Santa Claus – a figure traditionally portrayed as white – is more and more frequently appearing as black. Is that a bad thing?

Should our holiday celebrations stay true to their roots, or change with the times? That’s one of the questions swirling around this holiday season.

Many of our winter holidays have become cultural events just as much as religious ones. Perhaps none more so than Christmas, which some people argue has been coopted to the point that the “Christ” aspect of the holiday is now entirely overshadowed.

But as they become cultural (and commercial) events, the face of winter holidays is also changing. Santa Claus – a figure traditionally portrayed as white – is more and more frequently appearing as black. Or gay.

Hanukkah, a sacred holiday in the Jewish faith, is showing the effects of commercialization in the form of “Hanukkah” branded items on big box store shelves.

Are these developments positive or negative? That depends who you ask.

Let’s take a closer look at these examples and see how people are reacting to an evolving holiday season.

Is It Okay for Santa to Look Different?

Santa Claus originates from the historical figure of Saint Nicholas, a monk that historians believe lived in Turkey around the year 300 AD.

In popular culture, Santa Claus is typically portrayed as a heterosexual white man who lives at the North Pole with his wife, Mrs. Claus. Most Santas you meet at the mall would probably fit this profile.

But the world is a diverse place, and some people argue that in the spirit of inclusivity, holiday figures – such as Santa Claus – should reflect the populations celebrating them. The result?

Increasingly, Santa is being cast as a black figure:

We also posted on Facebook about a popular ad that depicted Santa as gay:

Did Santa Claus come out of the closet? The Norwegian postal service is causing a stir with a new holiday ad titled...

Posted by Universal Life Church Ministries on Monday, November 29, 2021

While many folks celebrate this type of diverse casting, it has also drawn derogatory accusations of “wokeness” from certain corners. Critics argue that casting Santa as black is historically inaccurate and exemplifies the type of politically correct pandering that companies and organizations use to appear progressive.

Similar objections can be heard to depicting Santa as a gay man. Unsurprising, considering he represents a Christian holiday – a religion whose teachings aren’t always accepting of homosexuality.

However, defenders of diversity and inclusion point out that the Santa Claus we celebrate today is in many ways a fictionalized figure. They ask: what are the odds that a Turkish man from the year 300 looked like a jolly white man with rosy cheeks? And for that matter, who’s to say he wasn’t gay?

But Christmas isn’t the only sacred holiday under scrutiny this year.

Hanukkah, Target Style

Hanukkah is not an event usually associated with commercialization. Perhaps because it occurs during the Christmas season, the Jewish festival of lights is often overshadowed by its larger red and green cousin; store shelves are chock-full of candy canes, elves, and reindeer – not menorahs and Stars of David.

But this year, things look a bit different. Photos from shoppers – Target shoppers in particular – have flooded social media over the past few weeks showing a vast array of Hanukkah products sitting out on display.

Jewish people are torn about this development. Some are lamenting the fact that a religious holiday is being used to sell kitschy merchandise.

Certain critics complained that Target failed to do its research, and is labeling certain things “Hanukkah” products that have little to do with the holiday.

Others took issue with a Hanukkah-themed advent calendar:

Then there were some interesting design choices made. A Twitter user pointed out that one Target menorah design in particular had a, uhhh, curious shape:

Welcoming Representation

But not everyone has taken such a critical view. In fact, some Jewish people see this type of representation, albeit crude or cringy at times, as a welcome visibility boost for Hanukkah – and Jewish culture at large.

Amid a disturbing rise in antisemitism this year, these supporters view promoting the holiday – even if it’s in a commercial or kitschy way – as a net positive. It can help to remind non-Jewish people that the holiday season includes more than just Christmas, they point out. Plus, perhaps those folks will learn a thing or two about Hanukkah and Judaism!

What is your reaction? When it comes to the holidays, are these efforts to increase representation “woke,” or simply inclusive?

79 comments

  1. Alun Lloyd Palmer's Avatar Alun Lloyd Palmer

    Christmas has lots of non-christian elements that predate christianity. The date is not even the right one for what the Christians are celebrating, but was chosen so they could work in the maximum number of existing traditions. It's certainly not a Christian holiday that is being preempted, but a pagan holiday that the Christians preempted. As an atheist ULC minister I'm happy to celebrate Christmas/Yule/Saturnalia/Hannukah/whatever.

    1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      Some years ago I ran across articles trying to clarify that Christmas wasn't really to celebrate a birth but more the life of legacy of Christ. I haven't tracked down when and why that was changed but I'm sure it was the same sort of misunderstanding about Mary M and the other woman she was introduced with being merged into one over time. People make mistakes and when those people are pastors or preachers or what have you, it can linger and become part of the lore.

