Christmas Whinery

“I love the commercialization of Christmas because it spreads the Christmas cheer.” Whoa, Mrs. Palin. (It’s that woman again.) No. It. Does. Not.

She’d be hard-pressed to find a preacher who agrees with her.Palin also says, “Everybody should have the right to celebrate the season without a few bah-humbugs.” Yet there are plenty of things to bah-humbug about without signaling out secularists who simply want better boundaries between religion and the state. (Not to mention that “everybody” is not a Christian.)

Christmas is a painful time for a lot of folks, a time of unmet and unrealistic expectations, angry drivers, grumpy shoppers, long check-out lines, huge credit card bills, bratty kids, drunk uncles and unfriendly in-laws. Oh, yeah, and then there’s The Reason, which is different for us but the same for about 83 percent of America. It’s one of two times out of the year that many believers will don coats and herd the family to a brick and mortar church, where people will briefly feel goodwill towards the strangers around them before they get back on the roads and flip those same people off.

This isn’t the Christmas experience for all of us, of course, and not for the rest of us all the time. But you get the idea.

Let’s back up to Palin, though. This year she wrote a book, Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas. (Lovely personification.) She wrote it to fight for Christmas, because, she says, secularists don’t want to acknowledge “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Damn, those meanies.

But hold up. If Jesus is the reason, then why do we give presents to ourselves? Why do we love, honor and obey consumerism? And how does giving stuff to people who already have a lot of stuff spread his cheer? (I’m preaching to the choir, right?) Shouldn’t we just be giving each other a high-five and shouting, “Hell, yeah! We’re saved.”

Silly, I know, but so is this idea of a “war on Christmas.”

So some Christians want every American to celebrate December 25th in the same way and for the same reason as they do because, apparently, we should all be Stepford Christians. That control issue can be handled most effectively with a little counseling, IMHO. Those like Sarah Palin and Rep. Dwayne Bohac (TX) and Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (NJ) need to understand that they can celebrate and say whatever they want about Jesus at home and at church, and it doesn’t take away from their holi/holy-day if some of us don’t celebrate the birth of their savior, too.

However, believers and nonbelievers can be united in the spirit of Christmas anyway. Though you won’t catch us talking to the ghost of Christmas past, we’re very amenable to working together to create “good tidings and great joy.” Jesus Christ, if indeed he was real historical figure who lived a life of kindness and forgiveness, had a message. Help others. Be nice. Reach out. That’s our message, too! (Or for most of us, at least!)

Instead of pushing the commercialization of Christmas, perhaps we should buy our children one or two gifts that they will appreciate, and then allow them to decide where a holiday donation of time and/or funds should be made.

This list would be a good place to start. Then there are the theater tickets (support the arts!), the angel trees and the soup kitchens who need volunteers, just to name a few. (For more ideas, check out The last few years, we have, in addition to the angel tree, picked the American Cancer Society and our local homeless shelter, which relies only on donations and support from the community. So many ways to spread cheer, so little time.

Let’s not allow some Christians (ahem, Ms. Palin) spoil the true meaning of Christmas. The best gift we can give our children is to teach them it’s not all about them.


36 responses to “Christmas Whinery

  1. I love this. I can’t wait until the day in our Christmas countdown where Punky will get to pick her own star off the angel tree. It’s just sometime I really want to make sure she gets to do every year. As well, we are picking toys to give away to the goodwill – not only because she has so many family members who will likely get her lots of new toys and we will need room, but also because it’s just a good way to start early in teaching her to give to others!

    • @Rachael. I think what you’re doing for Punky (creating xmas traditions) is great! I love reading your posts, by the way. Reminds me how much fun it is to have little ones. When they get to be teenagers, xmas is not so magical! I’ll be lucky to get them out of bed in time for breakfast xmas morning! 🙂

  2. Palin can go preach to her “choir”. Thank you for reminding us that there are other ways to enjoy and give to others this time of year. There’s something very special about giving to others, case in point. I’m in my 60’s, there’s only one Christmas that truly standouts for me. In 1962, as a teenager living in Korea where my parents worked for a relief organization, they told us four kids that instead of giving gifts that year, there was a man they’d come in contact with who’d lost both his legs in the Korean Conflict and they wanted to give him prosthesis. We did, it’s the most memorable “feel-good” Christmas I’ve ever experienced. Since then I’ve tried to help someone less fortunate each year. Giving to others is a 365 day event.

  3. Man, I love this blog!

  4. Damn, I honestly hoped this would be about a Christmas “winery”. I thought “oo, oo, oo, I wanna go!” Is there anyone with a vineyard willing to start one up? 😉 It could be the Mecca for non believers every holiday season!

  5. Wow, Palin is the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t she? Unfortunately, the bits of society she appeals to ARE the type who wouldn’t know when or if the “had enough” of anything!

    Axial Tilt is the reason for MY season, lol.

  6. We can always rely on a christmas present from Palin &Co.! Deb. It is a great post, There is only one issue. Most “hard-core” catholics/christians do not like to be reminded about the true meaning of being a good christian (not only this time of the year): Love (help) thy brother!. and they keep on thinking and acting as if the real message is “judge thy brother!”

  7. Great post, as always. One of my favorite Jackson Browne song has a similar sentiment:

    (and feel free to delete this if you’d rather not have a video posted in your comments…)

  8. It’s all about the baking and cooking for me. I am the “maker of cookies” in my family, and then I will whip up a huge Festivus feast (complete with the air of the grievances). Remember: Eatin’ is the reason for the season!

