WASHINGTON — Around Thanksgiving time, I noticed portents of this Christmas season being different. I noticed it when people unbidden would wish me Happy Thanksgiving. There seemed to be a note of exultance in their greeting. Not everyone would say "Happy Thanksgiving," but enough did that it got me to wondering. Was this Thanksgiving different, and if so, would this Christmas be any different?
Over the years, extending wishes of a Merry Christmas to someone has increasingly seemed vaguely confrontational, especially to a stranger. It is somewhat like holding the door for a woman. One holds the door and wonders, what comes next? A rebuke? A tip? A smile of gratitude?
The same goes for "Merry Christmas." On occasion it opens one to hostility, and who has time for hostility? Better it is to wish an acquaintance — or even a non-acquaintance — with the ever popular and somewhat corporate “Happy Holidays.” That way one could be including Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, New Year's and who knows, maybe even Halloween. Maybe there is an Islamic holiday that can be thrown in. I guess you could say that “Happy Holidays” is nonjudgmental, even meaningless. Who could argue with making a meaningless gesture at Christmastime? Even a sour atheist might applaud.
But as I have said, this year was different, and I noticed portents of it about the time we sat down to devour our Thanksgiving bird. People — even people on the street — seemed eager to wish me a happy Thanksgiving, and then came Christmas. People were exultant! The old greeting was back! “Merry Christmas,” said whites to blacks and blacks to everyone. You know that black Americans are particularly Christian. I was wished “Merry Christmas” by a black TSA guy, a taxi driver — everyone. Even a Pakistani, I think, wished me a merry Christmas.
I blame it all on President-elect Donald Trump. I stand with Hillary Clinton -- wherever she has fled — John Podesta, the whole Democratic National Committee and all the other crybabies. Trump brought back “Merry Christmas.” But unlike the crybabies, I am thankful that he did. I think he started it during a campaign stop in Burlington, Iowa. “I'm a great Christian,” he said to a roaring crowd. He added: “If I become president, they're going to be saying 'Merry Christmas' at every store. ... You can leave ‘Happy Holidays’ at the door.” Well, he is going to be president, and “Merry Christmas” is no longer controversial.
Some of us in the hot-air business came to believe that the current administration has come to hate America. I think that on some level that is true. “Leading from behind” and deserting our allies are symptomatic. President Barack Obama did that just last week. Adopting terms such as “Happy Holidays” and making “Merry Christmas” a marginal term is another symptom. Recall, if you will, Michelle Obama saying that not until her husband’s first presidential campaign did she feel proud of her country. I cannot think of another person who hopes to reside in the White House saying such a thing.
Now we have a very different kind of family setting up shop at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Already, Trump has changed the tenor of discussion not just on important things like our relations with Israel and our possible relations with Russia but on matters closer to home, such as the way we talk about what is a major holy day for the majority of the American people. Christmas never should have become a celebration that all Americans could fail to acknowledge. If the anti-Americans were to eliminate Christmas, what would they put in its place? Black Friday? Is that a happy day?