Perceived War on Christmas Sparks Backlash


Madison Choi

Some conservatives claim there is a war on Christmas because “Happy Holidays” is becoming a more frequently used term.

Christmas is apparently at war. The culprit: the phrase “Happy Holidays.”

“I do believe that there is a war on Christmas,” said Chaminade senior Jessica Roberts. “However, I am not sure whether the war is really about Christmas or Christmas is just something else added to the list of things people can be offended at and argue about and try to control.”

The perceived war on Christmas has become significantly more debated within the last couple of years, popularized by Donald Trump’s campaign promise to bring back the phrase “Merry Christmas” and do away with the more general and inclusive “Happy Holidays.” Staunch conservative, Christian Americans argue that by ignoring the religious origins of the holiday, the country is losing its identity and traditional values.

 “I think people have a problem with Christmas because of its religious origins,” Roberts said. “That being said, Christmas itself has morphed from the day Jesus was born into a multi-billion dollar materialized holiday.”

Starbucks has been a large target for accusations of secularizing and commercializing Christmas. Patrons of the coffee company anticipate the reveal of the holiday cups each year, normally clad in symbols associated with Christmas. However, the plain red cup released in 2015 sparked controversy and outrage.

One former pastor named Joshua Feuerstein took to Facebook on Nov. 5, 2015, and claimed that Starbucks hates Jesus, which is why it created its plain red cup.

The vision behind the simple red cup was to be more inclusive of all backgrounds and stories. Instead of focusing on the joy of Christmas, Starbucks has since attempted to allow for the celebration of other religious holidays and promote the general kindness and love associated with the season.

This year on Nov. 1, Starbucks released a video previewing the holiday cup. Out of the many scenes depicted in the video, one specific image of two female drawings holding hands elicited polarizing responses. Supporters of LGBTQ rights praised the company’s bold choice and conservatives criticized the secularization of Christmas by including an image contrasting so distinctly with Christianity.

“I find that the holidays that come around in December bring people together for the most part,” said Adrienne Potter, a sophomore nursing major. “However I understand that politics can create mood swings when directed towards sensitive topics such as religious holidays.”

Traditionally, America has recognized Christmas as the main religious holiday of the year. Other religious holidays in December like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are not nearly as widely recognized. But complaints from the religious groups that celebrate these holidays have failed to make headlines like Christmas proponents have.

The main point of contention that engendered the war on Christmas is the phrase “Happy Holidays.” Trump attacked this phrase in his presidential campaign and has since continued to inflate the alleged issue of the war on Christmas.

“I told you that we would be saying Merry Christmas again, right?” said Trump at a GOP tax overhaul meeting on Nov. 29.

The president seems convinced that “Happy Holidays” is an assault on Christianity as opposed to a gesture of respect to all religions and beliefs.

“I think I prefer ‘Happy Holidays’ because it is inclusive of all holidays,” said Nicole Sagapolutele, a CUH junior. “It does not impose Christmas on those who don’t celebrate it, and I just feel it makes more sense since Christmas is technically one day, not an entire month.”