And sugary sweetness filled the air.
Would 46 years ago qualify as the good old days? Surely.
That was when I spent my first Christmas season on the main campus of Indiana University in Bloomington. When the decorations went up on various campus buildings - lights depicting candles and trees and Santa and suchlike - I was outraged. I speechified at friends and dorm mates that this was a violation of Separation of Church and State. This was long before the War on Christmas (TM) got under way; I was ahead of my time.
Some fellow students reacted with bewilderment. "It's always been this way! How could this be wrong?" "It's always been wrong," I said, "no matter how old the custom is."
Others reacted with condescension. "Christmas is no longer a religious festival, as it was in the Good Old Days of my childhood. It's purely commercial now." To which I said, "Turn on the radio. Any station." One guy did, and some Christmas hymn or other, probably "Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful", blared out. He laughed and agreed that I had made my point. You could try the same experiment now, in the days right before Christmas, with the same result.
Another said, "Would it satisfy you if we put up one of those candelabra things the Jews use for Hanuka, alongside the Christmas decorations?" So I explained that Hanuka bears no relationship to Christmas and has been perverted by American Jews so that they won't feel left out when their neighbors do the Christmas thing. And moreover, if you added a menorah, wouldn't you also have to add decorations for every other religion? And moreover, even if that were done, it would still be a violation of Separation because the "Church" in that phrase wasn't meant to refer literally only to the Christian church. See what a precocious and not infrequently obnoxious kid I was?
So finally the sweet, old Christmas spirit came gushing forth. One of boys present glared at me and yelled that the Jewish merchants in Indianapolis, where he was from, had no problem taking Christian money during the heavy Christmas shopping season. I told him that they'd be fools not to take the money, so long as the Christians were such fools as to spend it. The discussion ended at that point.
Ah, the good old days! Sniffle.