I received an email from a writer who complained of feeling “out of it” and disconnected from her family this Christmas. What’s a girl supposed to do?
It comes as no surprise. One day the whole world will stand in wonder how they got duped by the Christmas marketing myth. (It’s going to be a long wait; we have to save the economy first by buying more state lottery tickets!)
My point is nothing so unsubtle the common statements made by the regular debating crews of Christians, pagans, atheists and Jehovah Witnesses like “Jesus was not born at Christmas. It’s a pagan festival and the Bible prohibits trees to dress up.”
We all know that Santa Claus, while bearing a resemblance to W. C. Fields, is not a living person who flits down from the North Pole every Christmas and merrily breaks into homes to deliver presents to sleeping parents. Every 5 year old knows that. So why keep up the pretence?
A number of forces keep Christmas in place the most dominant of which is marketing. I am sure that if businesses did not promote Christmas then it would come and go, as unnoticed as, some of the other festivals on our calendar. In England that would be May Day. Except for a few curiously dressed men in shorts and white socks, British people, do not indulge in dancing around the phallic maypole banging sticks together with gay abandon. I would not be surprised to hear that they do that in Holland where they still wear wooden clogs and where the name for Santa Claus comes (or nearby Belgium, borders have changed).
I gave up Christmas at the age of 17 to avoid meat eating. I headed out to an ashram and even there got a gift of Christmas – a pair of socks of course! It’s easy to feel that Christmas is some alien event when you have never, like some cultures, experienced it.
Picture a bunch of sad people, wearing flimsy paper crowns made of 1-ply government issue waxy toilet paper, staring at a turkey’s ass on the table, gobbling goose carcass until they are stuffed, and drinking unto totally drunk because they cannot really communicate or socialise. The giving of presents is a momentary pleasure which can be fraught with embarrassment or disappointment. The biggest stress is negotiating the perilous Christmas crowds and being assaulted by hypnogogic Christmas jingles and ho-ho-ing Santa’s with dubious job histories. Christian carol singers have somehow bought into the Christmas myth in an attempt to bring the unfaithful to church and justify church taxes. In Finland, nearly everyone is automatically taxed by the Lutheran Church of the former Swedish occupation. These Finns believe, unchallenged by the priests, that they are Christians if they sing at Christmas in church. Instead of singing carol’s for pennies on the streets, these church chorists should be singing songs of hell, damnation and revolution against the materialistic masses.
There are very few myths left but Christmas by the collusion of the church and big businesses advertising creating guilt if you should deliver presents on any other day.
Instead of having an unreal Christmas have a real holiday.
Respect that that it is winter. Go for walks. Snuggle up early. Light candles and making twinkly things. Being loving, compassionate and kind – not just for one day but all year long.
Work. Shop. Cook all day.
Give presents on another day – and be a bit unpopular – or leave a message on your answer-phone saying you are in China and will be back in the New Year. You then can give presents to whom and when you want. Christmas as Sting recently pointed out is about winter