Being outraged over a lack of Christmas decorations in a shopping mall is nearly as ridiculous as being outraged over their existence in the first place.
Last week, Long Island residents were up in arms over the decidedly sterile and ambiguous new Christmas display at the Roosevelt Field Mall. The design of the attraction in general -Christmas aside- is the most offensive aspect of it. But one can only assume its “triage center in 2215” aesthetic was meant to sidestep the whole Christmas thing, and in that regard I suppose it was a success. This year the mall aimed to build a display that was far more ambiguous to appease complaints from prior years and limit the offensive nature of a more traditional setup. Why so many seem to be offended by Christmas is lost on me. I am not Catholic, and sure, like anyone else by mid-December I would rather hear a root canal drill violently splitting my molar than hear Bing Crosby utter another word about snow, but offended, no, I’m never offended. Although the tinsel can be a bit much at times.
But apparently there is a vocal minority thoroughly offended by the over-abundance of holly that adorns shopping malls in December. So Roosevelt Field, instead of simply dialing back the sparkling snow flakes a bit or leaving a few jingling bells in the attic, decided to go with an ultra-modern feel. It’s what one would imagine the interior of John Stamos’s house looked like just prior to Y2k. It’s pretty terrible and absurd. But it’s also a Christmas display in a shopping mall. It’s a Christmas display that -if it was along the lines of previous years- wouldn’t really have anything to do with the actual religious holiday of Christmas, but would be thickly-coated from floor-to-ceiling with commercial touchstones (ie. Santa, elves, snowflakes, Douglas fir trees, red and green, Holly, bells et al.). Even if we are to indulge in this idea of a war on Christmas, the so-called war is against the commercial aspects of the holiday, not the intrinsic qualities of the religious event itself. In a way, the war on Christmas -if there was one, which there’s not- started with the obscene commercialism of the holiday.
Growing enraged over a sterile Christmas display that, it should be noted, does contain two Christmas trees and a Santa Claus is just as ludicrous as being offended by the decorations themselves. These opposed reactions are two sides of the same coin. One is upset over too much and the other is upset over too little. But, again, I cannot stress this enough, all of you who choose to be upset over this -on either end- are upset over Christmas decorations in a shopping mall. I’d like to propose a realignment of energy, one that points away from trivial events in a shopping mall -or on a coffee cup– and focuses on something, anything that actually matters. There is no war on Christmas. November and December are still soaked in the presumptuous reverie of the holiday. So the next time you find yourself outraged and offended by Christmas decorations in a shopping mall, or the lack of Christmas decorations in a shopping mall, or Christmas decorations on a disposable coffee cup, or the lack of Christmas decorations on a disposable coffee cup, stop, take a deep breath and thoroughly reevaluate your entire life.
by Jesse Mechanic
Jesse Mechanic is the Editor-in-chief of The Overgrown.