Because of that ongoing angst, and because I am still in the Christmas spirit, I offer some travel tips to the anti-Christmas crew in preparation for this December. If you don’t like Christmas, book your trip now.
North Korea: According to reporting by ForeignPolicy.com, that feisty little country does not permit the celebration of Christmas, and anyone caught worshiping Jesus can be tortured or executed. Sounds like Rhode Island. Right now, there are about 70,000 Christians in North Korean labor camps decking the halls with rocks and concrete 10 hours a day.
The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, even threatened “unexpected consequences” if the South Korean government allowed lights on trees within view of the border. Kim calls that a provocation and a mean form of “psychological warfare.”
Saudi Arabia: All non-Muslim religious activities are banned in public, so unless Santa puts a prayer rug in his sleigh and heads directly for Mecca, he is persona non grata in this nation. The Saudis even have a religious police force that runs around checking to see who has been naughty and nice in the Islamic context.
According to ForeignPolicy, several dozen Christmas trees imported from Holland were seized by Saudi authorities, hacked to pieces and sent back to the Netherlands. So there. No Christmas for you!
Cuba: Fidel Castro banned the holiday in 1969, saying Cubans were needed to harvest sugar cane on Dec. 25, and don’t even think about Christmas dinner. That ban lasted three decades until the Pope told Comrade Fidel to knock it off. Most Cubans are Catholic and didn’t really appreciate the government calling Santa a symbol of “consumerism” and “mental colonization.” When asked what exactly the “colonization” deal meant, Santa replied: “Ho, ho, ho.”
Today the Communist government does not decorate buildings (there is little private property in Cuba) but does allow Cubans to put up Christmas stuff inside. However, the Cuban air force is likely to fire on any reindeer intruding on the country’s air space.
Cuba, Saudi Arabia and North Korea give American secular progressives three good options by which to avoid Christmas in 2013. Also, there are no public displays of yuletide in Antarctica because there are no buildings. The country of Mali does not have much Christmas stuff going on, but watch out for al-Qaida. Finally, Bikini Island in the Pacific remains largely uninhabited, so there’s not much about Jesus on display.
Finally, I hope there is calm this year, especially in December. As Yoko Ono is fond of saying, let’s give peace a chance (and, by extension, drop the whining about Christmas).
If you can’t do that, Fidel and Kim will be happy to see you.