I hope I'm not jinxing anything by asking this, but do you think we may be witnessing less "War on Christmas" media hype this year? It seemed the story was escalating annually, but I think we may have a reprieve this year. Not that there haven't been stories. Some genius Chicago officials created the first major entry into the annual rite, as reported by the Chicago Tribune's Emma Graves Fitzsimmons:
A Nativity display has a spot at this year's holiday celebrations in Daley Plaza. So does an Islamic crescent and a Jewish menorah.
But clips from a film celebrating the birth of baby Jesus are too much for the Christkindlmarket, a Christmas festival held at the plaza for more than 10 years.
The story is fairly representative of how most media outlets are handling the issue. (And thanks to all the readers who passed coverage of this story along.) The facts are being reported in a straightforward manner, with analysis provided by various religious and political representatives.
At first city officials said they banned The Nativity Story from sponsorship because it might offend people who aren't Christian, but then they completely changed their story. The new version is that they objected to the film because it was too commercial. And that apparently conflicted with the, uh, commercial nature of the marketplace. Fitzsimmons did a good job of following up on the city officials' latest excuse:
Other sponsors include the Hard Rock Hotel, Mercedes-Benz and Lufthansa airline. But while they, too, are commercial enterprises, their presence at the festival is more muted, city officials said.
The film studio was stunned by the news that the festival didn't want its $12,000.
"We don't understand why our sponsorship would be rejected for religious reasons, particularly considering the fact that our film details the story that inspired the holiday season that the Christkindlmarket was created to celebrate," New Line Cinema spokesman Robert Pini said in a statement.
Just a good and interesting story. In the few minutes since I started writing this post, another Christmas War story came across my screen. I think I really might have jinxed this. The Associated Press reports on a situation out of Vienna:
St. Nick, nein! A ban on St. Nicholas at Vienna's kindergartens is taking some of the ho-ho-ho out of the holidays for tens of thousands of tots this year. And it's creating a political ruckus, with opposition parties accusing City Hall of kowtowing to a growing Muslim population by showing Europe's Santa the kindergarten door.
I love all the information packed into the opening graph. And written in such a lively manner. I can only assume the writer's jaunty prose is an attempt to make what has now become a mundane story a bit more interesting.