The Corner

Christmas Notes

Thanks to readers for much mail about Christmas (and related matters). Tell you something kind of funny. In a column or Corner item or something, I mentioned that many companies were referring to Christmas as the “Winter Holiday.” I got a few notes from Australia and New Zealand — from the Antipodes, if you like — saying, “Hey, isn’t that hemispherocentric, or something like that?”

A warning to our liberal masters, and would-be masters: When you undertake not to offend — or insist on non-offensiveness — you open yourself to yet more offenses.

I see that the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has handed out an Ebenezer Award and an Eggnog Toast. The Ebenezer Award went to the official in Philadelphia who ordered the removal of “Christmas” from the Christmas Market, to be replaced by “Holiday.” The Eggnog Toast went to the official who rescinded that Scroogey command.

Nice idea. (The awards, I mean. As well as the rescission.)

Some have said, “You just can’t find cards that say ‘Merry Christmas.’ It gets harder and harder.” I know. Kind of like trying to find products not made in China (for who’s to say whether they come from laogai, the gulag?). I gave up on the China front long ago. Shameful, I know. But have you ever tried to buy an umbrella not made in China? Also, globalization has done wonders for the average Chinese, gulag or no gulag. Kind of a thorny, upsetting issue.

I gave up on the “Merry Christmas” front too, where cards are concerned. I just get a pretty card that says “Season’s Greetings” or “Whass Happenin’ on the Holidays?” or whatever. Life’s too short to hunt down “Merry Christmas.”

Several sacks of mail on “There They Go A-Caroling.” NRO readers are extremely interesting and knowledgeable about music, as they are about everything else. Want to share something kind of fun with you. A reader basically asked whether it was okay not to like A Ceremony of Carols (the Britten work). He asked this kind of shyly and tremblingly.

My answer, Oh, of course! There are times when I appreciate that medieval spareness and bleakness and otherworldliness. At other times, I would rather put a bullet in my head than listen to it. I’ve skipped over it on many an album, believe me. Just did so the other day, I think.

Basically, it’s okay not to like anything — and you may find your tastes evolving as you go along. We all find some things appealing, other things less so (or not at all). What I don’t like is this: when other people try to make you feel bad for liking something, or not liking something. I always say (words to the effect of), “Blow it out your ear.” No offense, but I don’t really give a rip what others like or don’t like (most of the time). Maybe I’m just cocky in my own views.

Of course, this relates to politics, too. There are some who are personal-freedom-leaning. And some who are . . . not, or way not.

I’d better go. Thanks again for the mail, and sorry for my non-answering-ness. Major deadlines. Sort of playing hooky by writing this Corner note. Two days ago, participated in fantastic Cuban-American event in Greater Miami, held in part to honor Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, that battler for freedom who is retiring this year — but only from Congress. Look forward to telling you about the event, and Miami, in a column post-New Year’s. See you! Have a great one.


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