Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: The Grinch who loves Christmas |

Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: The Grinch who loves Christmas

To paraphrase Christine O’Donnell (GOP crazy person from Delaware), “I am not a Grinch.”

Yet each year I am asked the same question: Why, or how, do you love Christmas so much if you’re a non-theist?

Part of me wants to say it gets old, but to tell the truth it only means people are reading, so I don’t mind.

I answer the same way each December because it is simply true. The Christmas season is my personal favorite time of year, and I grew up calling it Christmas, so that’s what I call it now. (To be fair, though, I am ashamed to admit I also grew up surrounded by and using the N-word until I was mature enough to realize what a horrible and ugly insult it is).

I find nothing insulting about this time of year, nor do I think there is anything remotely valid about Fox News and their silly made-up annual “War on Christmas” tirade, which if anything is an invisible war with invisible victims about defending the honor of invisible beings. Non-theists and many non-Christians are attempting to uphold the U.S. Constitution (which I believe to be better conceived than any religious doctrine) to prevent any form of tyranny in the name of one deity or another.

But I digress.

Christmas is enjoying the solitude of an infinite number of snowflakes gently floating across my view in the hushed harmonics of cohesive silence while listening to George Winston’s “December” by firelight and holding my wife close, mesmerized by the blinking lights of a Christmas tree.

Christmas is cherishing my childhood memories of the Norelco Santa sliding down the snow on a razor and the sweetness of Dolly Madison Cakes while watching the original Rudolph, Grinch, and Charlie Brown Christmas Specials (now commercial free!) on DVD.

Christmas is listening to my 13-year-old as he babbles about being too old for “toys and stuff,” immediately followed by a five minute dissertation on why he “needs” certain items (newest iPhone, newest Call of Duty, etc.) as opposed to just “wanting” them.

Christmas is the night of the 23rd and enjoying our annual three-hour fondue dinner with my family and visiting relatives at the Swiss Chalet.

Christmas is relishing the experience of spreading smiles across the faces of all three of my boys as they distribute presents from under the tree and the 22- and 25-year-old pretending to be (almost) too cool to show excitement.

By the way, you do realize putting up a Christmas tree is a 3,000-year-old pagan tradition, right? In fact, any evergreen would do, as trees were not to be wasted as they are today.

Those pesky pagans worshipped nature and the winter solstice, with red representing animal sacrifice (which was – yuck – normal at the time) and green for the “new life” that they hoped would return in the spring.

Anyway, Christmas is a time for children, community, sharing, goodwill, friendship, brotherhood, joy, imagination, peace, hope, kindness, bright lights, brilliant colors, heart-warming music, mouthwatering tastes, the giving and receiving of gifts and the one calendar page when most people are nice to each other, at least for a week or two.

And I think that’s more than enough reason for someone , anyone, even a Grinch, to love Christmas.

So feel free to say whatever you want to me, from joyous Kwanza to happy holidays to happy Festivus (to appease Seinfeld fans) and everything in between, as I’ll smile either way because you took the time to say something nice in my general direction.

And never forget, one does not have to believe in magic to enjoy the magic of Christmas, no matter how loud Fox News shouts otherwise.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes weekly. He can be reached at

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