Sometimes, a tree is just a tree

It seems like every year we have this bogus semantic debate about the marketing of Christmas. Or the holidays. Whatever. And every year, I roll my eyes and ask, “Haven’t we got more important things to think about?”

This year’s version of the annual flare up was cued by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who recently declared that the tree with the ornaments at the Capitol in Madison is a “Christmas tree,” not a “holiday tree.”

Here’s the deal. Call it what you want. I don’t care. It’s a tree.

Just like every year, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly goes off on a rant about the “War on Christmas.”
Here’s the deal. There is no war on Christmas. No holiday is celebrated or revered more widely in America than Christmas. None. You don’t believe me? Try calling a plumber, a banker, a doctor or even an exterminator on Christmas Day. Crickets.

Now, you can make the case that the true meaning of Christmas gets loss in the hustle, bustle and materialism of the season. No disagreement there.

But as a Christian, you cannot convince me that Jesus Christ cares whether J.C. Penney, Target, Wal-Mart or Sears puts the word “Christmas” on their advertising flyers and commercials or uses the word “holidays” instead. In fact, the case could be made that the Good Lord would not want to even be associated with the commercial peddling of electronic gadgets and Snuggies in His name. Anyone remember the moneychangers?

Some companies make the calculated judgment to use “Christmas” or “holidays” in their promotions. That is their right. I don’t care.

And if you object to whatever those retailers choose, as a consumer in a free society, you have every right to decide not to shop at those stores. Go ahead, vote with your feet and your wallet! I do not care!

I am not taking sides here. I think the people who freak out because politicians and retailers want to use the word “Christmas” instead of the generic “holidays” are equally askew.

Notice a theme here? I don’t care. I’m like the Honey Badger. (If you didn’t understand that last sentence, go ahead and search for “Honey Badger video” on Google. Then report back and laugh as you finish reading this column.

This whole debate is a waste of time.

We should be more concerned about turning this economy around so we all can have a more prosperous New Year. And with that, I wish peace for all and to all a good night!

Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes Milwaukee.

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