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Does it matter whether Santa is black white gay etc.As long as he does the job to perfection as always

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    If you live in America Christmas is all about retailers making as much money as they can. It's called capitalisms and no one commercializes Christmas better than Americans.

    Look, Disney just pulled in $1.3 billion with Black Panther movie which was a complete surprise. Disney has recognized there's a lot of money to be made off of Black Americans. White people just aren't spending as much money with Disney as they use to. But Black Americans, that WAS a demographic they ignored in the past.

    And do you think retailers like Target are stupid and not going to try and cash in on the Jewish dollar with Hanukkah merchandise?

    Black Friday has always been the big shopping day in America after the Thanksgiving holiday. American's Christmas capitalism has now spread across the world. Stores in countries around the world now have Black Friday sales without the Thanksgiving. For them it's just a normal shopping day, but they now call it Black Friday to cash in on American Capitalism.

    1. Gene Thomas Hirschel's Avatar Gene Thomas Hirschel

      Let's face it, capitalism is the true religion of the United States 😉

      1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

        @Gene Thomas Hirschel AMEN But it doesn't stop their. There are companies like 7M Films CEO which is run by Robert I. Shinn who is also the founder and pastor of Shekinah Churches which is also heavily into politics and political agendas such as woke.

        Take a look at how 7M has been very successful in making money and manipulating Christians.

    2. JaZe's Avatar JaZe

      JCPenney has black santas for sale as well as white santas.

      The Santa lore is from northern Europe I believe so it explains why traditionally white.

      1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

        @JaZe “The Santa lore is from northern Europe I believe so it explains why traditionally white.”

        So is the Christian Religion lore. God, Jesus and the Holly Ghost are all traditionally white.

  1. Clay Serenbetz's Avatar Clay Serenbetz

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines woke as: "aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)". To me, woke is a noble cause, as all informed citizens need to be aware of societal facts and issues. I applaud the re-imaging Christmas or any holiday that reflects society and societal issues.

    1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

      @Clay Serenbetz That might be Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition…. But that’s not the definition that’s being used in society by folks for color. It’s code for being racist and racism.

  1. Joe Stutler's Avatar Joe Stutler

    The beautiful thing about mythologies is at the personal level there really isn't any right or wrong. Happy Holidays, whatever nonsensical weirdness you believe!

  1. Wilberta M. Berry's Avatar Wilberta M. Berry

    Santa should be what ever color or persuasion as any ethnicity or nationality or gender is that celebrates him.

    Although he's a fictionalized character. The word " woke" is over used and missed used.

    What color or gender is the Creator? It too should be represented by all of its creation.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Regardless of all that Wilbert's "You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town! He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!

      1. Wilberta M. Berry's Avatar Wilberta M. Berry

        @Carl Bernard Elfstrom, frankly my husband and I never gave credit to a fictionalized character like a Santa Claus for what we worked hard for to give our children. We made sure we got the credit and appreciation. They are all adults now and have done the same with their children. Everyone is happy.

  1. Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson's Avatar Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson

    As a Heathen, tonight begins our modern Yuletide with a celebration called Mothers Night. I will cook a fancy dinner for my wife and I, will have a 3rd place setting for the Spirits of all the mothers of our family lines. I have a similar celebration on Summer Solstice Eve for our Fathers.

    Christmas Eve, we will dine with our neighbor who is Catholic and celebrate.

    On January 6th, we will celebrate Epiphany, as my Mrs. is Greek Orthodox.

    I work retail, and bemoan the commercialization of any holiday, religious or secular.

    As to changing things up with portrayals of the characters associated with Christmas, if it causes no harm, no worries.

    1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      Goodness, your family alone epitomizes "Happy Holidays", doesn't it? Happy Holidays t you and yours!

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    As we are a culture of different belief systems I’d like to wish:

    My Christian friends a Merry Christmas

    My Jewish friends a Happy Hanukkah

    My Pagan friends a Happy Yule Tide, and Winter Solstice

    My Secular friends Happy Festivus

    May we all honour, respect, and love one another during this festive season. ❤️☃️🎄🎉

    🦁♥️

  1. Ann's Avatar Ann

    The Santa we have now is thanks to a Coca Cola ad. I grew up with Father Christmas and The Holly King versions. I wouldn't expect someone from a different country and culture to have the same traditions as people from my own. I also wouldn't go their country and try to tell them they must do it my way.

  1. Rev. B's Avatar Rev. B

    I am happy to see so many supportive of inclusive Santas. I'm an old white man, and I still had a huge smile on my face when I saw the Black Santa in the Oreos commercial.

    You see, Santa is white. And Black. And every other ethnicity that celebrates the holiday. Because every child's mother, father, grandparents, and everyone else in their life that cares about them IS their Santa Claus. One Santa cannot visit the whole world overnight, but 5 billion of us do it every year.

