With 96 percent of Americans celebrating Christmas (and probably a higher rate on the President's mailing list), I would like the card to mention Christmas - but I don't object to this one. Also, there are minor but noteworthy differences from the Christmas Tree controversies:
What's missing from the White House Christmas card? Christmas.
This month, as in every December since he took office, President Bush sent out cards with a generic end-of-the-year message, wishing 1.4 million of his close friends and supporters a happy "holiday season."
Many people are thrilled to get a White House Christmas card, no matter what the greeting inside. But some conservative Christians are reacting as if Bush stuck coal in their stockings...
The wording... has often flip-flopped. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter put "Merry Christmas" in their 1977 card and then switched to "Holiday Season" for the next three years. Ronald and Nancy Reagan, similarly, began with a "Joyous Christmas" in 1981 and 1982 but doled out generic holiday wishes from 1983 to 1988. The elder President Bush stayed in the "Merry Christmas" spirit all four years, and the Clintons opted for inclusive greetings for all of their eight years.
The current Bush has straddled the divide, offering generic greetings along with an Old Testament verse.
To some religious conservatives, that makes all the difference.
- There is one White House Christmas Tree in one location, but 1.4 million cards sent throughout the country.
- Trees are unique to Christmas, cards aren't. As one Orthodox rabbi responded to the Christmas tree controversy, "Using an ambiguous term that implies it has significance to Judaism is, in my opinion, extremely offensive to Jews (and presumably members of other religions) and is simply inaccurate."
I especially like the playful pets.