This year, as part of its simultaneous rediscovery and denigration of all things ungodly, the New York Times Week in Review made the remarkable discovery that -- *gasp* -- atheists sometime put up Christmas trees. One can only assume that this festive decorating occurs in between biting the heads off babies and wallowing in the juices of personal self-loathing.
In true trickle-down-the-elite-media fashion NPR followed up the Times story with that hoariest of Holiday chestnuts, the "mixed faith" holiday celebration. "The Christmas Tree or the Menorah? Or both? For about 2.5 million families of mixed-faith marriages, the holidays are about respecting each other's traditions and balancing the needs of their faiths." Gee, no one has ever asked that one before.
All of this, of course, begs the question: what happens when you're part of a mixed "faith" household and that household's "mixed faith" is more a cultural mixture than anything religious (I won't let the "agn" word slip out here, but you're welcome to infer whatever you like) ... Should we expect ritual child sacrifice under the Hanukkah Bush? Or the molesting of defenseless farm animals?
I could just direct you to the blog of my friend Chris Fleisher for one answer. Or I could tell you that the first time I brought home a Christmas Tree (as a surprise) still probably ranks as one of the most romantic things I think I've ever done.
Or, I could leave you with some random best wishes from this solstice-y, globally-warmed Holiday season. May the time spent with your family bring out the best parts of spending time with family, not the worst. May your year ahead be better than the one you're leaving behind. Happy Hanukkah. Peace on Earth. And Merry Christmas.