Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oh, I Love a Parade

This weekend was the "Tulsa Christmas Parade". Maybe you heard about it on the national news over the past couple of weeks. Seems that when the parade first began, it was known as The Tulsa Christmas Parade, and it operated essentially under that name for many years. At some point, PSO (an electrical utility company) became the main sponsor of the parade and the name was changed to PSO Christmas Parade of Lights. In 2009, for whatever reason, the name underwent another change becoming the PSO Parade of Lights. This year--2010--McNellies, a local restaurant/pub and new sponsor of the parade--changed the name to McNellies Holiday Parade of Lights. You following all of this so far?

Traditionally, the parade has always featured images associated with Christmas, i.e. nativity scenes, signs proclaiming "MERRY CHRISTMAS", Santa Claus, people dressed up like elves, traditional Christmas carols played by marching bands, etc. All the stuff you'd expect to see in a Christmas parade...and low and behold, that's apparently what people saw at this year's parade. The thing that caused this parade to gain so much attention was the stance taken by Oklahoma's Senator Jim Inhofe who proclaimed he would not participate in this year's parade since they had taken Christ out of Christmas by not including the word "Christmas" in the parade's name.

There was a LOT of bantering back and forth on local talk radio stations, as well as multiple interviews with Senator Inhofe on several national news outlets. There was even talk of the Tulsa City Council not issuing a permit for the parade unless the word "Christmas", but in the end, the parade sponsors were granted their permit, Inhofe stood his ground and didn't show up...AND there were floats with Merry Christmas banners, nativity scenes, and Santa Claus.

Now, I must admit that I didn't attend the parade, but it wasn't because of the name change. It just didn't fit into our Christmas, er uh, holiday plans. It really didn't bother me that they changed the name, but in a way, it did seem silly to change it. Even without "Christmas" in the title, it seems the over-riding theme of the parade was...CHRISTMAS. So why avoid using the word?

Several callers to a local talk radio station said the name change was necessary to show the diversity of the holiday. Really? What diversity? Again, from what I heard, there wasn't an over-whelming number of Menorahs in the parade; the American Atheists didn't have a float in the parade; the Muslims didn't have a float, either. The local Satanist coven didn't bother to participate. It was mostly community groups/organizations and churches from what I could tell. There was a group of people, I'm assuming from a local SPCA or similar shelter that dressed up dogs in "Christmasy" outfits, but other than that...the theme of the parade was CHRISTMAS!

Christmas falls into two camps from where I sit: it's either about the birth of Jesus, or the fun story of a fat guy that rides around in a sleigh delivering presents to kids on Christmas eve...or maybe a little bit of both. I can live without the fat guy in the red suit although I'm not against him being part of the whole deal. For me, Christmas...the holidays, aka "HOLY DAYS" are a time to focus on the gift of God's Son, Jesus Christ, coming to earth as a baby. I guess what I'm asking is: if we take word "Christmas" out of holiday name, do we really feel that strongly about the fat guy to plan an entire celebration around him?

1 comment:

Man of the West said...

I didn't go. Seldom do. But the whole thing aggravated me. I loved the commercial Robinson Glass was airing on KRMG, which I took to be a direct slap at the whole notion. They want to sell, sell, sell Christmas presents and decorations and so forth to the overwhelming majority of the population, but because a handful of weirdos speak up about an alleged need for "diversity," they avoid actually mentioning what's at the center of the celebration as much as possible.

Those who don't want to celebrate Christmas, don't celebrate Christmas! But have the courtesy to learn when it's time to sit down and shut up and let somebody else have some harmless fun, y'know?

Just my two cents.