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[P]
Let's not give gifts this Xmas. Let's not send cards, either.

By IHCOYC in Op-Ed
Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 08:42:27 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

It's already started. Go into any retail establishment and it will hit you in the face. Holly motifs. Red and green ribbons. Blinking lights. Even the hated figure of Santa Claus.

It's enough to make anybody depressed.


If you're like me you make sure you are stocked up with two months worth of necessities in mid-October. Make sure that you aren't going to have to make a trip to the store for some tomato soup, spaghetti, or john paper. I sure don't want to have to look at that stuff any more than I must, and I know that if I am taken to any retail store or shopping mall between Nov. 1 and mid-January, it will be all over and in my face again, and I just don't want to have to cope with it.

Christmas was allegedly once a religious holiday, observing the birth of Christ. No one knows exactly when Christ was born, though; so around the reign of Emperor Constantine it was conveniently discovered that He had the same birthday as Mithras, the Invincible Sun. But Mithras was also borrowing his birthday, for before anyone in Rome had heard of him, it was the feast of Saturnalia.

And Saturnalia was a feast worth celebrating. Saturnalia was a time when all the slaves in Rome were set free, if only for a few days, and all their masters similarly discharged from their patrician responsibilities.

Here in the USA of the 20th century, Exxmas is quite the opposite. During Exxmastide we are ground down even more than before by our corporate masters. A heavy burden of obligations is laid on our back, that like all such burdens in this age can only be discharged by spending money. Lots of money.

For Exxmas has ceased to be a religious holiday. I spell out the contraction that annoys some people deliberately; and I spell it thus, not to offend any one specific corporate entity, but to underline its true source in the Madison Avenue corporate marketing juggernaut. This being capitalism and all that, though, we as consumers have at least a theoretical choice about all of this.

Let's not give gifts this Exxmas.

Let's not send cards, either, while we're at it.

It may have been a kind and generous person who first thought up the custom of exchanging presents at Exxmas. Given the monster that he created, though, I find it hard to think so. Under the circumstances, the most generous thing anyone could have done would be to throttle the fellow who first came up with the suggestion. Everybody complains about how Exxmas has been commercialised. In theory, this is still capitalism. In theory, there is still religious freedom. We don't have to participate if we don't want to.

All it takes is a little backbone, and you too can actually DO something. You can help put an end to the commercialisation of Christmas. Observe it as you will --- just as long as your celebration doesn't involve buying anything. Resist, with a steel resolve, every Madison Avenue attempt to enrich any Exxmasadvertiser.

It's a commonplace to observe that depressed people are more depressed around Exxmastime. It is not a naturally cheerful part of the year, as days grow shorter, nights grow colder, and the litter of dead leaves in the gutter bears witness to the repetitious futility of life itself. These aspects of the season can be savoured for their own bittersweet flavour, if one is a naturally reflective person.

It does not help to be forced into a round of enforced merriment and compulsory socialising. The ceaseless promotion of the reprehensible custom of gift-giving burdens you with further guilt no matter how much you spend. If you are less than jolly, you are a Scrooge, no matter how you actually feel. The one way to defeat this promotion is to reassure yourself that the entire business is an evil scam; for that's what it is. I am a good person because I have the will to have nothing to do with it.

The ancient Celts and the early Christians got it right the first time. They made the period of late fall and early winter a time to remember and honour the dead. An almost forgotten Christmas tradition, whose last vestige is Dickens's "Christmas Carol," made the season a time of telling ghost stories. It is a time of year better suited to sombre meditations than to merriment; as the year and the summer die, we realise that they were the ones that got it right.

For Death's chief harvest in the year comes between mid- November and mid-January. More funerals take place during this time than at any other. By this time, most adults' holiday memories have been coloured by this harvest of death. Most grownups can name and remember loved ones whose last illnesses and funerals cast a shadow over that time when Madison Avenue expects you to be jolly, that interfered with holiday plans. When this happened when you were young, you were deeply disappointed. When it happened when you were older, you were struck by the bitter irony of it all; but you were expected to pretend to make merry nonetheless. Madison Avenue demands no less.

Remember as the year dies that you are one year closer to the date of your inevitable death. Meditate on this when you see the holly and the blinky lights and the Thanksgiving Day parade. Consider whether the past year has left you better prepared to meet this certainty, or whether it has not. You can start, by not being had by the Exxmas scam. Let's not give gifts. Let's send no cards.

I am also certain that most among you are at least annoyed by the marketing practices of the florists and greeting card companies. First they invented Mother's Day. Then a whole raft of such scams, from Sweetest's Day to Boss's Day, all of which are marketed with campaigns intended to make them unofficial obligations. Perhaps there ought to be a law. In the meantime, however, we can cultivate the sense that they are all scams. And Santa Claus is the grandfather of all these scams.

Perhaps it's your misfortune to have disobedient and ungrateful children; there aren't any other kinds. Remember that it builds character, especially when they see that their household does not go along with an otherwise widespread and relentlessly promoted practice. Don't give your children presents this Exxmas. Don't let yourself be hounded into compliance with the evil custom by their pleas, which only echo the ad campaigns of the toymakers. Show them that your family is made of sterner stuff. They will thank you when they grow old.

Yes, let's put an end to the whole business, for it has grown from a minor annoyance to a major and public nuisance. Let's make sure that the advertising agencies and the retailers have nothing to be merry about. Let's make the whole Damned Thing dry up and blow away.

Let's not give gifts this Exxmas.

Let's not send cards, neither.

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Let's not give gifts this Xmas. Let's not send cards, either. | 114 comments (111 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
How unpatriotic! (4.00 / 13) (#2)
by Philipp on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 04:25:56 PM EST

Didn't you hear the President and the Mayor? It is your national duty to go out and shop! How dare you question that your money has to end up in other people's pockets in exchange you pointless crap! If we all would stop shopping, everything will go to hell.

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
Unpatriotic (3.66 / 3) (#36)
by Sanityman on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 04:23:06 AM EST

Dave Barry made much the same observation...

    Some of you may be unhappy with this dereligionizing of the Holiday Season, and you may have decided that, this year, you're going to celebrate it the old-fashioned way, with your family sitting around stringing cranberries and exchanging humble, handmade gifts, like on "The Waltons".
Well, you can forget it. If everybody pulled that kind of subversive stunt, the economy would collapse overnight. The government would have to intervene: It would form a cabinet-level Department of Holiday Gift-Giving, which would spend billions and billions of tax dollars to buy Barbie dolls and electronic games, which it would drop on the populace from Air Force jets, killing and maiming thousands. So, for the good of the nation, you should go along with the Holiday Program. This means you should get a large sum of money and go to a mall.
<RANT>My most anti-Xmas feelings are brought out by Gap adverts saying "That's Holiday." I live in the UK, and that doesn't mean anything here, gosh darn it.</RANT>

Sanityman




--
If you don't see the fnords, they can't eat you.
"You can't spray cheese whiz™ on the body of Christ!"


[ Parent ]
That's Holiday (none / 0) (#38)
by Ludwig on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 07:24:20 AM EST

My most anti-Xmas feelings are brought out by Gap adverts saying "That's Holiday." I live in the UK, and that doesn't mean anything here, gosh darn it.

As I understand it, "holiday" has one less sense of meaning here in the U.S. -- we don't use it as a synonym for "vacation," just for "holy" days. "That's Holiday" doesn't mean much of anything here either.

[ Parent ]

Not just "Holy" (5.00 / 1) (#46)
by Happy Monkey on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 10:35:23 AM EST

In my experience (DC area), "Holiday" is a day that everyone gets off, whether it is Christmas, Independence Day, or Labor Day - not just religious days. "Vacation" is time off that you schedule yourself.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Re: Not just "Holy" (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by Ludwig on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 05:13:08 PM EST

Hence the quotes around "holy."

