Philadelphia Metropolis


Merry Andwho to You

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 The problem with trying to extirpate Christmas from our national vocabulary is that it is being done piecemeal.  You get rid of a crèche here, a Christmas tree there, but inevitably you get a push back and - the next thing you know - people are humming Silent Night in the City Hall

Witness what happened to the Christmas (nee: Holiday) Village on Dilworth Plaza.  No sooner had they gotten "Christmas" taken down from its place in the lighted sign, than Mayor Nutter intervened and brought it back. He is reveling in being a pro-Christmas hero, columnist everywhere are huffing and puffing pro and con, the comments section on the web are bubbling with venom and bile.

Everyone is getting all worked up at the time of year when we should be doing the whole peace-on-earth-good-will-to-men thing.

This won't do.

The best way to go about it is to take a comprehensive approach and get rid of all Christmas references at once. It won't be as difficult as you think. Commercial America, which lives to sell, has been slowly backing away from this whole Christmas thing for a number of years. 

The catalogues I get at home (and I get about 12-a-day this time of year) are filled with what I would call vaguely Christmassy, but strictly non-denomination iconography. Lots of reds and greens. Holly and sparkling stars. Winter snow scenes. Lots of use of the word Holiday. Plenty of Santas and reindeer. 

But no Virgin Mary, Joseph and Jesus and their retinue of shepherds, sheep, angels and Wise men. This is, perhaps, just as well.  I'm not all that anxious to see an ad with a Christmas scene, complete with a 55-inch flat screen TV in the back of the stable and the slogan: "Another family that loves their Sony!"

On the music side, in addition to the hymns (O Holy Night, Silent Night and so on) we have a plethora of non-denominational songs about snowmen, winter wonderlands and some popular, mostly sentimental, tunes, such as The Christmas Song, with it's chestnut's roasting on an open fire, and I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas, just like the ones I used to know.

You see the problem of trying to get rid of Christmas? The symbols, the songs, the very word itself are so soaked into the national psyche and our collective memories that removing it would create a void.  Not to mention utter despair at B101.

We need a holistic substitute and I have one.  Since Christmas has morphed from - watch this - a Holy Day to an American Holiday, why not call it what it has, de facto, become: A Non-Denominational Winter Holiday.  Acryonym: ANDWHO.

The great thing about using Andwho is that it has the same number of syllables as Christmas and, strictly from the standpoint of combination of vowels and consonants, it is much softer to the ear.

It would be awkward at first.  We'd notice the change when we hear someone singing: "It's beginning a lot like Andwho."  But, we're not going to live forever.  In 20 years or so, everyone will become adjusted to the new word.

I'm dreaming of a white Andwho.

Just like the ones I used to know.


I'll be home for Andwho

You can count on me.

Please have snow and mistletoe

And presents around the tree.


You see the beauty of the idea? We won't have to change anything - we can have Santa, the mistletoe, the ribbons, the holly, the trees, the songs - we can have everything that makes the holiday grand except for one stinking word

Of course, there will be some glitches, such as the public playing of religious songs that have entered the slipstream of popular culture.  Can we ban Johnny Mathis's version of O Holy Night? That would cause a disturbance in the field. But, modern technology can provide an answer by allowing us to make slight alterations even in old songs:

O Holy Night

The stars are brightly shining.

It is the night

Of the alleged savior's birth.

Or how about:

 Silent Night, O What a Night

All is calm, all is bright

Sometimes we'll have to cut and snip. For instance, there's nothing wrong with:

O come all ye faithful

Joyful and Triumphant

O come ye, O come ye

To Bethlehem.

We could cut it off after the first verse or change it back to the original Latin Adeste Fidelis, No one knows what the hell that means.

Andwho is also flexible to encompass other religious holidays: Hanukkah, Kwanza, pagan winter solstice celebrations. And think of the joy on the faces of Jewish kids. Once he becomes untethered from Christmas, Santa Claus can visit their houses and leave presents under the Andwho tree. O happy day.

In conclusion, let's stop all this talk about taking Christ out of Christmas. Let's just take Christmas out of Christmas so we can party hardy and shop 'til we drop.


-- TF










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