Front Lines of the War on Christmas

I work in retail as my day job. More specifically, I work at a game store, and as you might imagine, it gets pretty busy this time of year. Games are common Christmas presents every year, and with the popularity of tabletop gaming it’s no surprise that the store would be packed with shoppers looking for that perfect gift.

One of my least favorite things about working in retail during the holiday season is the non-gamers who ask “What’s the hot new game this year?” Speaking from more than 25 years working in that very same retail gaming establishment, I can tell you that… it depends. At our store, there are a couple dozen titles that are hot during the course of the year, some of which carry their popularity over into the following year(s), and some of which disappear without a trace after their stellar debut. When people ask me this question, I usually try to steer them towards a quality game they might like by asking a couple of questions such as A) the number of players usually involved, B) what other games that group likes, and C) how much time they usually spend playing games, both in general and at one sitting. There are TONS of excellent games out there, and recommending good stuff is pretty easy with answers to those few questions in mind. Just because something is “hot” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right game for you and your group, or even that it’s a good game.


There is a subset of Americans who (it seems) like to feel persecuted. That type of folk don’t often shop at the store where I work, but every once in a while, (last holiday season for example) my “Happy holidays!” as the customers are leaving the store is replied to with “Merry CHRISTMAS!” said all surly and judgmental-like, as if “Holidays” doesn’t cover Christmas too. That these people feel the need to ‘correct’ me tells me a lot about them, and it’s mostly not good. There are a LOT of end-of-year holidays, not the least of which is New Year’s, so getting all pissy about me not kowtowing to their desperate need to achieve Christian hegemony is pitiful. This is what gets me about the “War on Christmas:” it’s actually a war against anyone who doesn’t show the proper amount of deference to Christians — as if that isn’t already done 24/7/365 in the United States.

I grew up in a Catholic household (to many “Christians” in the US, this automatically disqualifies me as “Christian,” but whatever.) We celebrated Christmas of course, but since those days I’ve met a lot of wonderful people, many of whom aren’t Christian. It’s given me more perspective on religion, and on people. That perspective has given me more respect for other cultures, and allowed me to see that there is good — and bad — in every religion. Mostly, it seems as though the bad springs from a select group of people in every religion who feel that there is only one ‘right way’ of doing things. From an engineering or mathematical standpoint, this argument may be true: when it comes to philosophy and living life as a good person, there are many right ways. Maintaining a certain amount of flexibility and tolerance is good for both body and soul. Wishing someone “Happy Holidays” does not presume which holiday(s) they celebrate: in my eyes, that’s a better approach.


I want to close by wishing everyone happy holidays — Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka, Merry Kwanzaa, Blessed Yule, Joyous Solstice, and above all, a Happy New Year. May 2018 bring more joy to the world than 2017 did.


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