To me, the word "vacation" has strong connotations of going somewhere or at least taking more than a day or two off. But then, I've been underemployed for almost a year now, and freelancing for six before that, so my perception of the working world may be skewed.

[ Parent ]

US centric, -1 (1.00 / 1) (#83)
by axxeman on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 04:55:00 PM EST

Back to moderating :)

lec·tur·er (lkchr-r) n. Abbr. lectr: graduate unemployable outside the faculty.
[ Parent ]

Moderation (4.44 / 9) (#3)
by M0dUluS on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 04:26:37 PM EST

buy small gifts, for people that you care about. Make some cards if you have time. Buy a reasonable number if you don't. Have some friends over, cook some good food, get pissed, have a good time.
I always enjoy it (apart from the hangover, but I've discovered that this can be moderated by drinking at least 4 litres of water and eating 200% of the recommended daily intake of vitamins and two extra-strenght Tylenol).;-)

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
A gift to you. (5.00 / 2) (#45)
by Blue Aardvark House on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 10:32:50 AM EST

Well, it's not moderation in the classic, /. sense, but here's a "5" for your well-written comment.

[ Parent ]
Hey! here's one back! (none / 0) (#80)
by M0dUluS on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 04:07:35 PM EST

let's hope this doesn't spiral out of control!

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
Hey! here's one back! (none / 0) (#81)
by M0dUluS on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 04:08:14 PM EST

let's hope this doesn't spiral out of control! I made this myself! :-)

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
lay off the tylenol dude (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by tjb on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 08:50:18 PM EST

Tongue in cheek or whatever, but seriously, avoid tylenol if you're going to/are/have been drinking. Advil, aspirin, etc are fine, but tylenol does nasty things to your liver on its own, and when combined with alcohol you could be in a world of hurt.

So just find a different analgesic :)

Tim

[ Parent ]
Really? (none / 0) (#96)
by M0dUluS on Wed Nov 07, 2001 at 06:30:26 PM EST

I appreciate the warning, but I have never heard information that the infrequent use of it caused problems or that aspirin was preferable. I had a quick look at the National Library of Medicine's info indicates that it is only chronic alcohol consumption and chronic acetaminophen use that may be a problem and that aspirin may be a big problem too!:
If you will be taking more than an occasional 1 or 2 doses of acetaminophen, do not drink alcoholic beverages . To do so may increase the chance of liver damage, especially if you drink large amounts of alcoholic beverages regularly, if you take more acetaminophen than is recommended on the package label, or if you take it regularly for a long time.
This is what the NLM has to say about aspirin and alcohol (it's much more strongly worded):
This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that slow down the nervous system, possibly causing drowsiness). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, other allergies, or colds; sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine; other prescription pain medicine or narcotics; barbiturates; medicine for seizures; muscle relaxants; or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Also, stomach problems may be more likely to occur if you drink alcoholic beverages while you are taking aspirin. Do not drink alcoholic beverages, and check with your medical doctor or dentist before taking any of the medicines listed above, while you are using this medicine .
And here is another bit:
taking an overdose of this medicine or taking alcohol or CNS depressants with this medicine may lead to unconsciousness or death. Signs of overdose of this medicine include convulsions (seizures); hearing loss; confusion; ringing or buzzing in the ears; severe excitement, nervousness, or restlessness; severe dizziness, severe drowsiness, shortness of breath or troubled breathing, and severe weakness.
Where did you find the information that suggests that aspirin is preferable to acetaminophen, or that acetaminophen is more of a problem? I'm worried! Thanks.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
Links! (none / 0) (#97)
by M0dUluS on Wed Nov 07, 2001 at 06:32:56 PM EST

Aspirin
Tylenol
Sorry!

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
where i found this out (3.00 / 1) (#99)
by tjb on Wed Nov 07, 2001 at 07:47:08 PM EST

My mother works as a hospital lab-tech, so my info is somewhat anecdotal, but the science is sound. She claims that the majority of liver failures that she sees (<--- the anecdotal part) are caused by attempted suicide via tylenol. Next in line for that list are people mixing tylenol and alcohol (though I suspect that it is generally long-term). However, this is in a small, rural college town so these sorts of incidents (suicide and binge-drinking) may be more common than among the general population, so YMMV.

And thanks for the info on aspirin, I had no idea. Guess its advil for me now :)

Tim

[ Parent ]
Exxmas? (4.87 / 16) (#4)
by KnightStalker on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 04:34:01 PM EST

Reminds me of an satire C.S. Lewis wrote called "Xmas and Christmas".

Also, there was an article in my local newspaper that (surprisingly) said that people are less annoyed than usual about manipulative Christmas decorations going up three weeks before Thanksgiving. Go figure. I'm not any less annoyed :-)

haha! (3.33 / 3) (#8)
by M0dUluS on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 04:45:55 PM EST

thanks for that! C.S.Lewis is a great satirist. I liked the "Natirbians'. What could be done for the U.S. states?: Testas tidunes?

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
I don't (4.22 / 9) (#5)
by Arkady on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 04:36:35 PM EST

For several years I've been extracting myself from the annual round of X-mas broughaha, though naturally friends and family seem determined to not let me actually get all the way out of it.

Being neither a christian nor a capitalist, I don't see much value in the whole thing from either perspective. ;-)

On the other hand, it would be nice to have an actually global day when folks consider the alleged virtues oft spoken of in relation to the holyday: generosity, peacefulness, "brotherhood of man" and such. _That_ I'd be up for.

-robin

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.


Well (3.66 / 6) (#13)
by rusty on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 05:32:15 PM EST

I'm giving you a Christmas present, and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
That's OK (2.66 / 3) (#15)
by Arkady on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 05:43:33 PM EST

I got a present for you too. Don't go buying any new books ... ;-)

-robin

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.


[ Parent ]
'got' is a subjective term... (none / 0) (#26)
by tankgirl on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 09:25:44 PM EST

...from where I'm sitting right now ;-)

Also, as I understood, this wasn't a x-mas gift....but now your secrets out. The rest of us will now be expecting x-mas gifts from you. In fact, I think I'll even post a link to this comment on the mailing list....Yesssss, and then I shall rule the world!!!

Oops, wrong plan.

oh well, foiled again.
:-)
jeri.

[ Parent ]
Summer solstice (4.50 / 4) (#20)
by I am Jack's username on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 07:00:40 PM EST

I modified the Adbuters gift exemption voucher so that the people I give it to don't have to give me anything for xmas or my birthday. I still give them gifts on those days, until they reciprocate with a similar voucher. I then buy stuff throughout the year when I see something I know they might appreciate or be challenged by, which means I'm buying them more presents now...

I'm trying to get a family tradition going where we read from our favorite books on that public holyday, despite the fact that my family don't appreciate the radical stuff I like to read.
--
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

'Christmas Gift Exemption Voucher' (3.00 / 15) (#6)
by wji on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 04:42:19 PM EST

GIF version

High-Rez PDF

From Adbusters, www.adbusters.org



In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.

Corrected GIF URL (4.60 / 5) (#16)
by drivers on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 06:02:27 PM EST

I think you posted the wrong URL for the image. The correct one should be here.

