Do you remember the part in "It's A Wonderful Life"? where the angel Clarence Odbody takes George Bailey around Bedford Falls to show him what it would be like if George weren't alive? Without George, Bedford Falls has turned into Pottersville, and it's horrible. It's mostly a slum with Main Street dominated by pawn shops and sleazy bars. Everything is crass and seedy, there is no spirit left in the town. Everyone is angry and depressed, and worst of all Christmas has gone away and it doesn't snow anymore.
Well, it's already started. Here in Vancouver, decorations have gone up in all the shops and malls, and the store fronts have painted-on signs wishing everyone "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy Holidays". Magazines in the supermarkets have their "holiday" issues on display, and commercials on television are advertising "holiday" gifts. Well, first of all, it's way to early for my liking. And second, there is no reference - anywhere - to Christmas. It feels like Pottersville. Everything feels crass and seedy, and not at all like Christmas.
What has happened to Christmas? Why have we allowed it to be taken away from us? I have celebrated Christmas all my life; not "holiday", but Christmas. It is a tradition with deep roots in my culture. But, in order to be all-inclusive, rather than inviting other cultures into sharing our celebration of Christmas, we have homogenized it down to something that we hardly recognize anymore. How the hell did Christmas become politically incorrect, and why have we permitted that to happen?
It feels like Pottersville!
In Vancouver we celebrate all the cultures. We celebrate Chinese New Years with a wonderful parade and all kinds of parties and dinners; we have two large parades celebrating Vaisakhi, the Sikh holiday; we celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which is the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting. During Chanukah our Vancouver Art Gallery erects a large menorah and the lighting of the menorah has become an annual tradition.
Nowhere does anyone mention that dreaded "C" word - Christmas. Nowhere!
How did this happen? If other cultures, in the spirit of all-inclusiveness, are permitted to celebrate their traditions openly and with joy, why are we not permitted to celebrate Christmas? Not "holiday" - Christmas!
This year I vow I am going to visit every mall and every store, armed with my can of spray paint, and the paint the word
wherever I find that offensive word "holiday". And then it won't feel so much like Pottersville anymore.