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December 22, 2007

Shake Your Branches!

Filed under: Adam, Bill Bickel, Christmas, Christmas trees, CIDU, comic strips, comics, humor — Cidu Bill @ 12:02 am


Okay, I get that they’re singing traditional Christmas songson their way to pick out an artificial Christmas tree (whch they all seem quite happy about). Am I missing a joke here?


  1. I have a feeling that this might be a case of a one-panel joke that the artist tried to extend to a Sunday comic.

    Comment by Lindsey — December 22, 2007 @ 12:09 am

  2. Hmm. Could be a “statement” about secular versus sacred Christmas. All those carols they’re singing are secular, and “that’s not really what Christmas is all about!”

    To epitomize the experience, the carolers cut an artificial tree. They feel like they’re participating, but it’s not “really” the Christmas experience.

    Comment by brien — December 22, 2007 @ 1:25 am

  3. @ brien: What’s secular about “We wish you a Merry Christmas”? Otherwise, I thought you had it 😦

    Comment by Kit — December 22, 2007 @ 2:25 am

  4. I think you got the meaning of the comic and didn’t miss any jokes. It seems there is also an audience draw going on there. The audience is expected to believe that this is an authentic Christmas-loving family, who shares in all of the classic traditions of the holiday. We are then supposed to be surprised at the hollow, metallic, fake looking trees that they need wirecutters instead of a saw for.

    Comment by bAT L. — December 22, 2007 @ 3:59 am

  5. #3 Kit, I’m with #2 Brian: “We wish you a Merry Christmas” is a secular Christmas song. Other than the mention of Christmas, and the oblique reference to “good tidings” in some versions, there’s certainly nothing religious or spiritual about the lyrics.

    Comment by Ooten Aboot — December 22, 2007 @ 7:51 am

  6. @#5:
    Wishing someone a “Merry Christ’s Mass” is secular?

    Comment by Curmudgeon — December 22, 2007 @ 9:55 am

  7. I think the joke (such as it is) is the idea of artificial trees being sold at an outdoor lot, arrayed as though it were an actual Christmas tree farm, where purchasers have to chop down their selections. (Apologies if my comment belatedly shows up three times — I keep getting an error message.)

    Comment by SatchelFan — December 22, 2007 @ 10:27 am

  8. I agree with Lindsey

    Comment by Powers — December 22, 2007 @ 10:51 am

  9. “Wishing someone a “Merry Christ’s Mass” is secular?”


    Comment by Paul — December 22, 2007 @ 11:51 am

  10. I figured the joke was in the sign “Hack saws, wire cutters here”

    To cut down a wooden tree you need an ax. To cut down an artificial you need a hacksaw (for the metal) and a wire cutter (for the light strings)

    Comment by Shah — December 22, 2007 @ 12:04 pm

  11. I think the joke is the juxtaposition between the traditional Christmas carols and buying an artificial tree. That juxtaposition is highlighted by the final panel where there is a sign that says the sign “Hack saws, wire cutters here”

    Comment by Nicole — December 22, 2007 @ 1:26 pm

  12. The phrase “Merry Christmas” is completely 100 percent secular. In modern usage, it’s as deity-free as saying goodbye.

    (Yes, if you object to the Christmas holiday because of its etymology, I am hinting that you check the etymology of “goodbye.”)

    Comment by brien — December 22, 2007 @ 3:20 pm

  13. Curmudgeon, if the mere mention of Christmas makes a song sacred, I want to attend the church where they sing, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” That’d be cool. 😉

    Comment by Molly — December 22, 2007 @ 7:00 pm

  14. PLEASE NOTE: The following comment is meant *entirely in jest* and is not intended to be taken at all seriously or personally: Would “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” count as sacred? The lyrics contain the word “Christmas” more than once, even if it’s not in the title. (Sorry, I’m in a bit of a silly mood this morning. Must be the coffee kicking in.)

    And with all the explanations above, I still don’t “get” this strip. Or maybe I do, and it’s just not funny. . . .

    Comment by Susan T-O — December 23, 2007 @ 10:10 am

  15. Since “Christ” did not exist, “Christmas” is as much about “Christ” as “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” is about an actual gift horse.

    Comment by Francois Tremblay — December 23, 2007 @ 3:05 pm

  16. At the risk of stating the obvious, telling someone to enjoy the holiday celebrating the birth of the son of God is not 100% secular. It certainly has non-religious components and it may be a largely secular holiday for some of you—which I understand, since I’m not Christian, and celebrate Christmas. But I certainly know Christians for whom it’s an important religious holiday, and Jews for whom it’s a holiday that it’s important that they not celebrate, since it’s the holiday of a different religion. Claiming that it’s a 100% secular holiday is like claiming that the Fourth of July is a general holiday for freedom, regardless of which country to live in (maybe some people make this argument to; if so, I don’t want to know about it).

    What I find most bizarre and maddening about the manufactured outrage over the so-called “War on Christmas” is that I hear two complaints: (1) “They” keep trying to take the Christ out of Christmas and (2) Christmas is a holiday for everyone regardless of their faith. I mean, either argument on it’s own is insane but hearing them used side-by-side makes my head explode.

    Comment by Autumn Harvest — December 24, 2007 @ 10:40 am

  17. When I wish someone a “merry Christmas” I’m not assuming they are Christian, nor am I forcing Christian ideals upon them. I am wishing them good times during this part of the season and I often find that people of every culture return the greeting. Then again, I usually abstain from saying it, partially to avoid all of the controversy. I’ve been wished a happy Hanukkah before and I returned it in the same way, even though I’m not at all Jewish. (I do have Jewish cousins, but that’s beside the point.) If someone wished me a happy Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Life Day, etc., I would return it kindly because I want people to be happy regardless of what they believe. This is just me, however, and might be because I don’t go crazy over minute details regarding religion or … well, anything, really.

    It reminds me of someone yelling at me for saying “Bless you” after he sneezed. I replied, “That’s the thing about blessings; you don’t have to accept them.” Speechless, the guy walked away.

    Comment by bAT L. — December 24, 2007 @ 10:46 pm

  18. Well said, bAT L.

    The thing that often gets lost in all of this is that we all have the power to choose what we take offense to. If we all simply choose to turn the sensitivity meter just a tad to the left (especially those that go to 11), we’d all be just a bit happier.

    I’m not Christian, but it is now December 25th and so I’ll happily wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

    Comment by Robverb — December 25, 2007 @ 12:48 am

  19. bat L and Robverb, I think it’s great that the two of you are so easy-going and difficult to offend. But I’m a little puzzled who your remarks are addressed to, since I don’t see anyone in this thread who takes offense to being told “Merry Christmas.” Nor do any of my non-Christmas-practicing friends react with anger when told “Merry Christmas,” nor have I seen commentators or interviewees on the news telling me that I shouldn’t wish people “Merry Christmas.” I’m familiar with a great number of people, many of them with control of major media programs, who take offense at hearing “Happy Holidays,” or it being called the “holiday season,” but that doesn’t seem to be what you’re talking about. So who are these “Merry Christmas”-hating fiends that you’re addressing your comments to?

    Comment by Autumn Harvest — December 26, 2007 @ 11:24 pm

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