[ Parent ]
Sorry! (1.00 / 1) (#89)
by wji on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 06:21:52 PM EST

It's too easy to do that in lynx. Should have checked it.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
Jingle bells, jingle bells... (3.88 / 9) (#7)
by twodot72 on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 04:44:47 PM EST

Yay, we're heading for christmas. Thanks for reminding me. Come on, late December, the darkest, coldest and shittiest time of the year (sorry for being northern hemisphere-centric) must be the most perfect time for festivities. Why would you want to enhance the depressive mood caused by winter darkness by thinking about death? Christmas is the winter season life-saver, I can hardly wait!

Oh, and I'm going to buy so many presents I'll end the recession single-handedly.

Hey, what do you all want for christmas, except for lots of snow and good food?

Really Northern-centic (5.00 / 1) (#44)
by Blue Aardvark House on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 10:23:18 AM EST

Here in South Florida, we need not worry about snow. Just the good food! ;+)

As for the presents, I find it to be one of the most stressful times of the year. The shopping, the crowds in the malls, "what if they don't like my gift", etc.

I wish we could roll back Christmas to what it used to be.

[ Parent ]

White christmas (none / 0) (#69)
by twodot72 on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 01:31:26 PM EST

Actually, I agree with you about the shopping. I'm not a parent, I think for parents chistmas is especially stressful.

I try to plan my christmas shopping , and then go on a single shopping spree, and have it done with. I've been at least partly successful.

After that's taken care of though, I tend to like christmas. A few days off from work, and I'll get to visit my parents, who I only see a few times a year. I really do look forward to that part of christmas. And yes, they have snow!

[ Parent ]

Recesion. (4.00 / 1) (#112)
by Icehouseman on Fri Nov 09, 2001 at 08:31:52 PM EST

Hey thanks for ending the recesion, maybe I can actually get a good job or be recalled to the job I was laid off at last month, hell I can't even get jobs that don't require the college degree I have.

As for the complainer who wants to stop capitalism, I suggest the spend free christmas: 1. Don't buy anything for anyone, your friends and family will appreciate your ability to fight "the man". 2. Don't buy more than your normal amount of food. Don't buy party booze or party chips n dipp. 3. Don't go anywhere than to work or home. You won't have to go to silly christmas parties and waste your gas. Yep, you're gonna have a great holliday season and most importantly you'll fight the man.
----------------
Bush's $3 trillion state is allegedly a mark of "anti-government bias" on the right. -- Anthony Gregory
[ Parent ]

meanwhile.. (3.62 / 16) (#9)
by rebelcool on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 04:56:10 PM EST

those of us who dont have a pointy stick up our ass will use xmas as a convienent opportunity to get away from the routine of life and to see friends and family and give little gifts to those we care about.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Religious, still (3.72 / 11) (#10)
by J'raxis on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 05:19:21 PM EST

It still is a religious holiday. Jesus has simply been replaced with a $.

— The Cynical Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]

A better idea (4.75 / 16) (#11)
by momocrome on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 05:24:38 PM EST

Let's all urge people to give gifts of the handmade variety. Food, drink, macrame spun from the wool of our own sheep, anything you can make with basic supplies and a little elbow grease.

This would serve the purpose of embracing the tradition while diminishing the commercial grip on the holiday.

I realize this is downright hippy of me to suggest, but I feel trying to destroy our 'western culture traditional winter solstice celebration' is crude and stupid. As you pointed out in your story, the winter celebration has been ingrained in our culture for thousands of years.

It seems better that we should steer the tradition away from consumerism rather than simply abandon it altogether, presuming it is determined that the consumerism is actually a bad thing to celebrate. Personally, I enjoy the celebration of consumerism, as it is actually the meat and potatoes of our culture (so to speak- meat and potatoes are still the meat and potatoes of our culture last I checked).

The implication that consumerism is a negative thing really pervade this site, but I wonder how many of you would just up and die without it.

The health, safety, quality of life, education and overall wealth of opportunity under our capitalist system is quite evidently the best social arrangement in the history of mankind (though not to say there might not be a better system in store) for what we have now things are pretty damn good across the board.

To summerize, I think the celebration of Xmas represents the celebration of consumerism, which has proven to be emminantly beneficial to billions in the past century, and if a grass-roots like movement must spring up to deny the celebration, at least consider slight alterations to the tradition instead of wholesale abandonment.

PS: Xmas does not preclude or even really diminish the Christmas, it merely overshadows it. If you really want to meditate on the birth of Christ, you can still find millions of people to do it with you in churches everywhere.

"Give a wide berth to all that foam and spray." - - Lucian, The Way to Write History

Sheep? (4.33 / 6) (#14)
by rusty on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 05:36:16 PM EST

Man, I'm not touching anything that came from your sheep.

That said, I think your idea is a good one. If you don't like commercialization, make stuff! If nothing else, it ought to teach a few people how great it is that we don't have to make all our own stuff by hand all the time. ;-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

I have a friend who does that (3.75 / 4) (#22)
by wiredog on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 08:14:03 PM EST

She spins her own yarn from raw wool, and knits sweaters from it. She's a non-programmer hacker, but does do web pages, who used to do a lot in the BBS days. She's a member of the SCA. She can tell what speed a modem is connecting at just from the tones, and can diagnose connection errors the same way.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
Consumerism (4.66 / 3) (#27)
by Trepalium on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 09:45:19 PM EST

The implication that consumerism is a negative thing really pervade this site, but I wonder how many of you would just up and die without it.
I don't think consumerism means what you think it does. Dictionary.com defines it as:

con·sum·er·ism n.
1. The movement seeking to protect and inform consumers by requiring such practices as honest packaging and advertising, product guarantees, and improved safety standards.
2. The theory that a progressively greater consumption of goods is economically beneficial.
3. Attachment to materialistic values or possessions: deplored the rampant consumerism of contemporary society.

The detractors of consumerism are usually referring to a combination of 2 and 3 because of the push to acquire more and more material possessions. Capitalism is very different from consumerism and while consumerism may be economically beneficial, there's evidence to suggest it's also socially harmful. Many people get "addicted" to shopping and purchasing, and end up in debt far beyond their means to repay.

[ Parent ]

actually: (4.50 / 4) (#31)
by momocrome on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 10:10:58 PM EST

I mean it exactly as per definitioin 2. I mean to convey that the process of greater consumption is crucial, at the very heart of what makes our world turn.

By saying folks might up and die in the absence of 'consumerism' I refer to the lack of an alternative for the current model we all use for the distribution of resources.

"Give a wide berth to all that foam and spray." - - Lucian, The Way to Write History
[ Parent ]

consumerism 's role in our economy (5.00 / 1) (#109)
by deadplant on Fri Nov 09, 2001 at 02:45:49 PM EST

Of course some level of consumerism is necessary for capitalism to function, not much would happen without consumers.

The problem I see arises from the way we measure our economic success... while we do want as much economic activity (production and consumption) as possible, we don't currently distinguish between usefull production+consumption and fluff. If I start a company that produces and sells pet rocks that become popular and everybody buys one it'll show up as a great boost to our economy. The problem is that in reality I just wasted 2years of my employees productive lives on something that has no benefit to society (beyond a quickly passing bit of entertainment)

perhaps an entertainment example isn't the best. Here's a better one... If rich(and|or) vain people throw away their socks every day and buy new ones it's good for our economy (the way we measure things now). But it's not *actually* a good thing for our society because it's less efficient.

Another good example is cars. Modern cars can't take a hit, if you bump into a tree going as fast as I can walk you'll probably have $500+ dollars dammage. Most people would agree that if we built better bumpers we'd have fewer dammaged cars and that would be good... but in fact the way we measure things better bumpers would have a *negative* impact on our economy! (less money spent on repairs / new cars)


i guess my point is that it's this *blind* consumerism that's the problem. It's probably good to encourage usefull consumption / productive work, but buying more and more useless junk only *seems* to help our society when in fact we're weakening ourselves in the long term.



