Merry Christmas.
November 28, 2001 11:25 AM   Subscribe

Merry Christmas. Maybe these families were traumatized by Santa at some point.
posted by Modem Ovary (29 comments total)
Too many viewings of Silent Night, Deadly Night (I, II, III, IV, and V)?
posted by eyeballkid at 11:37 AM on November 28, 2001

Maybe they had an experience similar to Kate's (Phoebe Cates) in Gremlins. You know, father goes missing on Christmas eve only to be found months later, dead, wearing a Santa suit and stuck in the chimney. Happens all the time.
posted by jennyb at 11:41 AM on November 28, 2001

they deserve to become the laughing stock of the nation. they've allowed a tiny but vocal minority to determine what will happen regardless of the wishes of the majority...
...oh, wait...
posted by quonsar at 11:42 AM on November 28, 2001

Global Ridicule Extinguishes Montgomery's Anti-Smoking Bill. "It's the same old saga -- there's a significant vocal minority who do not want to see us regulate a lethal product," said council member Steven A. Silverman (D-At Large), a supporter. "What you are not hearing are the people who say this is a good thing, and if it saves a few lives, great." [Washington Post]
posted by Carol Anne at 11:44 AM on November 28, 2001

From the article:
"Montgomery County lawmakers recently passed legislation that would have regulated smoking in the privacy of people's homes.
The county reversed course this week after a rash of worldwide attention and a public opinion backlash.
"At least now Santa can stay at home and smoke, if nothing else, since he is now banned from the tree lighting," mocked one Montgomery County lawmaker on Wednesday. "We have become a national embarrassment."

Is this really enough to supplant Berkeley, CA, as the #1 national embarrassment?
posted by msacheson at 11:44 AM on November 28, 2001

I'm offended that there are people offended by this.

P.S. Drudge Links like this usually don't last long.
posted by revbrian at 11:46 AM on November 28, 2001

I live in the town referenced in the "article", and my first reaction was that perhaps the residents who spoke up were like me: non-Christians sick and tired of national christmas trees; courts that require one to swear to god despite your beliefs; coins with "in god we trust" on them; and people who don't get that others can feel uncomfortable when governments adopt religious holidays, icons and imagery, etc.

But since it is Santa being banned and not the other Christian holiday symbol (the tree) I was confused. Despite hearing about this story on NPR and a variety of other places, no one has said why the non-christian couple had a problem with Santa but apparently not the tree. But perhaps they did, and the compromise was to axe Santa and keep the tree.

Granted neither of these symbols are Christian in origin, and were simply created or adopted to help spread bring more people (and their money) to the churches.
posted by terrapin at 12:02 PM on November 28, 2001

Obviously it's a covert operation by radical Christians (those "non-Christian families" are just red herrings), hell-bent on reminding the world that it's not about the presents.

Here's hoping they don't get very far... I sorta like it being about the presents :D
posted by Sapphireblue at 12:10 PM on November 28, 2001

some crazy religious reason

like being Jewish? It seems to me to be less of a stretch to claim that a lit up tree could just be a holiday symbol
[pagan, whatever] while Santa seems to really drive home the "okay everyone let's shop to celebrate the birth of our savior!" message. Or maybe the tree was a foregone conclusion and Santa was squashable. I think people hate Santa the same way a lot of people hate clowns.
posted by jessamyn at 12:28 PM on November 28, 2001

Carol Anne, who seemed to think I was blowing smoke in another thread, wrote: Global Ridicule Extinguishes Montgomery's Anti-Smoking Bill.

From the selfsame article: Duncan said in his veto message. "Upon further consideration, however, it has become clear that the tobacco smoke provisions will be nothing more than a tool to be used in squabbles between neighbors, and that significant resources will be required to address these complaints."

Nice to be proven right.

Now back to our regularly scheduled thread: The Santa Clause controversey.
posted by RavinDave at 12:53 PM on November 28, 2001

But since it is Santa being banned and not the other Christian holiday symbol (the tree)...
The christmas tree has pagan origins.

