t be. So, if this article offends you, maybe you need to follow our advice.