[ Parent ]
Celebrate commercialization (4.33 / 18) (#12)
by rusty on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 05:31:08 PM EST

Personally, I look forward to Christmas because it's when you get (and give!) presents. I couldn't care less about Jesus' birthday, or any of the Christian trappings. I like it because it's when you buy stuff for other people, and people buy stuff for you. If you think about it, it's both a celebration of capitalism, and a subversion of it. It's a gift economy! It's a day full of candy! How can anything be wrong with that?

I think people who boycott and complain about Christmas (er, not to be confused with people who don't celebrate it due to being Jewish, or what have you) have small, gray souls, and need to realize that while they're complaining about everything, their life is ticking away, one precious second at a time. Take the good, leave the bad. There's a lot of good in Christmas. An awful lot of it.

And a special Christmastime message for IHCOYC: If celebrating the nearer approach of Death makes you happy, then you go ahead and have yourself a great big "Death's Coming!" party on December 25th. Do what makes you happy. Celebrate what you believe in, and hug all your friends. Because that is the Twoo Meaning of Chwissmas.

____
Not the real rusty

Yeah! (3.50 / 4) (#21)
by finial on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 07:15:45 PM EST

There's a lot of good in Christmas.

Yeah! Like Grinch reruns!

<SING RANGE="BASSO PROFUNDO">I wouldn't touch you with a thirty nine and a half foot pole.</SING>



[ Parent ]
I LOVE CHRISTMAS !!!! (3.50 / 4) (#30)
by scorpion on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 10:05:23 PM EST

I love to find all kinds of gifts for family members. It makes me really happy to see the smiles and the sparkle in their eyes when they open presents. I think it is the best season of the year.



[ Parent ]

It's necessary (4.66 / 12) (#17)
by finial on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 06:14:25 PM EST

Without Christmas, I'd have to stop wearing underwear.

And socks.



Not quite... (3.75 / 4) (#19)
by theboz on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 06:47:36 PM EST

Don't you have a birthday? (rhetorical question)

That is the other day of the year that I get socks and underwear too. Sometimes I might get some underwear for Valentine's Day but that's not enough to last me all year.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

christmas (4.00 / 5) (#18)
by alprazolam on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 06:33:33 PM EST

is the one time of the year I give into crass over commercialised mainstream culture and buy junk for my family because it makes them happy. I can pretty much handle that, plus the benefits, such as gathering the whole family together, sending little messages to your friends that say nice things like "Hi" and "I love you" outweight the knowledge that I'm supporting the corporate brainwashing ogilarchy. I think it should be possible to give gifts to people, even pre made, purchased gifts, without having to feel like you're just doing something because Wall Street wants you to. I avoid the disgustingly cute over commercialised parts, but there's no reason you can't celebrate a couple times a year.

This Exx-sux (3.57 / 7) (#24)
by 2400n81 on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 08:55:44 PM EST

How about this - you stay in your apartment, alone, and we'll plan on having a great season without you, mmmmkay? I'll tell Mom you said Hi.

I don't see the utility of complaining about Christmas. For some it means Jesus' birthday, for some it means giving gifts, for some it means an excuse to binge spend. I can't speak for them and quite frankly, I don't give a shit.

Who believes in the traditional, Norman Rockwell Christmas anymore? Has anyone ever seen it? I sure as hell haven't.

For me, it means taking a break from work, relaxing, and doing things I want to do. If I want to give a gift, I don't need the holiday-nazis after me.

"No gift for you!"

What about the pagans? (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by seeS on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 09:24:06 PM EST

From what I heard, the real christmas dates before Christ and was some pagan day where they celebrated the fact that they were turning the corner of winter and it should be getting warmer soon.

Back ye olde times they didn't have the luxury of decent heating or housing so winter would be a real and deadly threat to people, so the passing of it would of been a good cause for celebration.

A lot of those sorts of celebrations were filled with feasts (of sorts, they were runnnig on low supplies due to winter) and drinking. So to me eating too much and getting pissed around christmas seems to be getting back to traditional meanings.

I don't recall anything about putting too many frigging lights on your house, but I'm sure that is just an oversight by the "journalists" of the day.

Any you can have your misery, I'll enjoy christmas in our 30C degree heatwaves that we may have again.
--
Where's a policeman when you need one to blame the World Wide Web?

Christmas and paganism (5.00 / 2) (#35)
by Delirium on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 02:28:09 AM EST

Well, it's partly both. Many religions have had winter solstice holidays (even the ancient Eyptians and Mayans did), so it's not a surprise that some of the Northern European pagan ones did as well. Obviously these weren't "Christmas" though. Christmas, it's speculated, was originally celebrated some other time of year (I forget what the "best guess" is). It seems it was moved to around the time of the winter solstice (along with Easter being moved to around the time of the spring equinox) in order to ease the conversion to Christianity of Northern European pagan tribes - at least that way they'd get to have holidays around the times they were used to having holidays, and could keep some of their traditions (e.g. Yule trees).

So what we know as "Christmas" is basically a Christian holiday that has been moved to coincide with some pagan holidays, and the traditions we associate with it include some traditions taken from Northern European cultures. I'd say the majority of the familiar aspects of Christmas - Santa Claus (or St. Nicholas in much of Europe, or St. Basil in Greece) and the tradition of giving gifts to children, for example - are clearly derived from Christianity. In fact the "Christmas tree" (derived from the Germanic Yule tree) is the only familiar non-Christian-derived Christmas tradition I can think of, and it's not even really pagan so much as a Germanic tradition.

[ Parent ]

Easter (none / 0) (#40)
by nefertari on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 09:27:04 AM EST

As far as i know the date of Easter is more or less depending on the Jewish holiday Passover. This one is calculated from the moon (as the Jewish months are calculated). But since the resurrection of Jesus was on the day after Sabbat it is now always on Sunday, although Passover is changing the day of the week.

So in order to change the time of Easter one would have to either change the New Testament or the Jewish calender. Both would be difficult to do after some hundred years.

[ Parent ]

Easter date (none / 0) (#52)
by finial on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 10:54:30 AM EST

The date for Easter was set at the first council of Nicea in 325 AD/CE as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox.



[ Parent ]
The date of Easter (none / 0) (#64)
by IHCOYC on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 12:48:14 PM EST

I seem to remember that in the early Christian church there was an attempt made to avoid having Easter coincide with the Jewish passover. Now, sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't.

--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy
[ Parent ]
eastern orthodox vs. catholic (none / 0) (#74)
by Delirium on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 02:52:46 PM EST

The Eastern Orthodox church calculates Easter taking Passover into account - it's the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox after Passover. This is based on the sequence of events in the Bible wherein Passover happened prior to the crucifixion.

I'm not sure why the Catholic Church (and thus the Protestant churches, since they inherited the Catholic way of doing it) dropped this requirement.

[ Parent ]

turning the corner of winter? (none / 0) (#56)
by houser2112 on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 11:31:55 AM EST

Not quite, at least here in western NY. Christmas is when winter is just getting started. Perhaps from a celestial POV, winter is turning into spring, but the weather doesn't get warm enough for me to consider it "spring" until around mid-april (well after the vernal equinox), and sometimes not even then.

[ Parent ]
Length of days, and lag of the seasons... (none / 0) (#66)
by darthaggie on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 01:15:02 PM EST

Perhaps from a celestial POV, winter is turning into spring,

Of course, it's the rebirth of the sun. The days grow longer. In the Northern Hemisphere, anyway...

but the weather doesn't get warm enough for me to consider it "spring" until around mid-april (well after the vernal equinox), and sometimes not even then.