It's not an exclusively christian symbol. I know of plenty of jewish and moslim and zoroastrian families that put up christmas trees. It syncretism at its best.
posted by dcgartn at 1:00 PM on November 28, 2001

that town really sucks.

i hope its citizens mysteriously dissappear....

like that one town back when america was just being settled by forieners from the East....

anyone know what im talking about?
posted by Satapher at 1:02 PM on November 28, 2001

posted by jessamyn at 1:10 PM on November 28, 2001

what does it mean to "ban Santa"? if someone chose to show up at the lighting in a red suit and fake beard he would be arrested?

i really think this drudge report is being creative in it's reporting (forgive my newbie-ness ... is this why i read so much anti-drudge stuff here) ... the cigarette thing was not about 'banning' smoking in homes either (tho i was against the measure).

that town really sucks.
that's come kinda stupid joke right? you can say the council sucks...but kensington is a great place. (howdy terrapin, how 'bout that chris wilcox eh?...can't wait 'til we kick duke's ass this year.)
posted by danOstuporStar at 1:18 PM on November 28, 2001

I could imagine that because a tree could be deemed a unified symbol of 'the holidays' whereas Santa is more along the lines of that one Jesus holiday.

I feel that way. I don't mind trees decorated, because you could decorate a tree with blue lights and call it a Haunukkah Tree, or something else.

(And what the said was that Santa wouldn't help light the tree with the mayor, not that no one could dress as Santa, as I am sure some wiseass will.)
posted by benjh at 1:34 PM on November 28, 2001

my ass is very wise, benjh, thanks for noticing. not if only i could get some of that wisdom to migrate north.
posted by danOstuporStar at 1:39 PM on November 28, 2001

the compromise was to axe Santa and keep the tree.

Man, someone sure was confused if that's true! Axes are for cutting down trees, not Santa.
posted by kindall at 1:40 PM on November 28, 2001

How does Santa is his current form offend Jews?

if by "in his current form" you mean "all in my face from October until January with resultant gentle chiding from well-meaning folks telling me that Christmas is a secular holiday and why don't I just lighten up and enjoy it unless I just really WANT to hate Christmas" then my answer is this...

I don't celebrate Christmas and I would like that to be a valid personal and political choice without people having their feelings hurt by my not wanting to celebrate it, or explain to me why my set of choices is misguided. If Christmas is about Christianity, then it's not my religion. If it's about shopping, that is also not my religion. I don't mind Santa in a general sense, or present giving, or eggnog, but freedom of religion isn't just about also putting up a menorah and/or a kwanzaa log in the town square during December, it's also about not sponsoring religious holidays with tax dollars. If Christmas isn't about Christianity, then we should move it to a different day [the day after T'giving comes to mind] and declare that American Day of Shopping and then the Christians can celebrate the birth of Jesus in peace and the shoppers can stop telling me that Christmas is a secular holiday. Just because the original holiday has been bastardized beyond all recognition doesn't mean that it's now officially everyone's holiday, or that it's not Christian in [recent] origin and still Christian to many people's minds.
posted by jessamyn at 2:53 PM on November 28, 2001

Isn't it a bit early for a chrisamas post?
posted by worldsystema at 3:22 PM on November 28, 2001

posted by worldsystema at 3:23 PM on November 28, 2001

So, Montgomery County was only blowin' smoke all along.
posted by MAYORBOB at 3:38 PM on November 28, 2001

Santa doesn't have a darn thing to do with Christianity-just like chocolate bunnies have nothing to do with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I am still wondering what on earth was so objectionable about Santa that he had to go -but yet the tree stayed...

This is so stupid.
posted by bunnyfire at 8:06 PM on November 28, 2001

Santa has everything to do with Christianity. In fact, he has everything to do with everything, because practically every major culture on the planet has a chance at the slice of the Santa pie. ...What? Was that link too colorful or poorly formatted for you? Let's try this one. Or maybe something that looks vaguely like an encyclopedia article would suit your fancy? The point is, Santa is synonymous with "the season of giving" just as Jesus Christ is synonymous with Christ's Mass. It's a gathering of people to celebrate the Christ Child. That's Christmas. If you ain't Christian, you celebrate at your own risk.

But don't feel left out, because odds are a celebration you do believe in does exist somewhere around this time of the year.

The germans call him "Kris Kringle" which is a variant on the words Christ and Kinder; "Christ Child." Another alter ego of good old Santa is "Saint Nicholas" the patron saint of giving: a catholic incarnation. There's also countless other variants on the Santa story. He's a legend. The really neat thing about legends is you can make up anything you want and apply it to the legend, tell your kids, theoretically they'll tell their kids and so on. If you want, you can tell your kids that secretly Saint Nick was a spy for satan infiltrating the Roman Catholic Church. Hell, there's some Protestant Christian Fundamentalists who would agree with you.

