The “War On Christmas” phrase is really a misnomer. The organized mounting of active complaints when any government or business entity makes anything other than a declaration of “Christmas” is really a War On Non-Christmas, an attempt to push all celebrations but Christian celebrations out of the public sphere.
It’s in this context that an old high school friend of mine declared today in a Facebook update:
Hey Farmville – it’s called a CHRISTMAS TREE, not a “holiday tree”!! What are you afraid of?
That’s right: the War on Non-Christmas has come to Farmville. Farmville is a fictional location, not a real one, an application on Facebook where people can plow fictional soil, plant fictional seeds and watch fictional plants grow. Among the fictional plants in the fictional location of Farmville is a fictional tree, a fir tree called a “holiday tree.”
And here’s the thing: if you’re going to be a stickler about the proper label for a fictional plant in a place that doesn’t actually exist, you’d be more accurate calling it a Holiday Tree than calling it a Christmas Tree. The pagan tradition of decorating evergreen trees to celebrate the Winter Solstice predates the Christian decoration of trees, a practice which is only a couple of hundred years old. It’s a pagan practice that has been ripped off by Christians, so really, it’s awfully nice of Farmville to the Christians to include the Christians under the Solstice Tree umbrella by not referring to it solely as a Solstice Tree but, more inclusively, as a “holiday tree.”
Those Americans who continue to insist that only their religious traditions be mentioned in catalogs and on television and in pretend farms on the internet are going to continue to be upset, because the stubborn reality is that we’re a nation of multiple diverse religious traditions, including that of no religion at all. There are multiple holidays at this time of year, including the seasonal holiday of the Solstice, the celebration of which is the origin of decorated trees. But you can have a tree for Christmas or Hanukkah or just for fun, too. I hope that whatever holiday you celebrate, yours is a happy one.