Still, she endures with good grace the endless loop of treacly Christmas music her store begins playing around Halloween. I bait her about it from time to time, and all she offers is a slightly weary smile.

My guess is she looks at Christmas the same way I do: Everybody's a little more cheerful at this time of year, and it's nice, and neither of us thinks of her little ties-and-gifts counter as a battleground.

From other quarters, however, Americans are being assured a religious war is underway.

Conservative mouthpieces and news outlets warn that "the right to celebrate Christmas is under attack," and that "challenges to religious freedom are taking place."

Satanists are apparently involved. (Like the ones who, according to Glenn Beck's conservative blog The Blaze, joined with atheists in the effort to remove a nativity scene from Florida's state Capitol building.)