  9. On MSNBC Morning Joe Faith Friday, they interviewed Author Jay Parini on his book, “Jesus: The Human Face of God.” They kept asking him if reading it will make them believe Jesus was God. He said, that wasn’t his job in writing the biography.

    See – “Inside the Gospel Narrative”

  10. Lovely post.
    I was raised in a religious home that was not Jewish or Christian.

    Christmases always brought me a kind of awkwardness. Hated the questions- “Get your tree yet?” “Finished your Christmas shopping?” – and the like. Never sure if I should explain – “Nope. Not Christian” or simply smile, nod and turn the conversation elsewhere. Do I risk embarrassing someone or just go along? If I state I’m not Christian, sometimes the response is an attempt to ‘save’ me. Sigh. From what? I’m hoping to meet a boat load of interesting folks in Hell. Please don’t derail my trip. **wink! **

    “Everybody should have the right to celebrate the season without a few bah-humbugs,” says Ms. Palin. Dial back the self-serving indignity please. So not everyone marks Christmas in the same way (or at all). This doesn’t detract from anyone’s “right to celebrate the season” (can’t seem to find the sans bah-humbugs right in the Constitution….what’d I miss?). Gosh, what a divisive statement to make. Shouldn’t one who professes to a belief system that instructs it believers: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” demonstrate this via more inclusive statements?

    This battle to save or protect Christmas really irks me. Strikes me as folks who want to “fight the good fight”, but not knowing anything other than what’s put before them (courtesy of the media), fail to see this “fight” in its proper perspective. Sure it feels good to fight for a cause. And it’s easy to utter a few “Christmas or die” statements (or write a book) and get a bunch of folks to nod in agreement. But what of substance is accomplished by such self-serving acts? How about channeling this enthusiasm into more down-to-earth acts like feeding, clothing, sheltering those without?

    • @vh Agreed! There are better ways to channel their enthusiasm.

      This is a great point: “Shouldn’t one who professes to a belief system that instructs it believers: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” demonstrate this via more inclusive statements?”

      Your family didn’t celebrate a secular Xmas? It’s a nice little holiday break during the winter months, especially if you live where it’s cold! 🙂

  11. Excellent post, as usual. The whole “war on Christmas” notion cracks me up – you couldn’t get away from Christmas if you tried in this country! We are inundated with all things Christmas starting approximately the day after Halloween, and continuing until after New Years.

  12. I haven’t read her book (and won’t because I refuse to support her idiocy) but does she happen to mention that “Christmas” was originally a pagan holiday the Church took over to try to bring converts to it? (So was their other biggie, Easter.) And that, oh yeah, it couldn’t have happened in December and the date was moved by the church? And, wow, the “Christmas tree” and etc. that a lot of “Christians” hold holy were actually *gasp* pagan or other symbols?

    I was just talking about this with friends last night. It seems some (no, I know it’s not all) “Christians” will bemoan the “attack on Christmas” yet they hold a HUGE double standard. It’s okay for THEM to preach to “non-believers,” but if you dare try to educate them, suddenly you’re a horrible person.

    No thanks.

    I’ll stick to Yule and my pagan ways. I am happy to worship Nature. (Don’t laugh, I can prove it exists. LOL)

    • @TymberDalton Exactly. A lot of Christians don’t realize that about Christ’s birth or death.

      You’re right–there is a double standard. It’s okay to preach, but it’s not okay to point out religion’s inconsistencies and flaws.

  13. This again shows the true meaning of xian love and tolerance – it ONLY extends as far as to which denomination of xianity one belongs to.
    It is nothing short of amazing how the pious have forgotten the original reasons and meanings of holidays.

  14. I was just watching our local news (in Pennsylvania) and there was a lovely story about one of our local aid organizations passing out toys today to families in need. Over 800 parents who live in poverty (a lot for our small-ish city) lined up around the city block (in frigid snowy weather) to get donations of toys for their children. The organization has been collecting the toys for months just to ensure that no child would go without on Christmas morning. Now fast forward to the last interview of the story… a gentleman associated with said organization, donning his Santa hat, explains that (and I may misquote, but this is the gist) “This is just a small thing we can do to let our community know that we care about them; to let the children know that we love them; to let the children know that Jesus loves them.” WTH?!?!?! So now Jesus is the provider of the gifts? Where is your Jesus when these kids go to bed with empty bellies? Ugh.

    • @Jody, Great point. If Jesus loves them, why does he allow these kids to go hungry or homeless?!

      • Yeah, let the parent(s) deliver the “Jesus loves you by way of a Christmas gift” platitude. Might make things more real for the kids to know the community got together to provide gifts-not Jesus. As pointed out, Jesus isn’t quelling the belly but finds the means to provide a G.I. Joe or Barbie. That would make the kid more puzzled than anything as to the caliber of “love” this Jesus seems to profess for him or her.

        One time I was contacted by a children’s cancer charity group. They provided financial means for kids with cancer to get their treatments when the parents could not afford them. The lady who spoke to me said they were collecting additional funds to purchase Christmas gifts for each child.

        This didn’t sit well with me. I got no issue with this group paying for cancer treatments. But why do they need to provide Christmas gifts as well? There had been no indication that these families were unable to afford Christmas gifts. Just think this was a bit over the top.

        Call me Scrooge, but I did not donate.

    • The mythologies have the power to morph into whatever those making claims of said myths find advantageous.

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