    1. Benton Wade Standard's Avatar Benton Wade Standard

      Since Christmas is derived from paganism and Santa is a retelling of Odin then indeed Santa is not black. Not if you're wanting to be literal. With that said I see nothing wrong with having a black Santa in a commercial anymore than I see anything wrong with depicting a white person as Wakanda warrior. Equal rights. 😁

  1. Kirk England's Avatar Kirk England

    Since Santa Claus is a Western European conglomeration of Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle and Father Christmas which are a mix of European Christian and western pagan traditions, I do cringe a little at the decidedly “woke” advertising from big companies depicting lots of black santas recently. But, I definitely don’t mind when black, or any color of men are dressed as Santa Claus and are embracing the holiday spirit! I’m not Jewish, so I can’t really comment on the Hanukkah displays at Target other than to say: Welcome to the club! As for the gay Santa, that is definitely a woke absurdity exemplifying the obsession to make everything “sacred”, gay. I.E. the gay Jesus in that play.

    1. Joe Stutler's Avatar Joe Stutler

      So, Santa should be White in virtually all media, (but it's okay if they want to dress up for their kids in the projects), you don't know diddly about Judaism but opted to weigh in anyway, you suffer from homophobia, and you don't believe in common courtesy....got it. 🤔

  1. John T. Watson's Avatar John T. Watson

    If they feel better about a black Santa I really do not care. Whatever makes them happy. I will say we should constantly reflect on the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ year round. Every day that passes brings the world that much closer to His return. Pray for the sick, those that are homeless, hungry, those without Christ in their hearts, and keep Jesus as your upper most thoughts and in your hearts. In other words we are to love our fellow man and woman but despise the sins in their lives. Remember Jesus rejected no one who came to Him with a repentant heart. We are to do the same.

  1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

    What is woke but learning about and understanding social situations? When is that a good thing to ignore especially this time of year when it's called for being charitable and helping those in need? How does one know a person is really in need if they are not aware and "woke"?

    I think people have been increasingly sensitive and irritable the last half a dozen years or so which is making such things as the race or gender of a representation of a merry, gift giving persona such a big deal instead of the message behind it.

  1. Neil M Sunderland's Avatar Neil M Sunderland

    I did witness a black family purchasing several Christmas items and I realized that they were for people with dark skin. I found it heartwarming to see that they could actually show up and see themselves included in the celebration. White folks are absolutely triggered by this inclusion, but that's the beginning of learning that the world is not just about them. Jesus shared his privileges with people beneath him, would you? Or would you condemn and ridicule?

    Look at the depictions of Jesus Christ both before and after the 1400s, thanks to Gomes Eanes de Zurara . After this time all of the saints became pale white skinned!

    What I hold in my heart is that Jesus spreads love and Would fit the definition of "woke", what would it take to wake your heart?

    Love and happiness in any and all holidays you celebrate!

  1. Minister Carlos Ricardo Walls's Avatar Minister Carlos Ricardo Walls

    Man has turned a pagan entity into a commercial business.Only children see this as a happy time.

    1. Ann's Avatar Ann

      This Pagan loves Christmas including all the different versions of the Holly King and my family sees it as a very happy time. We don't spend much but we have so much fun. Not everyone is glued to a screen being brainwashed.

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Yesterday, this Pagan of the Wiccan variety got a book in the mail from Amazon. It's called Christmas Song Lyrics 38 Favorite Songs. I've very much missed singing the Christmas carols I knew as a child, but long since forgot most of the words to. I still remember the melodies, soI didn't need the music, but only the lyrics. I grew up in a Christian family, so it's fun to reminisce. At the same time I ordered, and have since received a five CD pack of 100 Christmas carols. I already have other ones, but didn't think I had enough.And I have not one, but two Yule trees! One's a 15" lighted ceramic tree I keep on my Victrola, on top of my console table, in front of my front window, and the other one is a 5 foot artificial tree that's outside, in front of my window, that's well decorated and lighted, with a lighted pentagram on top.I don't that the Christians think it's just a star on a Christmas tree 🎄. I know what it means to me. And I've got a few chubby, white Santa Claus figurines. I think one's straight, one's gay, and the other one is bi-sexual. The bi-sexual one is near a picture on a wall of a group of Pagan hippies breaking bread at a long table, that I've heard mistakenly called The Last Supper. Each to his own. It's no sweat off my back. Regardless of who believes what, the whole holiday season is a wonderful time to come together, give and receive gifts, celebrate, and party hardy! And like I say to everyone I greet during the holidays I say to each and every one of you now. Merry Christmas, happy Yule, or whatever floats your boat in the holiday season!

        1. Gary James Thomas Garrett's Avatar Gary James Thomas Garrett

          Victrola! You have a Victrola? Do you have 78s?

