Having said that, here are some thoughts I've been thinking about the declawing of Christmas:
1. You didn't know it had claws, did you? Maybe it doesn't. (But it is the celebration of the human birth of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.) I'm pretty sure there was blood, at least. In spite of having some Roman Catholic sympathies, I'm not one, and I really think that Mary had a normal labour and there was blood. Although I have always enjoyed and probably always will enjoy Christmas trees and wreaths and pepparkakor, they don't particularly point to the reality of road-trips-via-donkey (or foot) and blood and dirt and naturally-scented animals. People get a little bent out of shape about the growing insipidity of Christmas, but it seems to me that, without the grit, it's always had the trappings to be insipid if we let it.
2. One day on one of my breaks I got in line to order and "mark out" a drink, and I asked for a "tall Christmas blend."
"A tall Xmas blend?" asked Kiran with a subtle tone of irony in his voice. (Yes, this is the same Kiran I drove home the other day. Please do not hold this against him. We actually had a chat in the car that day about whether I was "religious." It was interesting, but I don't feel I was particularly articulate.)
"No," I said. "Christmas blend."
I'm not really one to quibble about the whole "Xmas" thing. If people want to think they're neutralising the word, I can content myself with thinking about how "X" is the first Greek letter in "Christ." I don't feel like I need to argue about it, and frankly, if they're not celebrating Christ, why should they call it "Christmas"? However, I am celebrating Christ (or at least, I mean to--and I hope that's what I'm ultimately doing), and so I do not wish to be corrected for my use of the term--even when it's only in regard to coffee.
3. I also do not feel that I am selling out if I tell customers to "enjoy the holidays." Why would I wish someone a "Merry Christmas" if they don't celebrate it and/or celebrate something else? I do not suppose that by saying the words, "Merry Christmas" at someone I am magically converting them. And, as I have said before, if I wish to offend them, I'd rather do it in a context where we can discuss or argue about it almost immediately.
4. Christians in my neck of the woods seem to feel threatened by the fact that the big censorship trend now is to call Christmas trees "holiday trees." I join in the concern based on the fact that I do think it's censorship (I also think taking Oscar the Grouch off Sesame Street is censorship, though. Someone told me this was happening, although I have yet to find any documentation).
As I have said, I like Christmas trees. I have one, and I intend to keep having one. I also intend to keep calling it a Christmas tree. However, I would just like to throw this out there: it doesn't really have much to do with Christmas. And maybe, if we stop being allowed to slap the "Christ Mass" label on all the extraneous stuff that has come to be associated with the holiday, maybe we'll start to get the real holiday back. I'm not convinced that being able to keep calling public coniferous decorations "Christmas trees" is the way for Christians to keep their holiday.
Sometimes, for example, I wonder if calling the-obligatory-mass-purchasing-of-more-or-less-useful-material-possessions-for-other-people "Christmas shopping" is a little bit like taking the Lord's name in vain. I'm not saying it is. But I think it might be. If we separate things into "Christmas" versus "holiday" categories, we might just end up with unhelpful dichotomies, I suppose. We might compound our propensity to compartmentalise Jesus. On the other hand, if we actually started thinking about what we're calling stuff, we might start thinking about what we're doing. And then we might be able to be more intentional about how we celebrate Christmas--and really celebrate it.
In the meantime, I don't think people should call their winter holidays "Christmas" if they are in no other way acknowledging Christ. I wish everyone was celebrating that Jesus is God's Son, come to earth to set us free from ourselves. But if they're not yet, please, let's let them call their holiday something else. So that when they do meet the Incarnate God, they have a special name to call a special time of year that really has a lot more depth and meaning than tradition and nostalgia and presents and glitter and even family.