Musings From the Bench 12/15 Edition

musings from the bench-2I’m having trouble getting into the spirit of the things this year.  Too many people hurtin’ for money and they all want mine.  I’m not talking about the bell ringers for the Salvation Army, they’ll take pennies if that’s all you can afford to give them, I’m talking about the “for just $19.95 a month you can help…..” (fill in the blank).

Back when I was a tax paying wage earner and I had more discretionary income i used to send $10 or whatever to the Rescue Mission to provide however many turkey dinners that would buy for those in need.  I figured paying it forward in case I find myself at one of their tables some day might be a good thing.  Or donating the same amount to the Toy for Joy so some poor kid has something to open on Christmas Day.  But these days of fixed limited christmas scamsincome makes even these charitable donations a thing of the past.  But the need just doesn’t go away.  And because of that, people are being warned about scams going around, especially at this time of the year.  So, please protect personal information….credit cards, social security numbers, keep your doors locked and your family safe.  And if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t.  Okay, onto Christmas or “The Holiday”.


The powers that be in the town of Marshfield, Massachusetts have decided to rename Christmas Vacation by calling it Holiday Break instead. Now I don’t know much about Marshfield except that it sounds like a town Disney would have used in the making of the movie “Flubber” that starred Fred MacMurray, but if they have a large population of non-Christians then I guess the renaming makes sense to some. However, some people find it offensive to have decorated Christmas trees  on town property…specifically in front of Town or City Hall. One such town is Holyoke, MA.

holyoke christmas treeSome residents of Holyoke called City Councilor Daniel B. Bresnahan after seeing references on the city website about “City of Holyoke tree lighting” and “the tree at City Hall will be lit”. As Bresnahan states, “It seems pretty simple to me, pretty straight forward. It’s the Christmas season–Christmas presents, Christmas carols–I don’t see it as a threat to anyone. I don’t see this as supporting any particular religion.” So….Bresnahan has filed an order that states “The City of Holyoke adopt an ordinance in recognizing the term Christmas Tree and not Holiday Tree for our annual lighting of a tree at City Hall used during the Christmas season, and placed in front of the Holyoke City Hall.”

As Council President Kevin Jourdain said, “If you’re going to have a menorah, you’re not going to call it a holiday candle holder.”  The ordinance was expected to pass unanimously but residents in attendance at the meeting were shocked when the ordinance was defeated. From now on the decorated tree in front of City Hall will be known as the Holiday Tree. As one resident put it, “I’d better see the Holiday Tree decorated for 4th of July….that’s a holiday, too.

And just an aside to the whole Christmas tree being exclusively tied to Christ and Christianity…..”in many countries it was believed evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits and illness.”

But for myself, if you have the creche (Nativity Scene) on government property along with a Menorah you should remember just what the separation of church and state is all about.


There are always more than two sides to every story.

The American Atheists have billboards in Memphis, Nashville, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Arkansas which read “Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is to skip church!  I’m too old for fairy tales.”skip churchIt seems some closet atheists feel pressured to observe religious traditions snl-church-ladyduring the holidays.  I suppose Dana Carvey’s SNL character the Church Lady was based on a real person, but hey, different strokes for different folks. The fact is this is America with freedom of speech for all and no religious or non religious persecution. 

Just make sure when you ‘practice your religion with marijuana as your holy communion’, you do it in a State where weed is legal.  Here in Massachusetts back in the 60s a couple tried convincing a judge that smoking marijuana was part of their religion. When the judge asked how many people were in the congregation and the couple answered two, he bound them over for trial for possession.  


It’s rare to find someone who shares your birthday, the day not the year, although the same day and year would be awesome, but fellow blogger Earl J. Brewster author of the Blog About Nothing and I were both born on December 20th. It seems we share just about everything Sagittarian right down to the results of the many for-fun-only quizzes on Facebook. And since the next Musings From the Bench after this one will post after the 20th, I’m taking the opportunity to wish my birthday buddy a very happy birthday!  happy birthday

Thanks for reading Musings From the Bench 12/15 Edition.  Until next time.






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About Jane Gray 58 Articles
Born in the '50s, grew up in the '60s, got married in the '70s. Gave birth in the '80s and started collecting social security in 2013. My time is my own and I don't mind sharing my opinions on everything with everybody. I hate injustice, the truth is easier to remember than a lie. I like the New England Patriots, the Boston Celtics, the New York Mets, and that English futbol team from Liverpool.


  1. Whoa…. are personal messages allowed???? Just kidding… Happy B-day to you both, in advance… And, I’ll make sure I catch you both on the official holiday of your birth, too. 😉

    Ummm… btw.. should I post a holiday tree for ya’ll?

  2. Now then…. I ain’t a member of any religious society, organization, sect or cult or what have you, and, I have never felt pressure to celebrate any religious holidays what so ever. So, to all them atheists that claim that BS. Thbbbtttttt…..

    And, when did Christmas trees become associated with Christ or Christianity? Never knew that was a fact… ever. So, who started that BS?
    Christmas trees, Santa, Mrs. Claus, little elves, the North Pole and all that are just a secular holiday that is supposed to be for fun and for the kids, mostly. Big kids are allowed, too… 😉
    Unfortunately, it’s been co-opted as just another big marketing tool, but, the essence is still the same if people chose to keep that way. But as part of Christianity? Nope… it is not.

    However, your point about the separation of church and state is duly noted, and, I agree with the implication that I believe you are making.

  3. Thanks Jane. I’m very touched by the birthday shout out. The 20th is a great day to be born.

    Happy Birthday to us!

  4. Like many things we think of with Christmas, the tree comes from the Romans.

    20th, huh. Might be a good thing that the newest Snipes is gonna hold out another 48 hours for her birth-date.

  5. As the song says, “Jesus was a Capricorn”……that is if you believe he was born on December 25th and not sometime in the Spring as some binlical scholars believe.

  6. “Give onto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and give onto God that which is God’s.”

    As for the tree….so many religious traditions are based on their pagan counterparts that it’s easier just to believe having an evergreen tree in the house during the coldest, darkest time of year was with the idea you and yours would be protected from evil, witches, ghosts and sickness.

  7. I’ve about had it up to here with the knuckleheads that claim “Merry Christmas” is offensive to them. I suppose this is the result of our ever increasing immigrant population. I’d just like to remind them that, this is America. We celebrate Christmas here. You left your homeland to come here. You had no intentions of going back when you left. If my wishing you a Merry Christmas offends you, suck it up. I have no intentions of adopting any other holiday salutation. And just so we’re clear, Merry Christmas.

  8. I’ve heard about these “Christians” you claim to be one of. It doesn’t sound like they offer much if they are all so full of hate and intolerance as you are.

  9. Maybe I’m just different.

    I say Merry Christmas, and will continue to do so.
    If you say Happy Holidays, or Happy Hanukkah or Merry Kwanza, or Super Saturnalia, or Frikken Frog Stomping Day back. I’m fine with it.

    Jews came over, Protestants cams over, Muslims came over. Atheists came over.
    I’m fine with them holding the holidays as they want.

    I also think that Atheists shouldn’t get time and a half for working Christmas. (Hey, I don’t get time and a half for working Mardi Gras either)

  10. whoaaaa… atheists can’t get time and a half for working on Christmas? We talking Christmas as a religious day or Christmas as a day of partying and gift giving? Makes a big difference. if, its the partying Christmas then hell, yeah, they should get OT. 😉

    Now Mardi Gras… hell, them folk down there do that partying stuff just about 24/7… Mardi Gras is just an excuse to take it up another notch. Kinda like putting an extra shot of hot sauce in the Étouffée.

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