5:18 PM EST, December 13, 2011
It's been about a decade since the so-called "War on Christmas" began.
Obviously, Christmas has been ruined ever since.
Yes, ever since people and stores started saying things like "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," true Christmas-lovers like myself have felt persecuted and put-upon.
We have been prisoners of the holiday war, unable to adequately deck our halls or sleep in heavenly peace.
But good news, fellow captives: The Florida Legislature is ready to rescue us.
A new bill from State Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, would force every school district in Florida to rename "Winter Break" as "Christmas break."
Hark the Herald angels! This is the Christmas miracle we've been looking for.
Forget the budget shortfall, unemployment and everything else wrong in Florida. This is the bold action we need from fearless leaders — Senate Bill 1136, "Requiring school districts refer to the period during which school is not in session and which includes Christmas Day as Christmas Break rather than Winter Break."
Joy to the World!
Wise's bill is almost as inspired as last year's push from Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, to make "Merry Christmas" the official state greeting on Dec. 25 … another truly needed piece of legislation.
Nothing says vision and leadership more than a nonbinding resolution on holiday salutations.
Perhaps you think I'm being flip.
Of course not. The "War on Christmas" has certainly taken a toll on my family..
Why, I tear up just thinking about the day my beautiful daughter came running with a plateful of sugar cookies.
"Look Daddy!" she exclaimed. "I baked you Christmas cookies!"
I immediately shushed her with a firm tone and stern look.
"Honey, you know we're not allowed to call them Christmas cookies anymore. They're solstice circles."
Then there was the time in the car when my young son exclaimed: "I love putting up our Christmas tree!"
I slammed on the brakes."Good gravy, son. Haven't I told you we can no longer call it a Christmas tree? We're buying a December timber."
And so it went in the Maxwell house. Bing Crosby and Ray Conniff were silenced. The Moravian star was unplugged. We stopped lighting advent candles and saying our Christmas prayers at church.
Sound ridiculous? That's because it is.
We still do all those things — and say "Merry Christmas" to boot.
This so-called "war" hasn't affected me one bit.
I continue to be one of the most Christmas-loving chaps you'll ever meet — at home, at church and with my friends.
It doesn't affect me at all if Macy's decides to have a "holiday sale" instead of a Christmas one.
Or if schools hold "winter break."
Why? Because I'm sane. And sane people don't obsess over such things.
They don't let phony "wars" affect their own celebration of the season.
If you go into a fit of rage every time you hear someone say "Happy Holidays," you've got bigger issues than greeting choices.
I don't need government to sanction my season or beliefs. Nor do I want it.
In fact, this whole debate is so silly, we could ignore it — except that guys like Wise are filing bills about it.
And Wise isn't just some random legislator. He's actually the chair of the state senate's education committee. And right now, the education issue that has him worked up is the name of "Winter Break."
Please, politicians: Just do your job.
Stop wasting your time. And ours.
Focus on the multitudes of real problems our state is facing.
Oh, and one last thing: Merry Christmas.
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