Opinion

There’s room for both Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

A barista reaches for a red paper cup as more, with cardboard liners already attached, line the top of an espresso machine at a Seattle Starbucks coffee shop Tuesday. It's as red as Santa's suit, a poinsettia blossom or a loud Christmas sweater. Yet Starbucks' minimalist new holiday coffee cup has set off complaints that the chain is ‘making war’ on Christmas. (AP)
A barista reaches for a red paper cup as more, with cardboard liners already attached, line the top of an espresso machine at a Seattle Starbucks coffee shop Tuesday. It's as red as Santa's suit, a poinsettia blossom or a loud Christmas sweater. Yet Starbucks' minimalist new holiday coffee cup has set off complaints that the chain is ‘making war’ on Christmas. (AP) AP

It’s beginning to look a lot like, ah . . .

a) Black Friday backlash

b) Christmas sensitivity culture wars

c) Red Cup rage at Starbucks

d) Retail mania and remorse

e) All of the above

The holiday season is as innocent and sacred as ever. But some of the issues cropping up? Not so much.

As far as I can tell there is an open lane for anybody and everybody to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas however they want. What could go wrong with pausing to be thankful two weeks from today? What’s the harm in exchanging gifts whether you approach the season from a secular or religious on-ramp?

Yes, public institutions and buildings have to recognize certain religious expressions are not universal. But the traditions we practice and uphold everywhere else in this free country are ours to define and celebrate.

I grew up in a faith-based household where these days were enjoyed through a spiritual filter. We were taught by a mother raised in a religious orphanage to thank God for our blessings and recognize the birth of Christ as the focal point of Christmas. My father made exotic pancakes, buckshot-surprise side dishes from hunting trips and related stories about growing up in the Great Depression and longing for home while serving oversees in World War II.

And then the effects of Turkey on Thanksgiving and goose gravy at Christmas sent us all into food comas.

If retailers ask employees to come in to work on Thanksgiving evening so they can essentially give away some merchandise for little or no profit — well, that is their business decision. Some people end up having to work on holidays. A couple of my kids are in the culinary and retail fields and so we rarely get to share holidays with them.

Black Friday shopping. I won’t be there. I’ll be trying to get my work done so I can catch some of the Iowa-Nebraska game at the end of what has been a magical season for my Hawkeyes.

If REI wants to give employees Thanksgiving off — and Friday so they can go out and play: REI #OPTOUTSIDE — so be it.

Those red cups at Starbucks sans snowflakes and seasonal greetings? I am not getting the jitters that these and other efforts are stealth campaigns to kill Christmas.

Though we all can conjure legitimate grievances about how the holidays are playing out in the modern world, there’s still plenty of room to enjoy them in a way that suits us individually — even if we think things are out of balance.

And some of us do. Last week in a “Today’s Question” we asked folks if “Christmas creep” was bothering them: stores putting out merchandise as early as Halloween and accelerating the commercial aspects of Christmas even before Thanksgiving.

Here’s what you said:

Dan Tompsett Every time a Christmas tree gets lit up before December an elf eats a baby reindeer.

Deb Bergh Way too early, shouldn’t even be mentioned in the media until Thanksgiving Day! A day NO ONE SHOULD BE WORKING.

Mark Griggs The only thing I’ll do Christmas-related before Thanksgiving is get the shopping out of the way.

Gary Compton It starts way before Halloween now; I am sick of it by the time Thanksgiving gets here.

Jeff Glyn-Jones Yes it’s waaaaaaay too early. Let’s eat the bird first.

Bonnie Shoemaker Every year we see crap like this to rile people up — next you will be asking if people believe there is a war on Christmas — and fools will start ranting about how they are planning to say Merry Christmas no matter what they are greeted with . . .

Robert Joan Clark People have dismissed the real meaning of Christmas. It is not about shopping.

Adam Bates If you really want to talk about a season starting too early, how about the presidential campaign season? Other countries take six weeks max and it seems we’ve already been talking about it for six months with a full year to go! Gaaah! Stop!

Adams County Sheriff Update

Tuesday in a Statesman Editorial our board had expressed the hope someone from law enforcement could meet with the community and give some kind of update about what was happening in the investigation of the shooting death of rancher Jack Yantis during an incident involving Adams County Sheriff’s deputies Nov. 1 just north of Council.

With not a whole lot to gain other than to try and address a traumatized community with a lot of questions, Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman still found the mettle to do just that. Though he had no new information from Idaho State Police investigators, he shed a little more light on the background and training of deputies — and made a connection with those at a town hall meeting at a church by saying “I come before you with a heavy heart.”

He recognized that the pain of what had transpired is exacerbated by the methodical process to gather evidence. When investigators can finally piece together what transpired after Yantis came to the scene on U.S. 95 to help take care of a situation where one of his bulls had been hit by a car, Zollman promised he would share the findings with the community.

Since patience must prevail in this process, Zollman’s move to face the community and establish an ongoing dialogue was a move in the right direction.

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