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Ceasefire on the Yuletide bickering

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To a one, we at the YES! Weekly offices celebrate the holiday of Christmas this time of year. We see it as a time to gather with loved ones, to spread good cheer and rejoice in the spirit of brotherhood that should be pervading us all.

But just because we all celebrate Christmas, we still acknowledge our brothers and sisters who celebrate Hanukkah, which starts this year on Dec. 25, or Kwanzaa, which begins on Dec. 26, or Winter Solstice (Dec. 21), or Tet (Jan. 29). We also include those who celebrate the holidays by becoming couch gluttons and watching endless hours of football and feelgood movies on television.

Celebrate the way you want, we say. What’s important is that we open ourselves to the general feelings of fellowship and generosity that abound this time of year.

Which is why we wish the proponents in the so-called ‘“War on Christmas’” would call a cease fire like the impromptu Christmas Truce in 1914, during World War I, when British, French and German troops jointly celebrated peace on earth in a no man’s land of frozen mud.

We blame this on Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly and others of his ilk, and we want him to give it a rest.

O’Reilly started his campaign against Christmas on Nov. 29 ‘— he had the decency to wait until five days after Thanksgiving before declaring war on ‘“a legal assault by the ACLU combined with the media that blatantly promotes secularism’… convincing some Americans that the words Merry Christmas are inappropriate while celebrating the national holiday of Christmas!’”

The exclamation point is his, not ours.

He called for a boycott of stores that did not use the word ‘“Christmas’” in their seasonal promotions, a boycott with which he later denied associating and one that had the effect of changing store policy at Target and Sears, most notably.

The boycott did force a change in corporate policy at two national retail stores. We are unsure as to whether it actually enhanced the national spirit of Christmas, the purpose for which it was intended.

But some of the blame also resides with the secularists themselves, particularly the ones in the Dodgeville, Wis. school district where the students at the Ridgewood Elementary School sang altered lyrics to the song ‘“Silent Night’” (an example: ‘“Winter winds whirl and bite’”).

Did Christmas get the heck out of Dodgeville? Of course not.

It’s entirely appropriate to sing Christmas carols at Christmastime, just as it is to sing songs for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa at this time of year, and we think that the efforts of those who would drain the spirituality out of this holiday season are just as misguided as our boy O’Reilly.

So we would like for them to lay off as well.

After all’… it’s Christmas, or whatever, so drop your munitions and wave the white flags and cut the rest of us a break. You can get back to your bickering when the holidays are over.

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