Historic Christmas Day Truce Breaks Out in #WarOnChristmas

In a series of spontaneous Christmas morning events that have taken place across the country, combatants from both sides of the War on Christmas have laid down their arms and ventured out of their trenches into no-man’s-land, where they met their enemies face to face and interrupted the slaughter.

Ground Zero in the War on Christmas

Apparently the Christmas holiday evoked a sense of nostalgia for family and good neighborliness, and found weary fighters sharing cups of hot cocoa and family snapshots with their enemies in the contested hallways and food courts of shopping malls across the U.S.

A century ago, in 1914, a similar Christmas day truce took place on the battlefields of World War I. General Fitzgerald A. Grinch, who commands the U.S. forces pressing the War on Christmas in the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania, described the scene with tears in his eyes.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in all the many wars I’ve been in,” Grinch told reporters. “I mean, we will never give up in our national War on Christmas, but just for today, to stop the carnage and the killing for even a few hours, because, I mean, hey, after all, it’s Christmas… it’s inspiring.”

Even Starbucks stores got in on the one-day truce. Green beret baristas who’ve been ardently attacking Christmas on behalf of our nation were seen, for the first time, speaking with pro-Christmas guerrillas, and even handing out free samples. Mall Santas came out from their dug-in positions in Hobby Lobby stores to share an Auntie Annie’s pretzel or two with enemy troops from elite Happy Holidays commando units.

Tomorrow, our nation will resume its fight against the tyranny of Christmas, with Starbucks leading the charge. But for a few hours today, everyone’s common humanity is rising above it all, because Christmas.




Reading Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth


I’ve become a lot more interested in understanding World War I over the past couple years, largely because of the research I had to do to teach a course called “Israelis and Palestinians” as an adjunct instructor in the Judaic Studies department at the U of Oregon. The more I read, the more I realized the enormous role that “The Great War” played in laying the groundwork for the future Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for the screwed up politics of the Middle East to this day. I guess, more specifically, I would say that I learned a lot more about the influence of WWI and the decisions and agreements made by the victorious Allies after the war on the Middle East.bible sword

That sparked my interest in gaining a better understanding of late 19th / early 20th century history. I had long ago read Barbara Tuchman’s Guns of August, but last year I discovered a lesser known book of hers, Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour, which helped me better understand the multiple motivations that the British had leading up to the British Mandate over Palestine.

And now, when I read books that mention people like Lord Herbert Kitchener, Herbert Samuel, Arthur Balfour, Harry St John Philby (and his traitorous son, Kim Philby), I have a better sense of how their beliefs and decisions shaped the dynamics of the Middle East to this day.

A British gov't WWI propaganda poster seeking to motivate men who hadn't enlisted through social pressure.
A British gov’t WWI propaganda poster seeking to motivate men who hadn’t enlisted through social pressure.

A couple weeks ago, I heard an NPR story about the recently released movie, Testament of Youth, based on Vera Brittain’s 1933 memoir of the same title. Whoever was being interviewed described Brittain’s book as hands-down the best memoir ever published in terms of describing the impacts of WWI on much of English youth.

I thought that by reading her book – the work of a woman who grew up in rural English society and became a nurse during the war – I might gain some insight into the mindset of the post-war British population, since their experiences, fears, hopes, and assumptions strongly influenced the political decisions the British government took in the decades to follow.

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