          1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

            Gary, it's a new fangled Victrola in a classic wooden case. I bought it brand new, less than three years ago for $150.00. It does have a turn table on top, but I haven't started getting any records yet. It also has a CD player, an FM (only) radio, a cassette tape deck on the right side, and came with USB cords, to download music to a computer. I have thought about getting some old 78s, like maybe Enrico Caruso, The Andrews sisters, and Fred Astaire. "Heaven, I'm in Heaven"... In case you didn't know it, they sell 78s on Amazon. They even sell gramophones on Amazon! Someday, I might get one of those, too. Be careful though, Amazon can be addictive. I'm window shopping there numerous times a day, preparing my shopping cart for the my next monthly order, and putting more in my saved for later list.

    2. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      Don't know about that. Quite a number of adults secure with their beliefs and activities are very happy this time of year too.

    3. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Carlos, have you ever heard of something called an inner child. Don't keep it stuffed inside too long. It could be detrimental to your emotional health. It's too bad a chimney didn't come with my electric fireplace heater, or I bet Santa Claus would come down it tonight, with a whole shitload of toys!

  1. Wilberta M. Berry's Avatar Wilberta M. Berry

    The Dutch brought their Sinter Klaas tradition with them to America in the 1600's. The German's brought their tree tradition in 1700's America made Christmas a national holiday in 1870. During this time people of color or gays weren't recognized as having equality in America. I think "woke" is so over used and miss used. If God the creator made mankind in its image, it's only natural that his "color and essence" is seen through the eyes of his creation. Therefore and especially since Santa is a " fictional character", he should be whatever ethnicity and nationality that is celebrating him.Just like God who is much real to people than Santa.

  1. Tony Steven Minish's Avatar Tony Steven Minish

    Politics has entered our lives way too much! They are taking away free speech, wokeism everywhere Dems want Hod out of our country and the lying fake media helped push the Big Scam Plandemic and the fake vaccine! The devil is in charge of our great country we must pray for God’s intervention! Pastor Tony

  1. Frederick Richard Vobbe's Avatar Frederick Richard Vobbe

    I think the woke generation is born not only from a three aspects, Naive, ignorant, and uncomfortable. In all cases it's a human trait which manifests when someone can not handle truth, or situations which one had to rationalize outcomes. If they see a black Santa, their reaction is either shock or great indignation. If someone says "Happy Holidays", instead of wishing them Merry Christmas, their reaction is to attack the person. But I think in our profession we need to ask the hard questions, and challenge the woke thoughts. If we don't, at what point do we rewrite the bible because some passages are inconvenient to our thoughts, or we're uncomfortable with the writings. As a side note I love it when someone presents a woke statement, only to be questioned on a theological writing in which their action is unjustified.

    1. Gene Thomas Hirschel's Avatar Gene Thomas Hirschel

      It's strange because you seem to be arguing both sides of the argument. Woke simply means that we are aware of others and we respect and honor all people, not just those that look and act like our self. Jesus never told us to reject people. He was the original woke person, he taught anyone who would hear him. He included the tax collectors and prostitutes and sinners. If we are to honor him on what is supposedly his holiday, shouldn't we follow his lead? Do we really think that Jesus was a white guy? Do we think that he looked like white americans? Ridiculous! Obviously Jesus was not an african, but he was from the neighborhood. He was a dark-skinned man possibly with curly hair. We only know what part of the world he was from. I'm sure he would be mortified if he saw the way some Christians treat other human beings. And Jesus was all about loving each other. Why would he care if a woman loved a woman or a man loved a man? Jesus was against adultery, so being against same-sex marriage is being against what Jesus taught us! You want to talk theology? There is nothing in the New testament that says gay marriage is wrong. Only fornication and adultery is wrong. If there's a marriage bed between same-sex couples, there's nothing in the New testament against it.

    2. James C Riggle's Avatar James C Riggle

      I'm not sure you understand the meaning of "Woke." What is wrong with being woke?

      Woke: Adjective:

      woker; wokest chiefly US slang 1: aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice) But we will only succeed if we reject the growing pressure to retreat into cynicism and hopelessness. … We have a moral obligation to "stay woke," take a stand and be active; challenging injustices and racism in our communities and fighting hatred and discrimination wherever it rises. —Barbara Lee

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        I "woke" up this morning, and now I'm awake (or atleast I think I am).

        1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

          I took my vitamins late last night, right before a three hour nap, so I could stay up all night to bake pumpkin bread, so I'll have something to give my neighbors. I made enough for two loaves, in a large glass baking dish, and have enough ingredients for another one, which should be enough to about a dozen neighbors, if they'll open their doors for me. But first a strong cup of Folgers. I guess I'm woke enough, but might take another nap, just to be on the safe side. Happy holidays!

