Happy holidays!

The holiday season is upon us. In the United States, that means Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November, immediately followed by the first serious day of Christmas shopping, Black Friday. Then Christmas and New Year’s Day. Plus Hanukkah and Kwanzaa for Jews and African Americans—and for the people who wish to patronize include these people.

Much of the focus is on Christmas. That’s because the English, Dutch, Spanish, French, and Russian colonies which eventually became the United States, were founded by Christians. Not all of them celebrated Christmas—American Protestants ignored it as “too Catholic” a holiday till the mid-1800s—but eight in 10 Americans consider themselves Christians, and the rest appreciate all the customs which have sprung up around it. Mainly the gift-giving and the spice-flavored food and drinks. Christmas custom is to give and receive gifts, and merchants wish us to buy these gifts from them, and put their ledgers in the black.

Inevitably, some stores will put up a “Happy holidays” sign—which only makes sense ’cause we’re celebrating multiple holidays. But a new trend has arisen in the past decade, called the “War on Christmas.”

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