Editors’ Note: A warm and fuzzy welcome to P.J. Shannon, a new member of the PD crew. Play nice!

Much to the shock and amazement of nearly everyone I know (or at least my mother and the elderly gentleman that works at Wawa), another year “has just flown by” and “Christmas is just around the corner”. Despite the fact that December 25th, 2010, will actually take place on the exact rotation of the Earth that was determined at the dawn of time, most people treat the onset of the holiday season as though it has been surgically uprooted from the calendar and dropped in between August 10th and 11th.

One thing that can be counted on at this time of year is that someone somewhere is accusing someone else of “missing the true meaning” of Christmas, which apparently is the case if one chooses to include those of other faiths with the formerly innocent greeting of “Happy Holidays”. Christmas, it seems, transcends all other holidays and dare not be lumped in with Hanukkah or “the one black people just made up”. No no no. “Happy Holidays” is simply persecution of Christians, not inclusion of all faiths, so it would seem.

The “true meaning” of Christmas, however, has long since been absent from the manner in which we celebrate the season. It has essentially become a time to over indulge, sleep late, be envious of expensive gifts, and somehow or another commit the other four deadly sins that I can’t think of off the top of my head but inherently know I’m guilty of. Those most vocal about keeping “Christ” in “Christmas” haven’t seen the inside of a church all year, as Sunday morning services typically conflict with Saturday night’s wicked PBR buzz. It has become a topic appropriated by those who thrive on divisiveness and feel our country is under siege by unknown forces (or maybe just Muslims) that aim to first dismantle our perceived collective faith.

As a born again atheist, I guess it really isn’t my call as to what the true meaning of Christmas should be. It seems though that the Jesus Christ I was taught of was more about tolerance and acceptance than his modern day disciples may like to believe. Although using the word Christmas should not be seen as a politically incorrect slight at other faiths, I feel that the proper, all inclusive greeting of “Happy Holidays” is now viewed as the salutation of choice for liberal communists that hate God. Like seemingly everything else in our current overly hostile discourse, it has become an issue of black and white, when the answer nearly always can be found in the gray.

The world is now full of hypersensitive crybabies, with those at both ends of the nonsensical “Christmas/Happy Holidays” debate leading the way. Neither salutation offends me and I don’t believe in any of it. I think it’s more about attempting to discredit and malign those with which one has determined are “on the other team” politically. Whatever the “meaning of Christmas” is, that’s certainly not it.

At least we can all agree that mall traffic is the worst. And remember, whoever said “it’s the thought that counts” gave an entire generation license to not put any thought into the gifts they buy.