We don't know enough about these two families in question, because the reporter reporting it (Greta Kreuz I believe) didn't do her homework and talk directly to them, or we'd have more information. My guess is the two families don't believe in lying to their kids, with which I wholeheartedly agree. When you get right down to it, that is what Santa Claus has become today: a lie. It's like telling kids a fairy will come and replace your baby teeth with coinage. It's silly. Especially in an age where a seven year old and click around on the Web a bit, educate him/herself and learn "ain't nuthin' at the north pole but oil, ice and polar bears."

Oh, the legend of Santa is based loosely on actual historically documented accounts, provided of course you believe in the sources. There was a Saint Nicholas at one time. Personally I find his miracles rather circumspect. And practically every society in the world has some kind of festival or celebration that centers around the winter solstice, anywhere from December 6th to January 6th. Actually December 25th was the Roman Catholic Church's attempt to galvanize all the parties of its followers around the eleventh century (give or take a century) into one celebration under one faith. It's an attempt to coerce or persuade the masses to celebrate under the same banner. The banner of the "One True God."

I'll celebrate it in my way. You celebrate it in yours. If some small town in America chooses to delete Santa from their celebration, that's their trip. Let them, that's what America's about.

My concern is it was just two families. Didn't the entire town get a say in whether or not Santa was gonna show? Just how big is this town? If the majority was overruled by a vocal minority, that'd be my beef with Kensington. Two families alone? If they don't celebrate Christmas anyway, of course they're excluded from Christmas celebrations. That's their choice.

That'd be like me going to someone else's birthday party and going, "oh but it's against my beliefs to celebrate the day we were born. It's just another day. So can we can keep the birthday cake since I do believe in eating, but can we not invite the person whose day of birth we're celebrating? She makes me uncomfortable." It's silly. If they don't wanna participate they can stay home. No one's putting a gun to their head. Anyway, if I ever decide to quit smoking. I know now where to move.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:18 AM on November 29, 2001

I don't understand people being offended by santa claus when they could use their energy to rally against rape, domestic violence, homicide, eating disorders, drugs, pedophilia, child abuse, scam artists, drunk driving, poverty, incest, homelessness, STDs, teen prostitution, child porn, and world hunger.
posted by Modem Ovary at 12:08 PM on November 29, 2001


As far as I am concerned, as a Christian, Santa has nothing to do with Christianity, and what I hold to be the true meaning of Christmas. In fact, the whole idea about rewarding kids for being good or bad completely undermines God's grace through Christ which was given to us who were not at all deserving of it.

Santa might have everything to do with Christmas as it is celebrated by most people today- but he has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity.
posted by Danielle_T at 1:28 PM on November 29, 2001

The rest of the story: "On Oct. 29, Kensington's four-member elected Town Council unanimously approved a plan to alter the town's annual tree-lighting ceremony because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Instead of Christmas carols and red and green lights, they would have what one town flier calls a "celebration of the American spirit through lights and music," with patriotic songs and red, white and blue lights. The council also decided that Santa Claus would not be included in the program, after two residents suggested at the meeting that Santa did not fit in a patriotic celebration."
posted by Carol Anne at 9:15 AM on November 30, 2001

Santa seems to me to have as much to do with Christianity as the Bunny does with Jesus coming back from the dead, as in - none.

More importantly, I am upset that my home county of Montgomery is coming across as an area of out of sync lefties. Damn it, wack job leftys! Stay in California and Vermont, where you're at home! :)
posted by owillis at 10:30 AM on December 3, 2001

Washington Post: Santa Has the Last Ho, Ho, Ho: An Abundance of Saint Nicks Puts Kensington Furor to Rest. It seemed to draw out the best and worst in people. At one point, a teenager in a Santa suit was tackled by police after he pulled down an anti-Semitic sign two men had erected. The youth was cheered by the crowd as police pulled him away, pursued by the boy's irate father. Some bystanders shouted "No Santa, No Peace," while others held signs that read, "Yes, Kensington, there is a Santa Claus."
posted by Carol Anne at 12:58 PM on December 3, 2001

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