  1. Gene Thomas Hirschel's Avatar Gene Thomas Hirschel

    Why is "woke" considered a sin? Jesus NEVER said love was bad. He only said ADULTERY was bad. If people are married then nothing in the new testament is against that love or sex. If anything, Jesus taught us to be inclusive. As someone else pointed out, woke is noble. Also, Jesus was NOT born in December. Can you imagine in the dead of winter Shepard tending sheep outside? Nuts! Christmas is based on Norse gods. In fact the only remnants of the "true" yuletime holiday is the wild Christmas party where people lose control and babies are made! Yes the original celebration here in the US was VERY adult and sexual. It didn't become a family holiday for decades later. And Santa first was depicted in various ways including as an elf. The fat jolly Santa wearing 'Coke' red clothes was in fact invented by Coca-Cola (originally a cocaine drink). The Jesus birth aspects of original pagan Xmas were very much appropriated by the church... the very definition of appropriation! So... Is it okay that a holiday that's been twisted and turned around in all different ways, has morphed over many years to fit the needs and desires of the current political and social norms and requirements, holiday that's been appropriated left and right first by the church then by capitalism, the current religion of the United states, is it okay for it to be further appropriated for whatever is happening today? Of course! Black santa? Why not? Gay santa? If one man kissing another man is sexual, then why not ban kissing? Why not ban marriage, isn't marriage that sexualization of a couple? Come on people, we are just waking up to the fact that different people of different people. Normalizing that in the media and in our holiday icons makes perfect sense. When I grew up, gay people were an aberration, something to fear or ridicule. My son accepts gay people as just normal everyday... Not a big deal. Having a gay friend or a black friend or any other culture friend is not a big deal either. Why should it be? That's what this world is evolving into, inclusion. Gene Roddenberry, who was the third degree Freemason, believed that all people regardless of race and who they love, should be treated on the level. As equals. He gave us our first kiss between a white man and a black woman on television. He envisioned the future where differences are celebrated instead of feared. Our country was formed by Masons with the same core belief, that we are all created equally and all have the right to freedom and happiness. Not just men who love women, but all men and all women. Of all colors and races and sizes. And we are finally starting to implement those beliefs. Why would religion, Christianity of all things, tap the brakes on that progress? It's really the antithesis of what Jesus would have wanted. And if some people are still pretending that Christmas is his birthday, then why not celebrate what he believed in?

    1. Rickey Paul's Avatar Rickey Paul

      Thank you. Well said my Friend.

  1. Daniel M. Lora's Avatar Daniel M. Lora

    Black Santa, white Santa, gay Santa. THIS IS TOTALLY SICK! Leave it like it's always been. Dec. 25th is just a day to celebrate The birthday of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Anyone who has put forth any effort at all, knows that Jesus was born in the month of April. The problem is that people have taken Jesus Christ out of everything!

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      If Jesus Christ wasn't such a weirdo more people might find a reason to include him in this truly Pagan holiday.

  1. Daniel M. Lora's Avatar Daniel M. Lora

    Black Santa, white Santa, gay Santa. THIS IS TOTALLY SICK! Leave it like it's always been. Dec. 25th is just a day to celebrate The birthday of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Anyone who has put forth any effort at all, knows that Jesus was born in the month of April. The problem is that people have taken Jesus Christ out of everything!

  1. Gregory Joseph Behl's Avatar Gregory Joseph Behl

    But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such

  1. Allen Levings's Avatar Allen Levings

    I thought the spirit of the season was more important than the trappings. I really don't enjoy the holidays, but that is because of working in retail for most of my life plus we've had a lot of family issues around this time of the year. That's just me, though. People should celebrate how they want and not be judged over it.

  1. Kathryn Darcy Smith's Avatar Kathryn Darcy Smith

    Christmas is a Christian construct. They stole Yule from the people before them to gain power and wealth over the original faiths and story of me immaculate conception and birth of a child with a star overhead is extremely unoriginal and is from many cultures. They invented nothing new. And red and white Santa Claus is a commercial invention in the last century.

  1. Timothy Albaugh's Avatar Timothy Albaugh

    How far the PAGANS have come! SANTA is paganism along with the government and every other thing that is against the LORD THY GOD. Fall on your knees and ask the LORD to come into your life. THAT IS ALL YOU HAVE

    AMEN

  1. Steven Ferrell's Avatar Steven Ferrell

    Enough of the woke stuff already. I have a very close gay friend at work who thinks this whole thing of pushing gay is garbage. He says those that say they are gay and try to push everyone accepting gay and being comfortable with it, only shows they are not comfortable themselves in being gay and need everyone else to give them affirmation. He said he knows he is gay and he don't need anyone else approval or affirmation to know it is alright. He only needs to be comfortable in it himself. Same goes for anything in life. You only need to be comfortable in yourself being whatever your are. You should not need everyone else to affirm it for you.

