Thank you for chronicling the insidious elimination of references to Christmas in our local community ("Whatever happened to Christmas?" Around Pleasanton, Dec. 7, page 3). My late, foreign-born, non-Christian father used to say that our family could participate in the festive activities of Christmas while respecting others to celebrate it religiously. The governments, organizations, and businesses who censor the public messages of Christmas do so without any public consent. In effect, they create a social pressure that makes it not OK to express certain ideas. After this, what other expression will they disallow?
Please keep shining the lights on these dark acts.
Christmas is alive on Web site
Whatever happened to Christmas? Well, it's alive and well at the Lights of the Valley Web site where we start the site off by saying:
Merry Christmas and welcome to the 2007 edition of the Lights of the Valley Web site where we feature the best and brightest Christmas light displays from the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, San Joaquin and Sacramento Valley areas. Now with 341 houses (131 confirmed for 2007) in 85 cities in 17 counties across Northern California.
So, there is a Merry Christmas and a heavy promotion of Christmas lights--not holiday or season lights.
Don't give up long-standing tradition
Thank you for your courage to offer the column this week entitled "Whatever Happened to Christmas?" (I wonder why I feel it necessary to mention "courage.")
It certainly reflects my feelings, and I would suspect, the feelings of most of the people in Pleasanton.
You don't celebrate our diverse population by giving up our long-standing traditions, for goodness sake. The only appropriate celebration would include recognition of the many traditions and holidays of the people of our community; this would involve honoring those who differ from me and their own observances. As far as I know, our country has recognized the Christmas holiday for hundreds of years, and that is what Dec. 25 is all about. I'm puzzled and offended by the whole-scale rush to erase all mention of this important observance for so many of us.
Thank you for mentioning the commercial establishments who are forbidding their employees from saying "Merry Christmas." I'll not be spending my money in their places of business
Christmas transformed into 'holiday'
Being a Wheels coach operator, I am happy that the public does see the destination headboards on the transit vehicles, as stated by Mr. Bing.
Not only did he see the Route 12 but also, "Merry Christmas." Sadly, operators were instructed that it is no longer permitted to have "Merry Christmas" on the coaches. For those interested, call the Transit Authority at 455-7500 or drop a comment at wheelsbus.com.
I drive Monday and Tuesday afternoons on the Route 8 in Pleasanton, and would be thrilled to tell passengers "Merry Christmas."
Thank you for speaking up
Thank you, Jeb Bing. My family and I want to wish you also, and your family, a very Merry Christmas. We agree that the reason that we have a holiday that is named Christmas is for the celebration of the birth of Christ, no matter who else lives in this town or country. My family and I also wish anyone that does not "celebrate" Christmas, a joyous holiday by whatever name they wish to call it.
And thank you, Jeb, for stepping up and speaking about an issue that is doing nothing positive for our country, our town, or us.
Ken L. Smith
Have a merry, um, whatever
As a Jewish person in the Tri-Valley, I felt the collision of emotions: 1) Jeb Bing's right; and 2) are we responsible for this? Many harbor the belief that the Jewish community has appointed itself the watchdog over December protocol. I reviewed the causes we have adopted as a minority religion, in the hopes of answering the implicit question: Are we December scrooges?
I do not speak for an entire community, but most Jews I know have no interest in watering down the language of Christmas; we just want to be part of the conversation. Some awareness of Jewish holidays benefits us all and eases the potential loneliness for a non-Christmas observer.
I understand a store clerk not wanting to presumptuously wish Merry Christmas to every customer, and I think Bing goes too far in bemoaning our reference to Winter Break, which our family has used for four decades. Eliminating Christmas from our lexicon, however, pushes the city toward a generic observance serving no purpose except depriving us of things we hold dear this time of year. If the city is required to decorate the "holiday tree" downtown, it's only fair that I light the candles each night on our "holiday candelabra." No thanks.
My Jewish friends and our family harbor no resentment toward Christmas; we enjoy the lights and look forward to driving down Candy Cane Lane. Our celebration of Hanukkah is not diminished by Christmas--ask the 75 neighbors who attend our often-riotous annual latke party. Showing sensitivity toward another's faith can be as simple as the sincere question, "Tell me about Hanukkah?" To which my reply would invariably be, "I'm glad you asked..."
Buck deserves Woman of the Year
Great choice ("Woman of the Year: Jill Buck--a purpose-driven life," Cover Story, Dec. 14, page 16). Jill's accomplishments are well documented.
She is a wonderful asset to everyone-particularly her family. Her positive attitude and 'can-do' leadership is very positive for our city, state and country.