As I point out frequently, I live in Canada, and grew up in a small town. I come from a mixed background, and grew up celebrating both Catholic and Jewish holidays*. I've also had to work jobs that involve customer service. One of those was even in a boarding school cafeteria. As such, I have seen "first hand" what the war on Christmas actually looks like, even in the context of "What it's doing to our schools".
Growing up, I would see Christmas lights and Christmas decorations and signs that screamed MERRY CHRISTMAS and hear Christmas songs everywhere I went from November to January. I used to adore every minute of it, but I wondered, why were there no Hanukkah decorations? Why was half of who I was celebrated loudly and publicly, while the other half wasn't acknowledged, and even more rarely even remotely understood? Why did my teachers get nervous, and why was I mocked as a little girl by my peers (and sometimes their parents) when asking "What about Chanukah"?
I was a kid. I didn't understand things like minority oppression, I didn't understand that White Christian Straight Men were the default, I didn't understand antisemitism, bigotry, and privilege even as they all affected me. As I got older I found out the reason I saw no Hanuka decorations was because those houses tended to get vandalized. Like the synagog was several times over the years. I came to understand that being able to celebrate your culture and your religion openly was a privilege, not a right like I had thought. I realized the privileged people, on top of having no idea what sort of privilege they had, felt entitled to shoving their holiday and their tradition down everyone's throats. It's tradition, after all, and heaven forbid you mess with tradition. They would seize up and get panicky if you asked for change.
They didn't want to make room for other holidays and traditions. When token efforts were made, it was always with a smirk as they mocked the "Hernikah candle sticks" and sneered at "Jew beanies" (actual examples I have heard from adults). It wasn't safe to try to make space for our own culture in the main stream, and they didn't want to change theirs to be more safe, let alone inclusive, for us. It didn't matter what harm it did, it was their right to celebrate their own holiday in every way they wanted! They think if they say it is a right to practice and celebrate your culture and religion openly enough times, it will be true. They're willfully blind to how hostile it is for so many others. I used to believe that it was obliviousness, not willful ignorance, but when I see people get red faced and angry in discussions about it and change it back to their precious holiday being under attack so many times I no longer can. It is willful, deliberate, malicious ignorance, and nothing else.
This, by the way, is all the "War on Christmas" is. People who don't celebrate Christmas wanting to make room for their traditions that fall at the same time or year and do so safely, or people who are just exhausted of having to deal with the two month marathon of non-stop Christmas propaganda. Which is to say: there is no war on Christmas. There is a war on equality and inclusion.
Show of hands, how many among you wish people "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" for what ever your reason? Now, show of hands, how many of you, when cheerfully wishing people joy, have acidly been told "It's merry Christmas" and had people demand you change your greeting**? All the same hands, huh? Who's ever been told to wish someone happy holidays instead of Merry Christmas? Because I have never had it go the other way. I use both, because I can't safely always use "Happy Holidays" though I die a little bit every time I do. I have never seen a cashier get reamed for wishing someone a "Merry Christmas" even in a school, and I've been watching and listening and waiting for five years. Never have I seen someone get told off for saying "Merry Christmas" only "Happy Holidays". We make it hard for people to be inclusive, and sometimes make it hostile for people trying.
People feel so entitled to have their culture catered to that they fight to protect that catering. They protect it by starting fights with someone offering a simple, kind greeting that they think will threaten the status quo. They protect it by silencing people trying to speak up when their own culture is being pushed out. They protect it by making other people too scared to put a Star of David in their window at Hanukkah because someone might break the window and scare the kids. They protect it by running propaganda saying that no, they're the little guys, and all those mean old ethnic people are threatening their way of life by celebrating their holiday, too!
The war on Christmas boils down to privileged people having their privilege challenged. I get it, no one likes being told that they're blindly causing harm simply by being born into a certain group of people and it's a normal human response to get defensive and double down when you're told that. I'm white, I've been chewed up over the guilt of my own privilege before before too. I get it. But you know what? I don't care anymore. I don't care that you feel icky. I care that there are people who suffer, who are mocked, who have their homes vandalized, who feel unsafe being able to practice and celebrate their culture and holidays because there's so little room for them because Christmas takes up so much. Then they have the gall to claim there's a war on it.
*I use all Jewish holidays and examples because that is my own lived experience. I just want to acknowledge that Hanukkah isn't the only one, and I'm still talking from a position of privilege.
**I opt to smile sweetly and wish them a happy Chanukah when they do this.