    1. James C Riggle's Avatar James C Riggle

      It’s never been about the affirmation that someone is gay. It’s not even about teaching people to accept that we exist, and not fear us. It’s about not being able to walk down a street holding hands without fear that you’ll be beaten to death. It’s about not being forced out of your home because your partner is the same sex. It’s about not losing your job because your employer finds out you’re gay.

      I am happy your gay friend hasn’t had any of this happen to him. Is it possible that he is walking around trying to be straight? This isn’t about pushing an agenda but normalizing being gay, so people don’t freak out and accuse us of grooming children or being perverts. It is about existing without pretending to be straight. It’s those of us that act like others want us to act, keeping the gay part hidden, that truly have the problem with acceptance.

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        I'm never pretend to be gay or straight, and am not into labeling myself. I'm just into being me, as I am; as I happen to be, wherever I go, and whoever I'm with. I don't know what they think they are, and don't ask them, for I really don't care, and wouldn't believe they knew what they were talking about anyway, since nobody and nothing stays the same. Everything is subject to change, no matter how hard it tries to stay the same.

      2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Comment has been removed.

      3. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        James, I've been around a lot of gay people, and a lot of straight people, and a lot of other kinds of people, and really can't see a difference. Unless someone goes out of his way to talk campy in public, or cruise the crotches of other men, people just seem like people to me. This world will never be a perfect utopia for everyone, and most people seem alright with only letting their hair down fully when in the company of their own kind. Sure, it would be nice if it didn't have to be that way, but I find it better to accept life on its own terms, instead of how my imagination would like it to be. And like it or not, it is what it is. So, keep it simple, and don't rock the boat is my motto. Life is too short to change the world. "I'd love to change the world, but I don't know what to do, so I leave it up to you (God or whatever you care to call it)". That's a good song. I think I'll turn on that CD right now, and smoke an almost legal joint.

        1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

          I don't even like being in the company of the people who keep running around trying to figure out what everyone else is, for the sake of labeling them, and gossiping about them. That could be one of the reasons I like staying home as much as I do. And usually in solitude, instead of isolation. And I don't like most of the people I've ever met anyway, regardless of whatever they happen to be or think they are, other than human beings. And yes, I'm always at home when writing on this blog. I almost take my phone or laptop with me.

  1. Paul Seldes's Avatar Paul Seldes

    Jesus was not a white, blond haired, blue eyed European either. He was Jewish and most likely semitic in appearance (darkish skin). Was Santa a fat, jolly, white guy? Of course not. He is a fictional character, And the current general image of Santa traces back to advertising by Coca-Cola in the 1920's!

    "Wokeness" as a way of looking at and embracing diversity is only positive. We can choose the Santa, Jesus, or Menorah that suits our individuality. We seem to forget that diversity is strength. As a member of the Jewish faith, Christmas has no religious meaning to me but is something i love to share with my friends who do observe it. And as a Jew, i do not overly celebrate Hanukah, as it is really a minor festival in Judaism, but we do light a Menorah and cook some traditional foods. If i had children, i'd lean more towards making a big deal as Jewish kids often feel left out this time of year.

    In short, embrace whatever makes you happy. Enjoy the blessings of the season no matter what form they take. And take pleasure in seeing others enjoy those blessings as they see fit!

  1. Rose Marie Speake's Avatar Rose Marie Speake

    I see nothing wrong with any of this. Inclusion and representation is important. Growing up raised Christian I now know Jesus was neither white nor black. Coming from the Middle East area he was most likely brown. I applaud these changes

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      The Jesus they had on a crucifix in the Roman Catholic church I was forced to go to when I was a child was white, skinny, and ugly! I felt like barfing Everytime I had to look at it!

  1. Gary James Thomas Garrett's Avatar Gary James Thomas Garrett

    Santa Claus is a fictional character - arguing about his race is about as meaningful as arguing about who the best Batman was (although George Clooney was the worst). Who's to say that St Nicholas is "real"? Even the designation of "saint" is a fiction perpetrated by a religion. I don't believe children should be fed the myth of Santa anyways - let's lie to them for the most formative years of their lives and when they find out the truth (probably from another child who who wants to embarrass the dumb little kid) they may start to question all the other "truths" that their parents have told them. (what other rug is going to be pulled out?). The myth of Santa is used to sell as many colorful plastic toys as possible at the highest possible profit. If a purple Santa sold the most - Santa would be officially purple.

