The local Elementary school are collecting - gifts for the less privileged children in the school. I am asked to be generous at this time of year. Well - Christmas is for giving... But I am not ALLOWED to wrap any gift in Christmas paper as it might offend the recipient! Hang on a minute... What about offending the gift bearer? Who decided it might be offensive and that it wasn't allowed?
What if Mary had said to one of the wise men 'Sorry - I don't like your choice of gift wrap - it really doesn't go with my colour scheme' or 'Myrre? What the F**ks that? I'm homeless and just given birth and you bring Myrre!' or 'Frankinsence? Too spicy for me. I prefer Channel'. You get my drift (and don't get sanctimonious about the suggestion that Mary might swear- it's for effect!).
Now I know this 'political correctness gone mad' isn't only the remit of Americans. The Early Learning Centre introduced a pig ban from their play farms to avoid offending Muslims and Jews. (apologies for the Daily Mail link!!!) Such political correctness offends everyone and causes resentment and misunderstanding! It highlights a difference in culture and presents it as a barrier that isn't necessary. You wouldn't go to a Muslim country then be offended if they wouldn't have a bite to eat for lunch during Ramadan! I don't believe Muslims are offended by a cheery 'Happy Christmas'! To illustrate this and take religion out of it - it would be like going to a vegetarian's house for dinner and expecting them to cook a big slab of meat even though it would be offensive to them to do so. Equally you wouldn't invite a vegetarian to dinner without cooking some vegetables but it wouldn't stop you eating meat. This doesn't quite work as an analogy in America as they seem to consider shrimp (prawns) as vegetables. By any stretch of the imagination a shrimp isn't a vegetable even if some sprouts are more intelligent.
Why would someone who doesn't believe in Christmas be offended by the wrapping of a gift they need or want? It shouldn't matter what a gift is wrapped in - although I confess to being anally retentive about wrapping Christmas gifts in a themed colour that matches the tree. I decide on a colour scheme on Boxing day and spend the whole year obsessing about it- so for me the wrapping is everything! It shouldn't even matter what the gift is - but again I guess that isn't entirely true. The more you know someone the more it matters. When you give something to a complete stranger that they need because you have more and can - then how can the wrapping paper matter or offend? Putting that sort of offensive barrier makes me not want to bother at all. You have to think passed the ignorant bigots who make up these absurd rules in a superficial attempt to acknowledge other beliefs and cultures - to the true meaning of Christmas whatever you believe in. Cliched I know, but it is about giving - whether that is of time, of love or of gold frankincense and myrrh!