by Joel Tscherne | 12/14/2009 07:00:00 AM
Every year around this time, certain media outlets (particularly those named after a certain animal) complain about how some people are trying to do away with Christmas. It's also the time of the year when I re-read one of my favorite books.
Tom Flynn, editor of Free Inquiry, published The Trouble With Christmas in 1993. The book deals with the problem of a religious holiday in a supposedly secular society. Flynn reviews the history of Christmas, showing how its current "traditions" have little to do with how it was celebrated in the past (ask yourself, for example, why anyone was working on Christmas in The Christmas Carol). He also reviews many Christmas symbols and shows their actual origins. Flynn also presents a list of what those who are unhappy with its celebration should do.
While he clearly has a point of view, Flynn presents a great deal of great information that can be used to counteract any argument from those who want us to believe that they have a right to celebrate the holiday as an American and world-wide tradition.
There are also a number of good audio interviews of Flynn available from various podcasts. My favorite is from Skepticality, the podcast of Skeptic magazine. Have a listen if you have time, and maybe feel a little better if you are one of those who don't celebrate the holiday.