  1. Malcolm Joseph Faure''s Avatar Malcolm Joseph Faure'

    Santa Claus is a fictional character based on a man named Saint Nicholas. Original pictures show him as being dark skinned and some say he was of Moorish descent. Some have said that Santa is actually Zeus which was to mock Saint Nicholas and a representation of Satan himself.

  1. James C Riggle's Avatar James C Riggle

    Woke: The new 4-letter word used to invoke fear in white people. White, black, gay, or straight… who cares. Stop trying to whitewash the holidays. Jesus couldn’t have been white. Saint Nicholas couldn’t have been white. Christmas has always been more about Santa Clause than Jesus anyway. It’s been more about presents than a savior.

    We really need to stop being afraid of everything that is different. That’s code for everything other than white, straight, and Christian. Just my thoughts.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      James, could they have been mixed breeds, like us all American mutts? I'm Swedish, English, Welch, Spanish, French, and half Italian of the Sicilian variety. And history tells us that Sicilians could be a lot more than Italian.

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      And that reminds me of another good song James. "Woke" up this morning, wine glass 🍷 in my hand. Who's wine! What wine! When the hell did I die! ... And Peter Frampton might not have been gay, but he sure had a pretty smile.

  1. Charles O'Connor's Avatar Charles O'Connor

    The Jews have always tried to make a Profit off anything they could. MACY'S And Bloombergs commercialized Christmas .First they call him a false prophet, like Martin Schnerson knew any better. Declared himself The true Messiah In Crown Hights Brooklyn in the 80's. If they could have commercialized him They would have.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Charles, I'm not Jewish, but if I could make Jesus and Christianity disappear, I would, without hesitation! And regardless of what anyone says about Macey's I love their holiday parades!

  1. William Moses's Avatar William Moses

    As a Jew, I am ashamed by some of the background stories for Hanukkah. Like this one: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-darker-side-of-hanukkah/amp/

  1. Deborah Lynn Strafuss's Avatar Deborah Lynn Strafuss

    So, this season is really all about the Light. Every celebration is focused around the returning of the Light in the northern hemisphere and the fullness of the Light in the southern. Christians placed their celebration near solstice to compete with the existing celebrations in order to help converts feel comfortable - Easter coincides with another seasonal change once again based on the Light and the returning Life it brings.

    The return of Life through Light has been celebrated, marked and honored among many peoples across many eons of time. We are a people of nature's cycles, part of the very essence of this earth - often completely forgetful of our connection with it, our intrinsic oneness with it. This time of year is a celebration of the earth and the heavens, the mystery and beauty of the sun, moon and earth dancing together among the stars, and our relationship with them. Enjoy it.

    Most of our religious traditions surround stories of note that we want remembered to strengthen our "faiths.". We choose the seasons and cycles of Light to do this. We are growing as a species of light beings on this earth and there are pains and disagreements around those remembrances. May we continue to navigate them thoughtfully as we expand and grow. This is our path and purpose for today and it must be done well to build for tomorrow. May we continue to move forward as we create new paths.

    In two hundred short years what we agonize over today will not even be remembered, it will however be woven into the fabric of our evolving traditions and stories, and the cycle will still be turning and we will still be responding to the Light.

    Me? Include. Include. We spend so much time trying to exclude. We are so stunned when someone points out a hidden bias we had not realized. This is nothing to be ashamed of. We are growing. Together. That is the divine work, energy, action of Love in the universe. So we can be humble and grow. In the Light. How bad is it if we overstep a step in the direction of opening hearts? How often have we overstepped the other way and what has that produced? Hug a Santa - love the children - care for the sick - comfort the dying and the grieving - help the poor - visit those in prison - feed the hungry. This is following the heart, opening the heart. It is simple and evident and human. Stop wasting time effort and energy on disagreeing and opposing and get working on the work of the heart. Are you moaning over Target Hannukah? Go pick up some extra food there and take it to someone who needs it. You'll feel better. So will they. Happy Solstice.

  1. Richard Vincent Price's Avatar Richard Vincent Price

    How about we do this, you believe and do what you want, and I will believe and do what I want, don't worry about me and what I am doing, and I won't worry about you and what you are doing. I won't infringe on you, and you won't infringe on me.

    We can all be neighbors, friends, acquaintances and strangers caring of one another in our own way, when we see someone in need of help, we can help by letting them say yes to our help when asked, many don't want our help and that's also fine.

    This is what is called 'Live and Let Live', ever heard of this?

