Its 4:37am local time, and im having trouble crashing out (im guessing, due to the red bull drank earlier to wake me up), so ill use this time to write here about a subject that has amused (and irritated) me for the last few years.
Some could say im 4 months late (or 8 months early) for this topic, but ill cover it anyway. The War On Christmas.
Ive heard about this so called “fight” in the media for the last few years. And even come across one person (a customer I served at my old gas bar job) whom proudly wore a badge reading “Keep The Christ In Christmas”. Something I found hilarious, because he always threw his cards at me, and was the most miserable old FUCK I knew (did I mention, his cards identified his employer to be the local child protective agency (Child and Family Services)?).
Even on facebook, members of the family would pass on these idiotic defending Christmas oriented memes. Telling there friends about how they are PROUD to say “Merry Christmas!”, instead of the less Christ-inclusive “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings“.
And indeed, the holidays have changed a lot. Not because of us evil asshole atheists, but because the world has woken up and recognized that Christians are not the only group that has holiday celebrations in the last part of December. And some groups do not celebrate at all. Not all non-celebratory groups are secular either. The world has become a very diverse place, and so our society is recognizing that.
But I do see one thing that has managed to hijack “Christmas”, and pretty much every other holiday that there is. And its not secularism either! Its capitalism.
I have never known an “old” Christmas, but for me personally, it is a holiday that is meant for family interaction. A time to get together with friends and relatives, maybe have a bite to eat or a few drinks. And its also a time, to be charitable (though, arguably, the time for that is every day, but I digress . . .) .
But today, I see the vast majority of people interpreting the “charity” aspect of the holiday, as meaning a shopping spree on gifts for all there family and friends. People go into debt, and get overly stressed out, just to fill in that Christmas list. Or are proud to brag about gaining 20 pounds because of all they ate.
And the holiday is no longer about spending time with family, its more about gifts. How many, what kind, what do I want. Children now grow up feeling entitled to a gift or 20 every Christmas (and feel compelled to give in the same way). And if you watch many children’s cartoons, they also add to this problem to.
I know people, now grown adults, with this childish crap still firmly engrained in there brains. But im glad, to have kicked the Christmas shopping habit.
It happened a few years back, after there was a family scrap between my father and another family member, because he had forgotten to bring her gift with us when we left town (it was bought and wrapped, just at home, 200kms away). The family member and my sis were visibly upset that the gift had stayed home.
All I thought was, we have not seen each other in over 6 months. And your telling me, that a mistake that could happen to anyone, a FUCKING forgotten present, is more important then our mere presence? We drove 200kms, and your mad we left the GIFT?!?!
That left me kind of ticked off, but I made a change the next year in my holiday spending. Instead of the normal spending spree on useless materialistic crap that would eventually get thrown out or shelved (and that we REALLY, do not need), I put the money to charity’s. The first year I donated to Drs without boarders.
In following years, when the funds were available, I donated to a wide variety of organizations, from a local mission in Winnipeg (to help some less fortunate have a good meal), to environmental charities, to humanitarian charities. I do have a very short gift list (parents and a couple friends), but otherwise ive sworn off gifts totally. I do not give, but I do not expect either.
Part of the reason I gave up giving, was because of the ecological costs of Christmas. When you consider all the factors (materials used in all that Christmas “crap” were buying, fuel used in shipping the stuff, AND fuel used in moving ourselves all over the country), the Christmas footprint on the enviroment is HUGE.
The above is a link to the song “Christmas Time Is Killing Us”, from the 2010 Family Guy Christmas Special. Still a favorite of mine, because of the underling message of the episode, made brilliantly clear by the song.
But another reason I quite following the Christmas crowd, was the whole stress part. Preparing for a holiday of happiness, should NOT be stressful. And yet people make it so.
But I admit, one of the bigger Christmas spirit killers, was people themselves. Being in retail, I got to serve people, and they often showed no respect at all. They didn’t at the gas bar where I worked, and they don’t at the grocery store I work at (leaving carts all over the lot, among other things).
At first, the thought of dropping the shopping seemed an ENORMOUS task, since I didn’t know how other people would react to it. But then I realized, it is not there money that is at play, it is YOURS. You can spend it on whatever you want (or not spend it!), and if they don’t like it, to bad.
Fortunately enough, some family members had already started doing this, so it wasn’t all that new. I admit, I didn’t even donate this year, but im hoping to make up for it this summer upon getting a more secure financial platform.
But, the point of the post is this. Though Jesus gets his name dragged into this debate all the time, im thinking he would be appalled by what Christians consider a proper “Christmas” today.
So if you find yourself running around the grocery store and the big box, going into debt and stressed to the max, all in preparation to the most happy holiday of the year, consider this all when judging who the great “Christmas Killer” is.
Secularists. Or Capitalists.