The war on Christmas is over people.
I don't want to try and make you understand a bunch of religious stuff that you are probably too cool to even try to comprehend. I also don't want to give you some boring history lesson because it depresses the hell out of me when people find History boring. But such is the case with this story that you're going to have to suffer a little of both.
The War on Christmas began the day after Christmas in 1530 when Martin Luther took the pulpit and delivered his Sermon on Christmas. Here he denounces the past holiday as a Roman Catholic ploy to trick people into worshiping the virgin Mary as an idol (something Catholicism never endorsed, and was pretty much made up out of whole cloth by Luther as he was smart enough to know better). He then goes on in what would become the great protestant tradition of turning religion into a legal battle of words of “he said, she said” and “if this then that” temporal nonsense. Essentially Luther proclaims that Christ came to the world for your benefit and no one else (least of all the Turks and Papists). That is all we need to take from Christmas according to Luther's War On Christmas Sermon of 1530.
In reality Protestants of the 16th century were very prim and proper people. So proper in fact they felt they had the monopoly on what actually defines “Proper”. They felt it was not proper to get wasted at Christmas, sing songs, give gifts and make babies. Make no mistake, this is what the Christmas holiday had been about up until Luther and Calvin came along. Wassailing was just a fun word for a certain ambulatory drunkenness and Protestants didn't care much for young men drunkenly wandering the streets shaking honest protestants down for what Protestants considered “illicit booze”. Always one to be splitting hairs, Luther denounced spirits but was a freak for beer. So that's how that whole shade of prohibition (i.e. beer good, everything else bad) came about.
As persecution of Catholics persisted down through the ages, and the Popes insisted on fighting against a little piece of rock with a good navy known as England instead of fighting for Catholics, real Christmas began to recede. Gone were the 12 days of Christmas because in the Bible there's only one day of Christmas and then the Holy Family is on the run. The rest of Luke's masterpiece is just a bunch of nonsense about physical gifts, wise men, the humbleness of shepherds and kick ass magic lighting effects in the sky. Why that just doesn't sound proper for the auspicious birth of the man who would legitimize slavery for us.
This is where we go from the 1530s. The rise of Protestantism and the rise of Slavery go hand in hand. The Pope, with a certain mendacity and weak will, had outlawed chattel slavery and replaced it with the slightly less awful version of slavery we see under Spanish rule in South America and the Caribbean. This wouldn't turn out to be good enough for true plantation style slavery which requires chattel slavery as the process of producing sugar literally consumed the lives of men and women in the fields and the rendering plants. Catholic slavery drew the line at this type of abuse and had to be chucked entirely. So witness the rise of the great Protestant state of England and the great slave state of... England. Not only did England possess large plantations in the Americas they also owned the entire slave trade. Make no mistake you haters of multi-national conglomerates, that style of business was invented by the British in order to make as much money as possible off the art of buying, selling and killing slaves in the sugar fields.
So I hope you can understand why a culture and society so committed to wealth would absolutely hate the Catholic ideal of Christmas. That a poor shepherd boy and a wealthy wise man could see through the BS of the world and both kneel before this wee baby was simply improper. The fact that able-bodied men would want to sit around and enjoy themselves for almost two weeks was licentious and would lead to rampant and unwanted baby-making. Ultimately, the fact that God could forgive the drunken, angry, murderous sins of all mankind was a simple heresy to your now 19th Century Protestant.
So what happened next? The bottom fell out of slavery, that's what happened. Smart and crafty business folk (probably Protestant to be fair) finally figured out how to grow sugar beet just about anywhere in the world you like. The market became increasingly saturated in sugar and prices started to tank. The new money had already shifted over to cloth, cotton specifically, but the Brits had figured out an even easier way to exploit labor than slavery. In India they had discovered that taking care of and providing for slaves was a real drag on profits. Instead in India one could pay “workers” less than a living wage and then simply let them starve to death in the streets.
(Ok, to be fair most of them died due to rampant disease but that was more strongly influenced by malnourishment and lack of sanitary conditions than any curse from God. Which by the way is how the English attempted to explain the great famines and epidemics that swept India during their reign. They would make the same claim against Catholics starving to death in Ireland as well and this was right on their doorstep.)
So the Worker has entered the scene, it's 1870, and now that the “proper” people are filthy stinking rich from killing their fellow man in the name of commodities and it was time for a kinder, gentler England. This wouldn't be too hard to accomplish because in 19th century England it was more like a modern Caliphate than a modern enlightened state. To be a bit more accurate, England was one of the harshest and frankly evil criminal justice systems in the world. Cutting thieves' hands off was routine and the public hanging of women common. So it was in this wonderful time when a lovely little socialist named Charles Dickens turned Christmas into a secular, social experiment to berate the world about generosity and gentleness. The modern Christmas handbook “A Christmas Carol” would be result of this work.
Now I love a Christmas Carol, it's a great story and the Muppets perfected it with their rendition. But the fact remains that Scrooge has led a miserable life of exploiting his workers in a terrible fashion. But all he needs to redeem himself after a lifetime of evil is to go out and buy a bunch of stuff for the truly needy. This is England's redemption then, for it had led a 300 year life of true evil inspired by business and slavery and now it needed social programs (especially public health for children like Tiny Tim) and handouts to the worker to save itself. Dickens was truly on a social-reforming mission when he wrote the book and in fact almost all of his work (as much as I like it) is mostly social darwinism, guilt and bureaucratic propaganda for secular social programs. A Christmas Carol is in fact, a great cultural appropriation of all Christmas, both Protestant and Catholic, and turned into a social welfare program.
This is the end of Christmas, the weapons were laid down and the War on Christmas was lost when the “enlightened” world signed up for this Dickensian drivel. That little shepherd boy and the wise man became “characters”, not actual historical figures (however represented) but tropes and metaphors for things we mere humans can never obtain. The only joy one can really have on a social scale is watching the Protestants as they descend into atheism and apostasy and turn Christmas into another time of exploitation, where those who need desperately to sell things to gain their worldly aspirations work tirelessly to convince poor people that one more piece of chintzy plastic will finally make them happy.
So what happened to Catholic Christmas? Like a lot of the old, great traditions, it's alive and well living in subversiveness. Christmas, at its core, whether you be Papist, Turk, Protestant or Pagan, is an intimate holiday and is best lived behind the closed doors of Family. One doesn't have to worry about the modern “War On Christmas”, because you only see that nonsense in the news and in the media. Once you step outside and into the world of “The Media” there simply is no Christmas to wage war on. That intimate Christmas we cherish more as a shared social memory than anything else, cannot be touched by ersatz social programs or what is at best guilt-washing by amoralists.
All I hope for is that the rise of “Happy Holidays” increases in momentum, that a politically correct world drives even the word Christmas to the underground. Then perhaps those of us who still relish the idea of an immaculate mother and a child sent to redeem us from our very selves can begin to define Christmas in the modern world. No dear world, your social programs and reparations will not forgive you then sin of slavery. Only a wee baby, who never did nothing to nobody that wasn't good, and real and sincere, dying on a cross of wood can redeem that. Fortunately for us all that child has already come and will come again but it won't be on Black Friday.