    Well, if we were to do this is we will get along just fine.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Ehrman, go right ahead and listen to all the dull and ignorant stories you want to, but I'm not about to join you, even if you buy the popcorn.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    The Arctic blast has started getting cold and much windier here, on Galveston Island. And regardless of the weather channel claiming there's not much chance of precipitation for the next, few days during this winter storm, those grey clouds up above are telling me we might finally have a white Christmas down here in southeast Texas.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    The world is my stage, and I am its greatest actor! And another one of my favorite songs states that there's no business like show business, like no business I know. So, "On with the show"! I'm content within myself, and am honest and truthful to the extent that my level of dishonesty doesn't bother my conscience. You won't get drunk or high, as long as you don't have anything to feel bad about. This has been a good meeting, but it's time to sip two cups of warm bone broth now, which will also help me swallow three capsules of l-glycine, and three more of multi collagen supplements, an hour before eating my Christmas cookies.

  1. Pitter Smith's Avatar Pitter Smith

    One of the worst things about an “all inclusive” holiday are the long queues for meals. You are essentially standing in line for a plate! One trick I learned is to go straight past the line, take a clean looking plate from one of the abandoned tables, and give it a quick swill in the washroom. Now you have your plate so no need to stand in line. Going past the line and into the dining room also gives you the chance to scan the buffet and make a note of the dishes you would like to choose from. Its unlikely anyone will challenge you because its busy and they have other things to do. If they do, you had to “go to the washroom” or “back to your table”. The fact that you have your plate shows you were “in the line” to begin with. <a href="https://wordmaker.info/how-many/woke.html">woke</a>

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      You can also take Christmas dinner home to your family from a buffet by bringing an empty attache case with you to your table. I was once with someone who did that once. And if you don't have any money follow Pitter's advice first.

  1. Rev. Laurie G. Cleveland RN's Avatar Rev. Laurie G. Cleveland RN

    I was brought up to see it as a Chridtian holiday. As I got older and had Jewish bf, I got to undersyand the importance of Hannuka and even msde him a shell and red coral necklace with a 24kt chai on it. I had his sister hold him there until that I could personally give it to him. I was only allowed to stay on the porch. His dister was nice, but his parents acted like Hitler himself was on their doorstep. I realize that Christmas was put there as Yule or winter soltice is here. Hannakavvaries. Saturnalia was popular pagan holiday at the time and so it goes. This year is not a good one for me. Actually, the last few haven't been good because for one reason or another, I have needed to have medical procedures. This year, I am home, but it is not Christmas for me. There is no family and there hasn't been since my mum died. She was the matriarch and what she wanted went. Technically, I should have assumed that role, but family being what it now is, disagreed.

    Getting back to religious things--While Happy Holidays has become the unwelcome Norm, I have always said Merry Christmas until recently, nobody got their nose out of joint. I think that we can all agree that Kesus was probably

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      All my life until I was in my late thirties, me and a whole bunch of relatives spent much of Christmas day (and Thanksgiving) together at Grandma Rose's house. She owned her own home that she lived in from 1936 until her death at 92, on December 30, 2001. We also always had a New Years Eve party at our house when I was a kid, and birthday parties for everyone in our family! Then there were the Maniscalco family reunions every year! Maniscalco was my grandmother's maiden name. I'll be 60 in a couple of months, live alone, and don't drive anymore. I sure do miss those parties and family get togethers, but won't let that stop me from celebrating. I'm also poor and on Disability, but am a self starter. The state of Texas gave me $230.00 worth of SNAP EBT benefits a few months this year for the pandemic this year, and I didn't know what to do with it, so I threw three backyard barbeque parties, for me and my neighbors. Sometime today I'm going to bake atleast a few loaves of pumpkin bread, and bring it to my neighbors tomorrow. Yesterday morning I turned on my 15" Mr Christmas musical carousel (that plays 20 jazzed up Christmas carol tunes, and haven't shut it off yet. I intend to leave it on until New Year's day, if it doesn't break down first. Tonight and tomorrow I'll be watching my Christmas special DVDs, such as the Dean Martin, Andy Williams, and Sonny and Cher Christmas specials, and I must somehow fit in a movie about Ebeneezer Scrooge, as well as a whole lot of other stuff, before it's time for my Wiccan Yule ritual. So, we must not let the past weight us down. It's gone forever, and there's nothing we can do about it! We can still have ourselves a merry little Christmas, even if we're all by ourselves.

  1. Karsten S. A. Johansson's Avatar Karsten S. A. Johansson

    The kids love it when they see a Santa they identify with. He doesn't need to look like that guy in the Coca Cola ad. They do that with the image of Jesus, too. All good.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Take kindly the council of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth, atleast during the holidays.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Ehrman, I'll be very cheerful and happy once I get home with that full attache case. That would really be a good time to wear a Santa Claus costume.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    When I was a kid I never once considered sitting in the lap of a big, butch, bear daddy in a Santa Claus costume.

  1. Rev Ned's Avatar Rev Ned

    The term “woke” was IMHO invented by the people Trump loves, uneducated voters because they are unable to spell big words like intelligent and uneducated. Yes, 45 actually said it, if you care to check it out.

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