President Obama’s holiday card has been released, with a photo of his family and the greetings of the season. It’s the last one he will send from the White House. Unfortunately, for a few folks, including Sarah Palin, the card was supremely offensive. Moreover, it’s not the first time the first family has sent Palin scrambling for her safe place.
What could President Obama have done, in a Christmas card, to so shock and offend? Well, as it happens, that’s the problem: It isn’t just a Christmas card. Instead, it wishes Happy Holidays — a greeting that includes those who celebrate Hannukah (beginning December 24 this year), Kwanzaa (beginning December 26), and Solstice (December 21) — among others, rather than only the single biggest, splashiest, most commercialized holiday of the season.
Palin posted on social media, linking to a Young Conservatives article that bemoans not only the wish for a joyous holiday season, but the price of Malia and Sasha Obama’s dresses and the absence of the White House in the photo.
Palin’s own commentary focused on Obama’s failure to make her own preferred holiday the sole celebration in his card.
“Merry Christ… er… scratch that. We Are the Obamas and It’s Some Random Holiday!”
It’s not the first time the former Alaska Governor has been offended by the Obama family’s holiday greetings.
According to the Los Angeles Times, she complained in 2011 that the card, which featured the first family’s dog in front of a fireplace inside the White House, didn’t focus sufficiently on faith, family, and freedom.
White House 2011 Christmas Card. I need to find a table like that. pic.twitter.com/CCYRw9kk
— Cheryl (@Hushes) December 21, 2011
Using an inclusive holiday greeting isn’t new for the Obama family, either, or even a development since they entered the White House — the Huffington Post’s Phil Lewis located a 2006 holiday card from the family that also wishes the recipient “Happy Holidays.”
Obama Holiday Cards, 2006 & 2016. pic.twitter.com/4wJRivA7SU
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) December 10, 2016
But does President Obama really wage war on Christmas? Are his holiday wishes only given in generalities, or is he willing to say, “Merry Christmas?” As it happens, this very controversy arose last year, when social media users expressed shock that POTUS would tweet “Happy Kwanzaa” after failing to recognize Christmas.
It wasn’t true then, either.
Not only did President Obama tweet Christmas-specific holiday greetings, both from his personal and his POTUS account, and acknowledge military members, but he also expressed Christmas wishes in his weekly address. Additionally, Michelle Obama tweeted her own Christmas wishes as well.
Merry Christmas, and happy holidays to you and yours—big or small. pic.twitter.com/knZUoQidcl
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 25, 2015
From the Obama family to yours, Merry Christmas! And a special thank you to all our men and women in uniform this holiday season.
— President Obama (@POTUS) December 25, 2015
Wishing you and all your loved ones a very Merry Christmas! pic.twitter.com/NCAfV2TbJW
— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) December 25, 2015
Then, of course, there’s the fact that the Obama family has upheld the tradition of decorating the White House for Christmas, with holiday celebrations that include the delivery of the official White House Christmas tree in a horse-drawn carriage, a display devoted to military members, and attendance at an annual tree lighting ceremony.
It doesn’t exactly sound like the Obama family is anti-Christmas or refuses to acknowledge the holiday. He doesn’t even ignore the religious aspects of it, although many do celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday. In last year’s video (above), President Obama specifically acknowledges Christmas as a celebration of the birth of Christ.
However, it’s quite understandable that Sarah Palin would express outrage and offense at the Obama family holiday card — it’s easier to use Christmas and the “War on Christmas” to sell your books and promote your own political agendas when you pretend that POTUS is actively trying to take Christmas away from the American people.
— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) December 2, 2015
What’s more offensive — President Obama’s holiday card wishing joy to all, regardless of what they celebrate, followed by specific greetings as each holiday actually occurs, or the use of faux outrage over those holiday greetings to commercialize and politicize a holiday enjoyed by religious and secular Americans alike?
[Featured Image by Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images]