I owe that felicitous term to the ever-clever Ronan in a recent post at BCC (although he probably filched it from some other post). Brother Tomatoes then threw some gasoline on the fire with a typically erudite post at the no-longer-Typepad LDSLF. My take: I think it's great. It is the 200th anniversary of Joseph's birthday, so of course he is getting more attention than usual, but maybe he deserves it. I'll make a few quick points, then let you weigh in with a little Smithmas cheer of your own in the comments.
1. To celebrate historical figures, you can either choose their birthday or the day of their death (with Jesus getting celebrated on both dates). I'd rather focus on Joseph's birthday, despite the conflict with Christmas, than celebrate June 27, which would only put more emphasis on the already overplayed martyr theme.
2. Celebrating Joseph's birth and religious contributions is at least a religious theme. You might not have noticed, but Christmas has become a secular holiday for many people.
3. What is the ideal Christian alternative? Criticism of LDS Smithmas simpy assumes any Christian service is an improvement. Maybe, maybe not. I don't like Protestant Christmas celebrations that make it into a Jesus spectacle anymore than I like Easter celebrations that do graphic depictions of pain and suffering. I'm not sure how Smithmas-haters respond to a Catholic service ("here it's Christmas, and they still do the same 'ole mass; you'd think they'd do something special for Christmas!"). I don't think there is agreement over what a perfect or proper approach to Christmas celebration or worship is, so I'm not sure on what basis so many confidently proceed to critique the LDS approach.
4. The whole Smithmas complaint is overdone anyway (and boards predictably log the same set of complaints on it every year). The LDS ward that I'll be trudging off to on Christmas morning is holding a single one-hour meeting for all wards in the building that will be mostly music (and I doubt they'll be singing Praise to the Man). So what exactly is the problem?
5. The Church has spent all year commemorating Joseph Smith, so it can hardly ignore December 23. Let's give credit where credit is due: the Church hasn't run a lineup of faith-promoting pageants and firesides, they actually sponsored a variety of authentically substantive conferences and events discussing Joseph's life and accomplishments (which means his problems and failures have been discussed as well). Has anyone reflected on the fact that this seems to be a step forward? Quite a contrast to the approach LDS leaders were taking towards LDS scholarship as recently as twelve years ago.
If you like LDS Smithmas, tell us why. If you don't, how about sharing your own family, LDS, or non-LDS Christmas commemoration that strikes you as the right thing to do at Yuletide? It is the holiday season, after all. Merry Christmas to all.
[Note: the comment queue is on for the holidays, just in case the Grinch tries to comment while I'm off doing my Christmas shopping.]