About a month ago I sat in my livingroom half-watching TV when a commercial comes on. I hear a bunch of 20-somethings chanting a cheerleader like holiday themed cheer:“Go Christmas! Go Hannukah! Go Kwanzaa! Go Solstice!” …What was that??? “Go Solstice???” AWESOME!
I didn’t even know what the commercial was for…and I just didn’t care! It was the first vastly multi-cultural ad campaign I had seen since Virgin Mobile’s “Happy ChristmaHanuKwanzaakah” Campaign (circa 2004). THIS was even bigger though, as it actually mentions the Winter Solstice, thus acknowledging the Holiday that multitudes of Wiccans and Pagans celebrate.
Who was this visionary all inclusive company?? The GAP.
I was a Happy Pixie And it seems I was not the only one! A discussion popped up on Sacred Mists, and the number of comments that echoed my feelings appeared in droves.
Then…we heard that certain Christian groups had their knickers in a twist about it. Really??? Aren’t there bigger fish to fry in the world? *Ughhh* Anyway, it seems that the American Family Association feels that the commercial is undermining the ‘sanctity of Christmas’. Before the commercial even aired, the AFA called for a boycott on The GAP, along with the company’s other stores Banana Republic & Old Navy, citing “the company’s failure to use the word “Christmas” in its advertising to Christmas shoppers.” as it’s reason.
On November 11th, the AFA claimed a small victory after the ads airing because of the use of the word “Christmas”. And yet, they were less than satisfied. The following letter appears on their website:
Gap has responded to AFA’s call for a Christmas boycott of their Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic stores with a commercial that takes a cavalier approach towards Christmas.
The video entitled Ready For Holiday Cheer features a group of people dancing and chanting:
Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, Go Kwanza, Go Solstice.
Go classic tree, go plastic tree, go plant a tree, go add a tree,
You 86 the rules, you do what feels just right.
Happy do whatever you wanukkah, and to all a cheery night.
Did you notice it? Gap compares Christmas to the pagan holiday called “Solstice.” Solstice is celebrated by Wiccans who practice witchcraft!
Gap also encourages you to “86″ or “dismiss” traditions and “do what feels just right.”
Take our Poll!
It is very important that you forward this alert to your friends and family members.
Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association
I, personally am tickled that they are horrified that Christmas is compared to Solstice. It SHOULD be compared to the Solstice, since that is where many of the beliefs and traditions of Christmas are taken from.
What disappoints me, however, is that a blog by Cathleen Falsani, a religious contributor to The Chicago Sun-Times, touts Christmas as better than the other holidays mentioned.
But this year’s Gap “holiday” ad campaign just rubs me the wrong way.
In its effort, I would surmise, to be inclusive and inoffensive, the Gap has made the mortal advertising (and cultural) error of being twee. Not to mention spiritually facile.
While they all occur around the same time of the year, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice hardly carry the same spiritual weight.
While each of these holidays, for lack of a more universally applicable term, is significant to different groups of believers (and nonbelievers, for that matter) they are not spiritual equivalents.”
She repeatedly points out that Hannukah is a lesser Jewish Holiday while portraying Christmas as the ‘ultimate’ Christian holiday. This is not so. The highest of all Christian holidays is Easter, not Christmas, and Good Friday is also pretty high up on the ladder. Christmas just gets more focus by those who call themselves Christians. Yet, in the many religious discussions I have had with friends and co-workers thoughout my life, they all say that, while the Birth of the Savior is obviously important, his Crucifixion, and his Rising at Easter hold much more spiritual weight.
The Winter Solstice is MUCH more than just “…the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year and is for many pagans and neo-pagans the symbolic and spiritual rebirth of the year.” as Falsani states.
The Winter Solstice, or Yule, celebrates the rebirth of the Sun God. The Sun God, regardless of the Pantheon, is the Bringer of Life. He is the one who warms the Earth so that she may bear fruit from the seeds that have been lying dormant in her womb throughout the Winter. It is a time for introspection, planning for the future, family togetherness, and Peace and Tolerance.
So, I would like to say to anyone that may be reading this: Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Happy Kwanzaa. I also wish many Blessings for Alban Arthuan, Saturnalia, Soyal, Rohatsu, or whatever you may be celebrating this time of year.
And last, but certainly not least…GO SOLSTICE!
As we get closer and closer to Yule, I have found my thoughts drifting to those who are serving in the Military. Programs for sponsering a Servicemember abound…but there are few that are specifically geared towards those of the Pagan Persuasion.
I did come accross a few while looking for information to post to the Political Pagans Board at Sacred Mists that are certainly worth a mention here as well.
The first is Operation Circle Care, a program through Circle Sanctuary that sends care packages containing Pagan books/magazines/CDs/etc to active duty Pagan & Wiccan Soldiers who are stationed in war zones.
The beauty of this program? It is not restricted to the Yule Season, it is carried out year round.
(For more information, click the Operation Circle Care Link above.)
Another option is brought to you by the folks at PagansUnited.org
Pagans United Member, SPC Keith Roberts, has volunteered to distribute care packages to Pagan soldiers stationed in Iraq.
Care Packages can be sent to the following address for distribution:
SPC Keith Roberts
HHOC STB G2 OPS
APO AE 09342
So, what should you send??? Below are some suggestions for items needed for both Spiritual and Everyday use.
- Alter Cloths
- Pagan/Wiccan Books
- Pagan CDs
- Candles (tea lights & small spell candles)
- Crystals (ones with properties for protection & healing would be appropriate)
- Witch’s Calendars/Datebooks
- Protective Herbs
- Small God/Goddess figures
- AT&T Phone Cards
- Foot Powder
- Newly Released DVDs & CDs
- Razers & Shaving Cream
- Baby Wipes (they use them when without water)
- Coffee, Tea, Hot Cocoa
- AA Batteries
- Snacks (Cookies, not-so-melty candy, granola bars, chips, nuts, etc.)
- Blank Note Cards, Stationary, Pens
- Avon Skin So Soft
- Chewing Gum
- Powdered Sports Drinks (like Gatorade)
Do NOT Send:
- Obscene articles (prints, paintings, cards, films, videotapes, etc).
- Firearms (apparently some have tried *slaps forehead*)
- Any matter depicting nude or seminude persons, pornographic or sexual items, or non authorized political materials.
- Bulk quantities of religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith. (Items listed above, for the personal use, are permissible.)
- Pork or pork by-products.
- Liquor of any kind
I also stumbled upon is Operation Yule Log for Our Pagan Troops. This program, organized by Rev. Kay J. Ahl & Peter Barrington, is looking for people to hand craft small Yule Logs to be used by active duty Pagans in Iraq. Instuctions for how to craft a Yule log and where to send it can be found in the Press Release (click link above to read full details).
I realize it may be getting cutting it pretty close, but even if you cannot do it this year, it’s a marvelous idea to keep in mind for future Yuletide Giving.
If you do not have the time or money to put together a care package, please consider sending cards and letters to Brighten the Spirits of our Pagan Brethren who are putting their lives on the line to Serve & Protect our freedoms, as well as those of the citizens of the countries in which they are stationed.
For a list of Wiccans & Pagans serving in the Military check out this Witchvox page: Witches, Pagans & Heathans in the Military.
Whether you choose to send a package, or write letters, it’s good to know when you should send them by. The US Postal Service has released a chart with recommended ship by dates for this year, as well as other useful information. Find this info here: Sending Military Mail in Time for the Holidays.
Wishing you and all those who Serve a very Blessed Yule.