Can you see the logic?
The close relationship, the natural progression, from one thought to the next?
Each year at Christmas we celebrate the birth of a First Century AD Galilean holy man and prophet, who preached, according to what we find in the Bible, humility, forbearance, sweetness and frugality. We celebrate this with an orgy of retail spending.
We also celebrate this short and obscure life, for there isn’t much hard historical evidence of the details, by promoting the mythological arrival on your roof of a German fat man in a red suit, in a sleigh pulled by wild bovines, one of whom has an incandescent nose.
Doesn’t it make sense? It all makes perfect sense to me.
This German fat man squeezes his way down your chimney, and leaves presents for your kids that you know you bought and weren’t left by the German fat man. But you tell your kid you didn’t buy the gifts. They were left by a German fat man who as he sailed away into the night yelled “Ho! Ho!”
You tell your kids this story until about the time they reach the age of 14, when they finally realize on their own, or are told by friends, it was all a lie. Thus, even from their earliest memories, you show them you love them by foisting a lie. And not just a small lie. A WHOPPER!
That’s supposedly because you’re a giving, generous person.
Interestingly, even when they’re small, your children sure know who to complain to if they don’t feel they got enough, or didn’t get what they want. YOU! For some reason, they don’t even bother searching for a fictional German fat man.
I’ve threatened to boycott Christmas for years.
Here are 10 reasons why:
1. Let’s smell the coffee. Okay? Christmas is about spending, not about Jesus, not even about the concept of giving. If you doubt me, try spending a third what you normally spend. That’s still giving, isn’t it? Your kid will run sobbing to her room. You’ll feel guilty. A bad person. You didn’t spend enough. Don’t try to blame it on the German fat man. Try explaining to your child about the spirit of it, the thought that counts, not the amount of the merchandise. About Jesus. Yeah right! Your kid will get up and run sobbing into another room.
2. This ritual requires an expenditure of at least $700 per year. That’s small. If you’re a rich airline pilot, it could be $1,200, maybe $5,000. If you’re like a lot of people, you don’t have the money. The cost of everything goes up. Even the Christmas tree now costs more than I once paid for a used car. You borrow money for it on credit cards and go deeper into debt, to please your kid, or whomever.
3. Scrooge got a bad rap. He was a Republican businessman. If he killed and robbed people to get money, I’d be less sympathetic. But he made money by being ruthless, and didn’t want to share it. That’s just the American way. You know the story. Scrooge sees the light after being threatened by three ghosts. At the end, he’s throwing money at charities and anyone who will take it, and he’s a good person. Next year, when the charities come back for more, he’s out. He gave it all away. Now, instead of being an SOB, the charities call him a goddamned fool.
The moral is clear. People evaluate your character based on how you spend your own money, money you earned from hard work, and whether or not you give them that money.
4. Most of the merchandise purchased is made by slaves or low income peons in China, ruled by a ruthless régime. Thus, the slave laborer sits in his Chinese jail cell putting together a DVD player that costs his jailer $7.95 to produce. They ship it and sell it to you for $198.95. With each purchase, you are helping China to become a superpower that will supplant the United States, and you are helping American crook corporate executives who are shipping jobs overseas to take advantage of slaves. What does this, and an overpriced DVD player, have to do with Jesus?
5. Turn on the TV set. Look at the expensive cars being glorified. Look at the beautiful, supposedly rich, glamorous Hollywood actors portraying successful people giving and getting upscale gifts. It creates envy. You want to be like them. Happiness is not the inner being. It’s how you look, how much you have, and what you spend. Material possessions.
6. It doesn’t take long to figure out that much of the economic growth of the military industrial colossus that the US has become depends on this single event. If you save too much, if you don’t go into high-interest debt, the powers-that-be don’t like it. Like the oil companies, they need you as a sucker.
7. Each year the ritual involves visiting relatives. But not me. My malicious conservative relatives hate my guts and consider me a mama’s boy, a lazy bum, a coward, an anti-American traitor, a weakling and probably a pervert. I only agree with about half of this negative assessment.
8. Statistics show Christmas is the time for suicide and depression psychologically because of the forced gaiety, decorations, inevitable caloric weight gain, tinsel and lights, and because again you don’t have enough money.
9. Jesus wasn’t born on December 25? We don’t even know the exact year of his birth. Who picked the 25th? Everybody crowds airports at the same time to celebrate the not-the-day of Jesus’ birth.
10. Despite personal responsibility, Christmas nevertheless encourages binge alcohol consumption, drunk driving and overeating in an already chronically obese society.
P.S. – Because of #4, China is getting richer making gifts using slaves, and more Chinese are driving cars when 10 years ago they were all riding bikes, thereby increasing global warming through carbon greenhouse emissions, which is melting the polar ice caps. So ironically, with each gift purchase you make, you’re helping to melt the North Pole, the fictional home of the fictional German fat man.