Ah, the lag of the seasons... :)

I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

Actually (3.60 / 5) (#28)
by Elendale on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 10:00:13 PM EST

I think the modern day Christmas celebrations are decidedly religious. We all go to the local temples and make offerrings to our favorite gods- Abercrombie, Dell, Pizza Hut, or Radio Shack- in exchange for the kharmaic rewards of gift giving. It really is quite a religious experience.
Except we all end up in purgatory- trying next year to appease the Might Corporations that they might bestow upon us the great gift of Christmas joy again next year.

-Elendale (Don't we do this every year?)
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


Who said you had to buy Christmas presents? (4.00 / 3) (#29)
by nuntius on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 10:04:29 PM EST

Instead of being a Scrooge and complaining about corporate misers, celebrate Christmas without the "help" of the retail stores...

How?
Make/do something yourself!! Despite popular urban legends, it is still possible for individuals to make crafts, practice carols together, and in general do thing for each other in an unselfish manner.

(I apologize if "school-to-work" and other government programs have actually stripped you of all personal creativity.)

Many kinds of gifts (4.85 / 7) (#33)
by vasi on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 12:46:03 AM EST

If you want to be non-commercial on christmas, or even if you don't, try volunteering. There are plenty of homeless shelters or fundraisers that rely on people who are off work or school for christmas break. I'm sure they'd love your help both on christmas day and the few days before and after.

It doesn't have to feel like work either; last year I volunteered for a church which brought in several thousand homeless people, entertained them for a day, and gave them food and clothing. I was doing very helpful but not-terribly-difficult work like sorting clothes, and spent the whole time with my friends who were also helping.

You can even give your more enlightened friends the gift of knowing that you spent your time doing something truly useful instead of shopping. I'm sure they'll appreciate it. And for the rest, just buy them something or make them something or do nothing at all, whatever you'd prefer. You've already done something positive about christmas, that's much better than simply not doing something mildly negative like shopping.

Yeah, so this sounds like a corny ad for volunteering, so what? Try it...

vasi


PS: I'm Jewish, so christmas day doesn't even mean much to me. The places that need help, need it from anyone, regardless of whether they're doing it out of "christmas spirit" or just 'cause. That means you! ;-)

A humble suggestion. (3.28 / 7) (#34)
by RobotSlave on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 12:57:01 AM EST

Look, I know you mean well and all, but you really, really don't understand how this works.

First, go have some kids.

Then, re-read what you've written, and try to follow your own advice.

As a 'kid'.... (2.00 / 1) (#92)
by TheNefariousNoodle on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 11:45:11 PM EST

Well, I'm only 16, but as someone whose childhood memories, if I'm yet through living them, are much closer than many people's, I can say that kids would probably be much happier and healthier without christmas.

The only joy I ever felt on christmas was not the result not of any altruistic, loving feeling of sentimentality. Not at all. Christmas makes kids happy only by appeasing their most perverse instincts of selfishness and greed (which all of us are born with). People need to learn how to overcome those instincts, not glorify them with an annual orgy of wanton comsumption.

The department stores had their decorations up more than a month ago (before halloween! Before thanksgiving, for chirssakes!) when I was at the mall... I strongly considered doing something highly illegal to them. Then I realized I didn't have any matches...

Darn...

Oh, it seems I mentioned Christ earlier. I am an atheist--as is my family, for the most part--but I would still much rather celebrate christ and all the good stuff he stood for than have anything to do with christmas as we know it.

I think my family will skip xmas this year. Everything's cheaper in the few months afterwards, anyway :)

{The Nefarious Noodle}
"Do you have the time/To listen to me whine/About nothing and everything/All at once?" --Green Day, "Basket Case"
[ Parent ]

Nice rant (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by bugmaster on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 06:15:51 AM EST

It's a pretty good rant (I gave it a +1), but I disagree. I personally don't give gifts to people because my Corporare Overlords want me to - I give gifts because it makes me happy. Personally, I don't celebrate Chirstmas, or Exxmas, or whatever - I celebrate the New Year. And having survived another year in this world is truly a cause for celebration.
>|<*:=
Right on! (3.40 / 5) (#39)
by Fubar the Clown on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 09:25:52 AM EST

Bitchin' good rant, IHCOYC. But here's a question nobody's bothered to ask: why the fuck do we need a special "holdiay" to "be merry" and give little gifts to the people we care about?

I don't wait until fucking Christmas to give my woman a book she's been wanting or some pretty clothes. I give 'em whenever I want to show her that I care.

I don't wait until fucking Christmas to see my family and "reconnect" with them. I can pick up the damn phone any time, or wait for a weekend to fire up my Harley and ride down to my parents' house.

Fuck Christmas -- we don't need it for the important shit.

--
Coming soon from Megafarce Records: Antipop Superstar by Fubar the Clown

Why? (5.00 / 1) (#49)
by finial on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 10:49:29 AM EST

why the fuck do we need a special "holdiay" to "be merry" and give little gifts to the people we care about?

Because you get a day off work.



[ Parent ]
That's a silly reason. (1.00 / 1) (#57)
by Fubar the Clown on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 11:39:05 AM EST

Get a day off work? Please.

Then again, I like my job and don't mind putting in 40-50 hours a week from Monday to Friday.

--
Coming soon from Megafarce Records: Antipop Superstar by Fubar the Clown
[ Parent ]

Hours (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by finial on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 12:10:52 PM EST

Some people have relatives that live thousands of miles away. It's nice to have a day off to be able to see them.

[ Parent ]
here's why: (5.00 / 2) (#60)
by rebelcool on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 12:18:30 PM EST

a holiday is a nationally agreed upon occasional to take work off. This way people can get together, all at once, and see each other. Try scheduling that across cities and states with many relatives on any old day... it would take months of planning.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Xmas (4.33 / 3) (#41)
by BehTong on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 09:41:31 AM EST

Well, K5 (or the net between K5 and me) ate a previous long post, so I'll just re-submit a more concise version.

  1. I'm a born-again Christian, but I don't celebrate Christmas. Because, like the article points out, it did not originate from the Bible but from a pagan practice that was adopted by the powers-that-be at the time, to appease the crowd. (Win the votes, so to speak.) *Ugh* I hate it when politics mix with religion. There is no such thing as santa claus or flying reindeer in the Bible, neither "christmas" trees.
  2. In fact, none of the early Christians even had the thought of making an occasion out of Christ's birth -- but rather, the Bible tells Christians to remember Christ's death.
  3. Christ was definitely NOT born in December -- there were shepherds out tending sheep when he was born. It gets pretty cold in December in those parts (at the time); shepherds there do not bring out their sheep in December, much less tending to them through the night in the fields.
  4. But of course, because of political interests in those times, the name of Christ was "borrowed" and stuck onto a pagan festival, so that the masses would not be offended by the "official state religion". And because of crass commercial interests, the tradition is kept today. *Puke*
  5. You can bet I'm not sending or getting any gifts this Xmas. There's nothing Christian about it -- except the fact people with their own agenda exploited the name of Christ by sticking it to an occasion that benefits them. To me, it's almost an insult to the Christian faith.


Beh Tong Kah Beh Si!

I like this.... (none / 0) (#62)
by tekniklr on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 12:35:56 PM EST

Since I am one who is not incredibly fond of organized religion in general (if anyone got it right it would most likely be pagans tho, since they were around first), this makes me like Christmas even more :)

I love Christmas, but always felt kind of guilty in liking it because of it's religious connotations. You just made me feel much better about the whole thing.

And just for the record, my favorite part of Christmas is definately not the presents. They cost too much and after opening them you are usually left with a 'that was it? Christmas is over?' feeling.

