Monday, January 16, 2006

Holiday Review: Christmas

I have extremely mixed feelings towards this holiday, so an objective review will be difficult. I'm going to try and lump the positive and negative aspects into groups, so it'll be easier to deal with them.


  • Brings family together
  • A time to get presents
  • Better-than-average movies on TV
  • Better food for a few weeks


  • Brings family together
  • Going broke buying presents
  • Severe interruption of normal television schedule
  • Force-fed advertisments for toys most kids don't really want
  • Branded-commercialism hard to avoid
  • Prices skyrocket for extremely cheap items, such as cards
  • Brings family together
  • Small children tend to become slightly more irrational
  • Still millions of people don't get any good food or presents
  • Now at the age where I don't really get presents, either

It's easy to see where I stand on the idea of Christmas. It's an artificial holiday hijacked from the pagans, ostensibly about Jesus but arguably more about Santa, a pagan figure, and presents, an American tradition. In the 'old countries', it was just a time to exchange food and small trinkets for children, and to observe several fun pagan practices, like singing carols and hanging stockings for sprites to fill with goodies. Unfortunately, we're not at the point where the holiday, and the spending, are inextricably linked. The Western world shuts down for an entire week in order to make this money more economically lucrative than almost any other two months combined.

True, it is almost the only time my family gets together, but as you can see, this is mentioned three times in the above two categories. Lately, since I live out of town, our get-togethers are much more pleasant, but still very tiring, particularly for my grandma (who is now moving into a seniors care facility, at the age of 90).

In summation: I don't know where I was going with this. Very few people know what Christmas is about, slightly more know what Christmas has become, but only a tiny fraction are able to go against the flow. It's part of our culture, and soon we won't even know why, except when we get our credit card bills and wonder what came over us.


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