I don’t like Christmas.
There is not a single redeeming factor to the whole thing. It’s depressing and false and it’s a pain, whether you have money or not. Below I’ve listed the most common arguments for it.
Seeing the Family
You could, if you wanted, see the family any time of the year. That we don’t is indicative of the problem. Family are the people who you have to like, and if they weren’t related, blood or legally, you wouldn’t give them the time of day. Those you like, you get together with during the year like real friends, and then at Christmas times share a collective rolling of the eyeballs over dinner.
For the others, especially the seniors, you just lie through your teeth about how well things are going for you, and no, thank you, I’ve eaten enough, and yes, I am still with the girl so-and-so, no, we haven’t any children, of course the wedding tackle functions fine, thank you. It’s tedious, awkward and you can’t wait to get out. The joining together of family members is underlined not with true affection, but with obligatory guilt. We all know it, so why do we keep doing it? It’s completely dishonest.
Perhaps the only redeeming factor on the face of it is the food, that wasteful pile of cholesterol-laden, heart-attack inducing cuisine. You eat, and hey presto, you feel tired, and then with crushing inevitability, some bright spark will mention that, guys, it’s the tryptophan that’s causing it. Let me put the record straight.
A grown man would have to eat forty-five pounds of turkey for it have any effect whatsoever on the body. Here’s why if you want to go in more depth. You can also quote that at the table and silence the idiot who every year ‘wows’ people with his or hers extensive medical knowledge.
I simply cannot wait to start chowing down on my Christmas dinner before images of starving people from around the world start flooding my brain and I suddenly feel very guilty when I return for seconds. The whole image of the horrible excesses of the consumer Christmas sits there and watches me when I gorge on that stuff. Dish after dish of enough food to feed a family of six for a fortnight consumed within the space of an hour by a group of people who, lets be honest, don’t really need to be cramming any more grub down their throats. Will I be packaging some roast potatoes and turkey into a soggy envelope and sending it to those poor souls who do without? No. But the guilt remains.
This one might as well be titled, Lets Keep the Economy Going On Our Own because that’s all you’re doing. The kids, that is those who don’t prefer the packaging box rather than the hundred-dollar toy that is inside, don’t need any toys until they can learn to quit the A.D.D. meds, the Prozac, Ritalin and any of the other drug cocktails. When you’re on those, anything is fun to play with, including bits of masonry and kitchen cutlery. Trying to profess that you love Christmas because it’s fun seeing the children get so excited they can hardly breathe is futile. The kids care not a jot about Jesus, the birth of Christianity or a star in the sky. You can’t teach them ‘Christmas Spirit’ because they don’t care. All they care about is getting STUFF. Piles and piles of STUFF, so much STUFF that it reaches the ceiling and overflows into the dining room. What happened to just getting a hoop and a stick for Christmas? Nobody needs that much, and frankly, I think it’s sick that we teach kids to expect that. Just because we are zombies to the consumer establishment and make purchasing decisions because a commercial looked pretty and said so, there’s no sane reason to inject that kind of ideology into children.
If Christmas is actually about the family, then don’t give gifts to children because the Coca-Cola franchise Santa (he used to be green) wants you to. I’m not going to get into lying to the kids that Santa exists at all, because we lie to children all the time. It’s the nature of them expecting hundreds of dollars worth of STUFF when they barely appreciate the value of anything. They simply do not need all that STUFF.
It’s for Baby Jesus
Jesus wasn’t born on the 25th of December, the New Testament does not specify a date, if the man existed at all. The origins of Christmas come from the Christianizing of pagan festivals and customs, which did not revolve around the birth of a messiah. The word ‘Yule’ is the name of a Scandinavian pagan festival. Just about every other religion around the world disputes both the timing and importance of Christmas at all. They can’t all be right.
There is no historical evidence that Jesus was born where he was, or that the kings came to visit him. Shepherds probably wouldn’t have been tending lambs in December, no matter which part of the globe they were tending them in. The only census recorded at the time was 6BC. No astronomical data can prove ‘The Star of Bethlehem’ (the only thing astronomical about Christmas is the money we waste for this one day). I could go on, and any historian worth his salt could too.
I know I sound like a typical stuck-up atheist, the kind that ruins dinner parties, but if most historical data suggests huge holes in the Nativity myth, what are we celebrating for? Symbolism? And do we think that any one of the companies that make literally billions from Christmas period really care about the birth of Christ? No. The religious overtones of the period are heavily exaggerated simply in order to sell more product.
The response to an alternative outlook on the season resulted in the laughable ‘war on Christmas’. I don’t understand how someone can be ‘offended’ per se. I do get angry however when people tell that we live in an open society. Yet although the celebration of Christmas only applies to a percentage of the population (albeit large), the news, films and media in general treat it as the status quo. A similar example is Easter, which was mentioned in a previous post. If we lived in an open and secular society (and I know we don’t), the news would read; “Today Christians around the world celebrate the festival of Christmas, where they remember and through plays re-enact, the birth of their ‘savior’ Jesus Christ of Nazareth.’ The shops wouldn’t close, we wouldn’t get a day off and we certainly wouldn’t see it plastered everywhere we look. I know we are a predominantly Christian society, but as the statistics prove, and I mentioned before, many people simply don’t give a damn about Jesus or anything to do with him. It’s mostly about upbringing and consumerism. Which leads neatly into…
Human excess and waste is at its absolute peak this time of year. The effects of these excesses on the environment are many, from increased electricity usage to power those pointless Christmas lights, to the increase in waste from gifts that are not used, decorations and packaging materials that are thrown away, and harmful and wasteful manufacturing processes to produce the stuff in the first place.
Just about every commercial we see and every holiday themed image shows the equating of happiness with spending and of guilt if we haven’t bought the most expensive gift we can afford. We spend any excess cash we might have accumulated, or we go heavily into debt in order to buy what we really don’t need. It’s known as ‘the shopping season’ for the almost delirious spasms of millions of people to buy, buy, buy, until we all slump, exhausted, on Christmas day. All of this for one day. One day that would be like any other if it wasn’t for the constant bombardment of ‘the Christmas Spirit’ everywhere we go and the religious overtones which at best are only symbolic. That we don’t realize the absurdity of the tradition is testament to the ever more persuasive powers of the advertising and PR industry. All for a buck, as they say.
So I say again. Why do we celebrate this?