Instead, I love the month, weeks, and days leading up to Christmas. I love the music and movies, the lights, sounds, tastes and smells. I love going out and getting a tree, and later just sitting in front of it in the dark drinking egg nog. This is what I start looking forward to in October, and miss intensely in January when the tree comes down.

[ Parent ]

Just a thought... (none / 0) (#86)
by ComradeSeraph on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 05:29:34 PM EST

I don't want to question your faith, but isn't it kind of hard to read the bible without thinking of political interpretations? Many of the instructions have political implications, while both Testaments are absolutely rife with possibilities for geopolitical, economic and social analysis. I think reasonable people can be Christians, but I'm not sure you can keep politics away from anything human, divinely-inspired or not...

[ Parent ]
Political implications? (none / 0) (#95)
by BehTong on Wed Nov 07, 2001 at 01:55:03 PM EST

Could you be more specific?

There are passages that talk about honoring the authorities set over you and accepting that authority as being from God; paying taxes, etc.. In other words, it's from the POV of a lay citizen. I'm not aware of any passage that instructs Christians to initiate political movements. (In fact, there are quite graphic illustrations to the contrary -- e.g. the references to political relationships as fornicating with the kings of the earth.)

Now there are a lot of "political" statements in the Old Testament, in the instructions to the kings, but I personally don't believe that is intended to be applied to Christians today, since it was addressed not to the New Testament believers but to the Jews in ancient times. The dispensation (times) has changed, and those do not literally apply anymore.

Beh Tong Kah Beh Si!
[ Parent ]

A few quotes (none / 0) (#100)
by ComradeSeraph on Thu Nov 08, 2001 at 04:03:29 AM EST

It is true that the Bible never demands actual political organization. It does advocate a form of society radically different from our own, and demands that believers try to bring about that world. I don't deny there are plenty of words in the Bible that advocate peace, kindness, mercy and non-interference- the beauty of a work this large with so many authors is that you can draw so many different contradictory interpretations from it. Consider what type of action the following quotes would suggest, though- Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Thessalians 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 1:11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. 1:12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; 1:14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Deuteronomy 13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; 13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; 13:8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: 13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; You have explicit instructions to kill adulterers, homosexuals and anyone who tries to convince you that you might be wrong about your faith. You are also told that women are the eternal subordinates of men and should always submit at once, to silence and harass jews and that slavery is ok. I have way, way more of this stuff... If you draw your morality from the parts of the Bible that speak to you (and there are plenty of beautiful passages), I don't have any problem with it. The complete text of the Bible is deeply political, though... some of it would qualify as hate speech if it were published today in my country.

[ Parent ]
ARRRGH (fixed formatting) (none / 0) (#101)
by ComradeSeraph on Thu Nov 08, 2001 at 04:05:57 AM EST

It is true that the Bible never demands actual political organization. It does advocate a form of society radically different from our own, and demands that believers try to bring about that world. I don't deny there are plenty of words in the Bible that advocate peace, kindness, mercy and non-interference- the beauty of a work this large with so many authors is that you can draw so many different contradictory interpretations from it. Consider what type of action the following quotes would suggest, though-

Leviticus

20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Corinthians
6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

Thessalians
1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
1:11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
1:12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
1:14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

Deuteronomy
13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
13:8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die;

Ephesians
5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

You have explicit instructions to kill adulterers, homosexuals and anyone who tries to convince you that you might be wrong about your faith. You are also told that women are the eternal subordinates of men and should always submit at once, to silence and harass jews and that slavery is ok. I have way, way more of this stuff...

If you draw your morality from the parts of the Bible that speak to you (and there are plenty of beautiful passages), I don't have any problem with it. The complete text of the Bible is deeply political, though... some of it would qualify as hate speech if it were published today in my country.

[ Parent ]

Context (none / 0) (#103)
by BehTong on Thu Nov 08, 2001 at 10:20:45 AM EST

Well, I didn't want to reply to this because it's not exactly on-topic, but I just want to point out that many passages in the Bible have a particular background and context, and is addressed to a particular situation. If they are taken out-of-context, it's not surprising that one can draw contradictory conclusions from them.

It does advocate a form of society radically different from our own, and demands that believers try to bring about that world.

It does not advocate that believers try to bring about that world. Rather, it is a description of what a believer's life ought to look like.

Your quote from Thessalonians was written with a specific context in mind -- that is, at the time, there were Judaizers who wanted to bring in Jewish traditions among the Gentile believers. They are who Paul refers to as "vain talkers" and "deceivers". Paul is certainly not trying to say that Christians should go out and silence people who don't agree with them; rather, he is saying that among believers the teaching of Christ should not be mixed with other things.

And regarding your quote from Ephesians -- I can't believe how many times men and women alike quote from the same chapter and draw diverging conclusions. One should be aware that there are two aspects to every teaching in the Bible. In this particular passage, Paul not only says that wives ought to be subject to their husbands, but, in the same chapter, he says that husbands ought to love their wives as Christ also loved the church -- i.e., to love them to the point they give their life for their wife. Taking one portion or the other in isolation is robbing it of its true meaning.

And regarding your conclusion about slavery -- I'm sorry, you're totally taking it out of context. The verse you quoted from Ephesians is directed at a society wherein slavery was accepted -- and Paul was not saying that slavery is "OK", but he was saying that if one is a believer under slavery, he should not rebel against his master, but submit to what God has allowed to take place in his life. Big difference.

And regarding your quotes from the Old Testament -- one must understand that the Old Testament was addressed to the Jews in the ancient times, in the context of their society at that time. The principles embodied in the passages always apply; but the practices themselves no longer do -- the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews gives a lengthy treatise as to why the Old Testament practices are signs, symbols, that has been fulfilled in Christ. (I won't get into details here -- you can study it for yourself.) This is the same reason Christians today don't go out and slaughter and burn animals for sacrifice, even though the Old Testament explicitly commands the Israelites to do so.

And finally, it is hardly surprising to me that people construe parts of the Bible as "hate speech" -- but the principle in the Bible is that one apply the strict commandments to himself, and not to use the Bible to beat others over the head. ("... why do you see the splinter in your brother's eye but the log in your own eye you do not see?") Many passages, such as the one from Ephesians you have quoted, have been taken out of context and used by chauvinists and feminists alike to beat each other over the head and accuse each other of mistreatment. This is against the principle of the Bible, and it is no wonder that they draw conclusions from the Bible that are not at all in the spirit of the Bible.

Beh Tong Kah Beh Si!
[ Parent ]

Instructions or Wise Words? (none / 0) (#108)
by ComradeSeraph on Fri Nov 09, 2001 at 12:02:50 AM EST

As a general comment, I'd point out that everything we do is political. Culture is political, and what we collectively consider acceptable or unacceptable forms culture.

More specific responses...

I'm not sure you can just let the Old Testament go. Check Matthew 5:17 and Luke 16:17... it sounds like all the old laws are still supposed be in effect. Yes, there are passages that make it sound like they're supposed to be let go of as well- I'm simply noting that the waters are murky. Anyways, making the Old Testament non-operational cleans up the political and moral side of a believer's instructions very effectively, so I'll let it slide...

Both New and Old Testaments are adamant than homosexuality is a terrible sin, though. It must be met with death (Old Testament) or eternal damnation (New Testament). This has obvious political implications for the legislation of gay rights, gay marriage etc. You could argue that it isn't an individual Christian's responsibility to fight against gay rights- heretic society can damn itself if it wants, since the believer is safe. Of course, things like Satan worship, evolution in schools and prostitution slip through that argument too...

