24 Dec

Christmas/X-Mas: What to think?

Christmas time is a strange time. All around the world people laugh and sing with glee as magic fills the air and snow falls, heralding the hour where Santa on his sleigh appears, handing out good Christmas cheer! Or at least that is what Coca-Cola would have you believe. No, Christmas is a time of decadent consumerism, false hopes and terrible marketing.  This little piece will not enlighten you (no such pretentious ambitions here) but will definitely entertain you as you stare into the abyss, that black hole ever hungry for your hard earned cash…enjoy!

Christmas as a festival has very deep roots. As far back as Roman times, various tribes and peoples in the north of Europe were recorded as having celebrations in the middle of winter, during the coldest day of the coldest month because, hey, you’ve got to have something to look forward to! Over time and mainly over the spread of the Roman Catholic faith, these festivals were appropriated to suit Christian beliefs and make them more Bible-friendly. The early monks, missionaries and other converters were well aware that their austere faith didn’t offer much in comparison to the constant quaffing and carousing that the pagan lifestyle offered, so they took the festivals and rebranded them. Eventually, as the church became more centralised over time these different appropriated festivals were amalgamated into something resembling what we now call Christmas. The date was never a fixed one until relatively recently. So, yes, no one really knows if the little baby Jesus was born on this day and everybody certainly knows that Santa wasn’t Saint Nicholas.

People can harp on as much as they like about Santa being the modern image of Saint Nicholas, but that doesn’t make it the case. Santa is a modern phenomenon, evolving alongside the growing importance of Christmas as a commercial event. It is easy to lay the blame entirely at the feet of the Coca Cola corporation, so that is precisely what must be done. I don’t know who did it, but the person who came up with the image of a morbidly obese, animal abusing, alcoholic man with questionable  fashion sense who, utilising the world’s most advanced surveillance system, spies on your children and then judges them according to his uncompromisingly Manichean belief system, is not someone I’d like to meet. Not to mention that they also dreamt of him having a crack team of midget slave labourers to crank out toy after toy all year and have him break into your house to reward or punish your children while they sleep like the possibly perverted psychopath that he is. No, that image is entirely new (also entirely disturbing, Santa is an object of terror for many children worldwide, as he was for this writer).

The idea of present giving and more importantly present buying is one more rooted in the modern world, another little tidbit from the corporations. As is the concept of decorations  etc.

Now it is an old and facile view to take that all the ills and ailments of the world stem from corporate profiteering, but the phenomenon of Christmas is new (relatively) and exists but for your money. So buy your presents and indulge in your traditions, but always remember you don’t have to do it because it is ancient or to boost the economy, or to meet the present demands of your children. No, you do it, because as so many god-awful Christmas cartoon specials have reminded us ad infinitum, for the Spirit of Christmas, good times and good cheer, happy memories (I believe that this sentence may have caused me type 2 diabetes, I certainly now have glaucoma)!

Have a merry Christmas, or whatever.

Sean Cameron


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