The truth about Christmas

The Christmas season is upon us once again, and no joyous season would be complete without the bitching and moaning of the sanctimonious killjoys. And by that, I mean two types: those who think there is a 'war on Christmas' (Christmas Crusaders) and those who are humbugs about the holiday as it really is (Charlie Browns). Lets review these two sad groups and how wrong they both are to build up some yuletide cheer.

Here's my Christmas disclaimer: I am not a Christian but have always loved Christmas. And I see absolutely no conflict there, for the reasons listed below.

First, the Charlie Browns who bah-humbug Christmas for being too 'commercial' and fear that people are going to forget the 'true' meaning of the holiday. These folks are usually older and somehow remember a time when the holiday was not so commercial. They are either ignorant or rabidly unattached to reality about Christmas or they're just really griping about how old they are. In the 70s, when I was little, I remember adults complaining about how commercial it had gotten. Now I hear people my age say the same thing. Nothing is changing, it's just the effects of aging and selective memory. The Charlie Browns are not that bad though. Many had a perfect Christmas once and they're upset that it can't happen again. But I wish they would stop worshipping that Prozac-inducing Christmas special.

At least they're only trying to depress people, which is less harmful than what the Christmas Crusaders intend. And naming these nutjobs is almost as good as a description of what they believe. Fox News, Bill O'Reilly and most recently John Gibson, who is putting out a book about how evil invisible liberals are trying to kill Christmas.

Under a thin guise of aggrieved victimhood, they are trying to hijack the holiday and turn it into a Christian-only holiday. These guys think that not being able to sing religious Christmas songs in public schools is somehow going to stop millions of people from celebrating Christmas. Every utterance of Happy Holidays is an insult to them, and they actually keep track of what stores are not saying Merry Christmas in their ads and to customers. (Note to nutjobs: there are actually other holidays during this season and they don't all revolve around your religion. Also, if you hate the commercialism of the holiday like the Charlie Browns, wouldn't you rather have the stores leave Christmas out of their sales circulars?)

While they complain that non-Christians are trying to ruin the holiday by de-religioning it, what they're really trying to do is finally hijack it and turn it into a Christians-only holiday. There's a long repressive history here. Cromwell tried the same by outlawing Christmas in England in the 1600s because it was too joyous and Massachusetts own Puritans tried to ban any kind of fun or celebration other than church services in the same century. They hate Santa, see, and that's un-American. Your on notice, nutjobs.

For the Crusaders and the Charlie Browns, they really wish that Christmas would return to being a holiday it never was, namely a pious celebration of the birth of Jesus with no commercial, earthly or material falderall. Boy, is that going to be an uphill battle - Lucy has been pulling the football away on these losers for about 1600 years now.

The history of Christmas is pretty clear - it extends way before the birth of Christ. It's a winter solstice celebration that the days will get longer, the sun will return and life will blossom again in the next year. It has often been a celebration of the coming of spring and the worshipping of various gods, such as the Mesopotamian god Marduk, the Egyptian god Ra, the Persian god Mithra, the Roman god Saturn, the German god Oden, etc. The holiday itself has been called, among others, Sacea, Saturnalia, and now Christmas. The truth is that it has always been about the partying and good times - the religious flavor of the day has just been an excuse. And the fact that middle-aged Christianity (several centuries after Christ died) felt the need to snuff out the fun by dropping a solemn religious celebration on traditional partying is a wine stain on Christianity's starchy cassock.

So as the O'Reilly types of the world try to get everything renamed Christmas in a our-religion-is-more-legit-than-yours move, I say go ahead. All of us revelers will continue to rip the religious meaning out of it like we do the presents out of wrapping paper that morning. Let's get all the non-Christians celebrating it as well, like it were the July 4th. It will be as non-Christcentric as our calendar year is, which is to say, not at all. People will ask, why do we call it Christmas, just like people have to dig around for what Halloween means. And they will hear this odd tale that by and large has little to do with how they celebrate the holiday.

No offense to you Christians, but you tried to rip off the best holiday of the year and it will never work. You all can keep Easter, which you actually did hijack and then banned all the sex-drenched traditions from, turning it into a pastel Halloween. That's okay, it never involved blinking lights and presents anyway.

And that horny Easter bunny is no Santa, who does exist, by the way.

3 comments:

mondale/ferraro foreva! said...

ahhhhh yeaaaahhh! right on trackball, i'm with ya all the way! damn now i am inspired for some massive holiday festivities, to taking the partying to a whole new level! i would differ a little on the view of the charlie browns and his christmas special, cause i thought the point of that was good in that it's better to worry less about the material things and more about being together with each other and giving to each other and rocking out together, so i think the charlie browns can be let off the hook and join up with the mainstream non-right wing in enjoying all that is great about christmas! ooh baby, it's only 25 days away now too - wooh!

Bulworth said...

What's kind of ironic is that the roots of christmas you identified lead some very conservative christian groups to oppose christmas, or to at least conduct a civil disobedience refusal to participate in it ritual every "holiday season". So, the real war on christmas is from conservative christians who don't like things pagan.

bradford said...

Santa is an institutionalized deception. Kids learn their parents have fun lying to them (that's the real shock). Should we ever believe that strangers will give us what ever we want (esp. at the impressionable age)? Why not give (presents) at thanksGIVING and get the tension overwith?