The slavery issue remains disquieting- telling slaves to obey their masters may be a simple reflection of society, but the 'as on to Christ' part suggests more than acceptance of one's lot. Paul talks about it again it Colossians 3:22, telling slaves to obey masters 'in all things... fearing God'. He gives the impression God not only accepts but condones and enforces the master-slave relationship... making it a part of being a good Christian. Of course, Christ frequently tells his followers to have no master but God, but that's a different argument...

Paul does think husbands should love their wives up to and including sacrificing their life. For the power balance of the sexes, though, this is irrelevent- I love my dog and I'd probably give my life for my dog, but there's no doubt about who is master in our relationship. Paul makes very clear that women are subordinates to their husbands. Corinthians 11:3- "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." Then there's Timothy 2:12, where Paul says women cannot be allowed teach men. This has no end of political implications. If you want to use the public school system, our current system is useless. It makes the ideas of the women's rights movement and gender equality heretical as well.

You can make a Bible without many political implications, but you'll have to snip out/dramatically re-interpret the Old Testament, much of Paul and bits and pieces from all the apostles. If you simply use the Bible as a general moral guide this is a waste of our time, but if you look for specific instructions I'm pointing out the ones that apply to your political beliefs, whatever they may be. Anyways, looking this stuff up and checking context has been an interesting exercise... I'm glad we had this little chat.

[ Parent ]

You're right! (none / 0) (#106)
by epepke on Thu Nov 08, 2001 at 04:24:48 PM EST

I've been saying this for years. However, this is the first time that I have encountered a Christian (other than Quakers and Seventh-Day Adventists) who has said this.

Oh, by the way, sorry about the news, but Easter was named after the Celtic spring goddess of fertility. From her you get the eggs and bunny rabbits.

Ironically, the only real Chrisitian holiday, in the sense that it wasn't built around a Jewish or pagan or other holiday, is the one that seems to get most Christians' knickers in a twist. That's right, Halloween. It's an abbreviation of "all hallow's evening." November 1 survives to this day as All Saints' Day in some Catholic countries; Halloween is the night before. November 1 was a popular meeting time in the early Church, during the brief period when Christians had to be secret. Dressing up the night before and knocking on people's doors for treats commemorates the practice of secret Christians, in disguise, stopping at safe houses on their way to November 1 meetings.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Christmas is a time for joy (3.83 / 6) (#42)
by netmouse on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 09:57:44 AM EST

And Saturnalia was a feast worth celebrating. Saturnalia was a time when all the slaves in Rome were set free, if only for a few days, and all their masters similarly discharged from their patrician responsibilities.

Here in the USA of the 20th century, Exxmas is quite the opposite. During Exxmastide we are ground down even more than before by our corporate masters.

Considering the five days paid vacation our family is getting between December 22 and January 2nd, I find your drawing up of "opposites" to be pretty strongly flawed here. But you are assuming we are all slaves to huge corporations other than the ones that employ us, I suppose.

Bah, humbug.

I do not believe in your picture of corporate slavedom; it is not for me. I see it on the streets and in other peoples eyes, yes, and I am weary of it, but since already I do not participate in it, depriving myself of the joys of our family christmas celebration would do little to bring it down. A strategy for that needs to be better developed and full of propoganda for the masses, not this crowd you find before you.

Christmas is a time for Joy.
Christmas is a time for Cheer
Christmas is a peaceful feeling, lasting all the year.
...
I can love you.
My gift to you
Is that I do, I do.

(from A Star Wars Christmas, a record album we play every year to celebrate our christmas in the stars.)

Decorating the christmas tree, for my family, is a revisiting of our whole family history. The decorations we made together, that others made or bought for us, the different wrapping papers in the wrapping paper chain, and the memories they bring. And the whole house is made beautiful.

We traditionally lay in a very fancy feast on Christmas eve, with the silver and the crystal and candles and shining eyes all around, with much toasting of being together and being well for one more year. This feast rarely got served before midnight during my youth, but the nuts and fruitcakes and summer sausages and eggnog carried us through to it.

We are not a religious family, but I can appreciate the ideas behind the celebration of Christ's birth, for Christ is the icon of a gift, a gift of forgiveness and love for everyone.

As for physical gifts, I shop for those throughout the year, treasuring the anticipation of gift-giving as I travel and scour used book stores. One year I went to Russia in the spring and gave token gifts on my return... The delight and surprise of my family as I gave them saved gifts from that trip at Christmas and their birthdays throughout the year were priceless to me. This type of gift-giving symbolizes how much you think of someone during times of joy, sort of a "wish you were there" sharing.

But the greatest gift is opening your heart.

I agree with one part of the "not shopping" movement: time off at Christmas should be spent together at home, not in mindless drumming down the corridors of hideous malls and Wal-Marts. If you must go shopping, support your downtown businesses. And volunteering, I always support that. Go to your nursing homes and visit those who brought us here and are now too-often forgotten. And donate blood. In fact, to be useful at Christmas, donate blood now. Go on, give the gift of life. Other Christmas gifts are optional. Try to focus on the joy of it all, because we're all beating the odds just by being here. As another song from that hokey album says,

(dum, dum, dum, )
The odds against Christmas being Christmas,
Are three hundred and sixty-five to one.
(bong, bong)
Christmas, you see, could have easily
Never, ever begun.
(bong, bong)
The odds against Christmas being Christmas, against love being born at all
Are so very large, that all other odds should seem terribly, terribly small.

--Netmouse

Complaining will get you nowhere (4.60 / 5) (#43)
by odd_raisin on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 10:19:26 AM EST

Christmas, like most things, is what _you_ make of it. If you focus on the external meaning of Christmas, then of course you'll think it's all about the capitalism, or the cold, dark winter, or whatever you want to interpret the world as. At the end of the day, 'you get out what you put in'.

Personally, I don't really mind the gifts either way. I enjoy Christmas because I live a far distance from my family, and Christmas is just about the only time of year I get to see them. I can see how some people enjoy Christmas for its materialistic aspect, but I've made it into a time when I can slow down from a frantic life and enjoy being with the people I care about. Sounds a bit cliche, but the point ( I think ) stands.

If you spend all your time thinking about how the world doesn't come up to your standards, you'll be perpetually unhappy, cynical, and pessimistic. I know. I've been there. But that entire 'building character' thing you wrote about isn't just suffering through hardship. It's about appreciating things for what they are. It's about changing yourself so that you are happy with yourself. Generating your own happiness is one of the most important skills you will ever learn. It's the most important part of relationships ( that entire give and take, not just relying on the other person to provide love / entertainment, etc ). It's the most important part of life ( it makes it worth living ).

So, sorry for the rant ( and bad spelling :) ), but this kind of article bugs me. People these days seem so intent on externalising and shifting responsibility from themselves ( I hate Christmas because the world doesn't celebrate it in the way that I feel it should be ), that they completely miss the most rewarding parts of life, and the opportunity to make themselves people, instead of bitter reflections of the world they live in.

Notice how Christmas is being rebranded? (2.25 / 4) (#47)
by fraserspeirs on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 10:36:08 AM EST

I notice that a number of seasonal ad campaigns insist on referring to Christmas as 'holiday'. I particularly notice this with Gap and Coca-Cola. Soon the last vestiges of Christ will be exorcised from Gift Season (no matter how arbitrary it was that Christ was ever involved in the first place).

My family and all our friends are getting together this christmas to avoid loading all our lives with the usual trinkety crap that comes from having a lot of people we want to buy presents for.

We used to have a 'rule' of max £3 per person, but that just lead to my friend's sister getting (literally) 18 photo frames.

