Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Enjoy celebrating your own way

Enjoy celebrating your own way

(My Clovis News Journal column for December 19, 2014)

Maybe I’m sappy, but I love Christmas and the festive atmosphere surrounding it.

If you do too, and like for things to come together the way you hope they will, be grateful for voluntary individual actions. Part of the magic of Christmas is its voluntary nature and its decentralization.

The things which go into a big celebration can be overwhelming. Yet, somehow, it all comes together- or at least most of it does- because everyone is responsible for their part of the big picture. Everyone has their traditions and preferences, and there is no one person responsible for making sure each individual gets to do what they enjoy- each of us does our own thing with those who choose to join us. Those who would rather not celebrate, or like to celebrate in their own way, are not forced to join in. The unexpected crops up but on the whole it works, even if one person drops the ball.

Do you believe it would go as well if government took over the observance of Christmas? Ignore for a moment the First Amendment- just as government usually does anyway. Imagine the Federal Department of Christmas, and how it would run things if other government programs are any example of what to expect.

First of all, if government controlled it, Christmas would be mandatory. You'd pay for the celebration, public and private, at inflated prices, whether you wanted to participate or not. Gifts would be assigned according to what some bureaucrat has calculated everyone should want, and depending on whose favors and campaign contributions are due to be repaid. No real choice would be given in the matter, beyond a patronizing "choose between option 'A' and option 'B'". Other winter solstice holidays would be tolerated, but observing one of those wouldn't excuse you from supporting Christmas, with your allegiance and your tax dollars. You could be paying twice to have the celebration you wanted.

Imagine the red tape at having something as large and complicated as Christmas centrally planned. You'd have bureaucrats responsible for millions of families each, making sure all the proper forms had been filled out. Multiple times. Santa Claus would be a bureaucrat with all the good humor of any other overwhelmed government employee. Do you really think that would be better?

But, maybe you think a politicized Christmas would be great. Maybe you believe everyone should celebrate Christmas your way, and don't mind having it imposed just as I describe. Now, substitute some other culture's holiday for Christmas and see how you like that.

Be happy you can celebrate Christmas- or not- as you choose, keeping familial peace with voluntary compromise and cooperation.



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