Have you decided which mega-mart you’re going to boycott this season? It is tricky.

The American Family Association has boycotted Target “This petition will also be sent to other major chains banning the use of “Merry Christmas” including Costco, BJ’s, Wal-Mart, Sears/K-Mart and Kohl’s.” the founder Donald E. Wildmon writes on the AFA website.

If that’s not enough to make your eyes glaze over, a Wal-Mart boycott was called for by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Apparently after a complaint about using “holiday” instead of “Christmas” was answered by a letter explaining the many cultures that contributed to Christmas traditions. The group was ‘grossly offended’. Their demands, according to their website: a) rendered an apology b) withdraw its ‘insane statement’ regarding the origins of Christmas and c) revised its website (apparently, when you typed in the word “Christmas” you were sent to the “Holiday” page). Wal-Mart complied and the boycott was called off. Phew!

Now I can get my Christmas ammo and box wine from Wal-Mart and feel good that I’m shopping at such a family friendly place.

It brings us back to the true meaning of this Christmas Season: shopping.

I think this holiday used to be more thinly veiled. But now – when the going gets tough – the tough go shopping somewhere else!

This ‘holiday’ vs. ‘Christmas’ thing is a big deal for Religious Right. They seem to be very offended, feel persecuted and forgotten. I can’t imagine why exactly, because they happen to be the most vocal people on the face of the earth…but that is what they claim.

But I do want to understand these grievances. As far as I can gather, Christians, or more specifically Bill O’Reilly, Jerry Falwell and the AFA seek to have their savior’s name associated with season-discounted trinkets and mass-produced red and green chotchskies. Once THAT happens, they will all be happy and we’ll finally have a silent night from them.

I’ve always assumed that “Happy Holidays” was short for “Merry Christmas AND Happy New Year”. There’s a bunch going on in a week – so lets just shorten it. Plus – who ever uses the word ‘merry’ anymore? That was in vogue back when ‘gay’ still meant happy.

But they’re really offended. I’ve never been offended when someone wished me Merry Christmas. I’ve never been offended when someone wished me Happy Holidays or Kwanza or for that matter Hanukkah. I don’t think I’ve ever been offended by someone wishing me anything happy.

Maybe that’s just me. I guess I have been a little insensitive. As a non-Christian, with anti-Santa leanings, I believe I am qualified to say this: ‘people of faith’ you can have your holiday and call it whatever you want to call it. If it means that much to you – you guys win. You won’t find any resistance here. I don’t care. I am not offended by you showing off your glowing Santas and flaunting your jolly elves. I’m not offended by the jingle bells or the decked halls. I’m not offended by your multi-cultural wise men or your tarted up Douglas Furs. I’m not offended by your television specials or egg nog. Go on. Knock yourself out. Have a Christmas. Have a merry one while you’re at it.

This is my only request: I’m not going to put up a fight over whether December 25th is a religious day or not. I’m not going to insist that giant retailers include me in the festivities. I won’t protest, boycott or even whine as long as you celebrators stay out of my Chinese Food restaurants and movie theaters on Christmas Day. I’m serious. It’s not fair to have to suffer through two months of holiday cheer and to then have to wait in line at a movie theater on Christmas day too. That used to be OUR DAY. All us other-than-Christians. You might not have gotten the memo – but we all meet in China Town for a huge feast and then stroll over to the local Cineplex and spend the day. It was our holiday tradition. And now it’s become YOUR Christmas tradition!

So, not cool. You people stay home and let us have our day. It’ll be our Christmas truce. You celebrate your savior’s birthday and I’ll celebrate that I’m in a restaurant full of godless heathens, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and Hindus on our sacred day of Moo Shoo.