So this year, we're pooling the money we'd all spend on small gifts so that each person can get something of significant value and utility. The system works really well. We do it for birthdays too, and all my friends gave me a new MTB, which was really cool of all of them.

I seriously hate the greetings card industry, so I lean strongly against the designating of days as National Whatever Day....

If I didn't want an iPod so much, I'd be 100% with you in this rant :-)

Fraz

Sorry, I Don't Buy It (5.00 / 1) (#67)
by Null_Packet on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 01:19:34 PM EST

Sorry, pally boy.  I'd love to buy into your conspiracy that all the retailers are re-branding Christmas in a plot against religion, but not everyone has the same beliefs that you or I do, and the retailers are simply trying to reach the broadest market.

Besides, if you were that into the religious portion of Christmas, you'd capitalize it.

My family and all our friends are getting together this christmas...

I'm sure it's a typo- but it delivers the point succesfully.



[ Parent ]
No, no, no... (none / 0) (#87)
by fraserspeirs on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 05:51:19 PM EST

I didn't say it was a conspiracy, or that Gap was trying to kill Christianity or anything. I was just observing that this subtle rebranding process was going on, more from the point of view that it feels weird that companies can 'brand' such things.

Here in Glasgow, Coca-Cola manages to brand the entire city centre with it's logos every Christmas.

[ Parent ]

standard business sense (none / 0) (#110)
by deadplant on Fri Nov 09, 2001 at 03:15:55 PM EST

No conspiracy needed, a holiday focused on christians has a smaller market than one focused on consumers in general. Therefore it's in the best interests of retailers to downplay/eradicate the religious aspect so their ads can appeal to more people. It's common business sense. whether or not it's a Good Thing(c) is an open issue.

[ Parent ]
Something Better (4.50 / 2) (#48)
by DarkZero on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 10:47:58 AM EST

Personally, I liked this rant, but I think it missed one key point of ignoring Christmas: finding something better. Y'know... suggesting better things to do with your time, your money, your love, and your cash.

Personally, I think a lot of people would show more real love by not waiting until Christmas. Your friend said they really wanted something, but it "was just way too expensive to buy". Buy it for them. Not on December 25th. Now, in early November. Right now. Your child desperately wants a PlayStation 2 for Christmas? Fuck Christmas. You know what'd be a real surprise? If you came home from work today with a PlayStation 2 in the back of your car and said, "Hey, son, come out here a minute. I've got something to show you". And shouldn't just do it all NOW, either. If an idea for something one of your friends or family members wants, which would mean a lot to them, pops into your head in April, a month practically devoid of holidays... get it for them. Right then.

Don't show your anti-corporate, anti-group mentality feelings by being a Scrooge. Show it by showing MORE love to your loved ones, and in different ways. Merry Tuesday, everyone.



Something Better (4.00 / 6) (#50)
by DarkZero on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 10:50:30 AM EST

Personally, I liked this rant, but I think it missed one key point of ignoring Christmas: finding something better. Y'know... suggesting better things to do with your time, your money, your love, and your cash.

Personally, I think a lot of people would show more real love by not waiting until Christmas. Your friend said they really wanted something, but it "was just way too expensive to buy". Buy it for them. Not on December 25th. Now, in early November. Right now. Your child desperately wants a PlayStation 2 for Christmas? Fuck Christmas. Y'know what'd be a real surprise? If you came home from work today with a PlayStation 2 in the back of your car and said, "Hey, son, come out here a minute. I've got something to show you". And don't just do it all NOW, either. If an idea for something one of your friends or family members wants, which would mean a lot to them, pops into your head in April, a month practically devoid of holidays... get it for them. Right then.

Don't show your anti-corporate, anti-group mentality feelings by being a cheap ass miser. Show it by showing MORE love to your loved ones, and in different ways.

Merry Tuesday, everyone.



Double Post - Sorry (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by DarkZero on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 10:51:50 AM EST

Sorry about the double post. I accidentally hit "Post" instead of "Preview", and tried to hit "Preview" real quick after that to stop it before proofreading. Sorry.

[ Parent ]
Duh? (none / 0) (#114)
by nstenz on Sun Dec 15, 2002 at 01:58:02 PM EST

I accidentally hit "Post" instead of "Preview", and tried to hit "Preview" real quick after that to stop it before proofreading.
That would be really stupid. You'd have better luck hitting 'Stop' first, but more than likely, your 'Post' request has already been sent to the server.

If it were a regular weekday, you could just do nothing and wait for K5 to time out, like usual. (Hey, it's the truth!)

[ Parent ]

Commercialized Mythmas Good... (4.00 / 3) (#53)
by Belgand on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 11:18:07 AM EST

Although it would seem I'm a bit in the minority here I happen to rather enjoy the commercial aspects. I'm an atheist and I don't particularly care for my family all that much. What living relatives I do have live quite a ways away and so I've never had any "family holidays" before and would definately like to keep it this way. Mythmas as such is a wonderful holiday if you look at it in the right way. You drag a dirty piece of nature into the house, put up lights and give each other gifts on a relatively arbitrary day of the year. It doesn't have shite to do with religion or good will or family or much of anything aside from having people to trade gifts with.

There isn't any "spirit of Halloween" other than extorting candy from the neighbors and going to parties so why do we need to have one for any other holiday? If you want it to be a religious thing or use it to bash commerce or what have you, go ahead and do so, but I'll be off giving gifts, drinking egg nog and having fun.



Whine, Whine, Whine (4.00 / 7) (#54)
by coryking on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 11:20:05 AM EST

Jesus man - what's your problem? A wee bit jaded are we? As with everything in life, Christmas is what you make of it. If all you focus on is "evil commericalization" then that's all you will get out of it.

Instead of complaning all the time about how the world does not fit your sad cynical viewpoint, why not get out and enjoy the holiday? Take a week off from work. Go snowboarding (I know I will). Go on vacation (airfare is cheap). Stay at home, cuddle up with your S/O to a nice fire and sip hot chocolate or something.

Oh wait, my fault, that all involved spending money and caving into your "corporate masters", and that's evil, right?

Grow up dude. If you dont start changing your views, you are going to lead one sad, depressing, lonely life.

RE: Wine Wine Wine (3.50 / 4) (#70)
by Signal 11 on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 01:31:39 PM EST

You see, that's what the topic ought to be - because that's what this guy desperately needs.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]
Let's make our own gifts this Xmas. (3.20 / 5) (#55)
by trebuchet on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 11:20:20 AM EST

Sure, it still involves buying stuff, but it costs much less, and usually there are places to buy one's supplies/tools that don't support "our corporate masters".

Also, a gift that you made yourself says much more than a gift you bought at a store, and is frequently more durable (doesn't break as easily), because you actually care about this gift, and (presumably) about the person you are giving it to.

Why not make your own cards, too? It's not very hard, most office suites come with a wizard to make a card and print it (though you may feel that this is missing the point).

Trebuchet.

--
I wanna be a new original creation,
A cross between a moose, a monkey, and a fig.
I'm ready, Monsanto, let me be your guinea pig.
--Moxy Fruvous
Or thoughtful thriftstore items (none / 0) (#104)
by triticale on Thu Nov 08, 2001 at 01:53:02 PM EST

Most appreciated gift we ever gave was a sweater for a neighbor's step-daughter. We had been caring enough to know it was just right for the girl, and added it to a "fill for a buck" bag at a church rummage sale. And yes, we told them where we got it.

We also told our nephew that the wonderful radio control truck we gave him last Christmas had been thrown out by the Rat Shak on my regular dumpster diving run. We haven't bought wrapping paper in a decade. Even tho I dive office dumpsters father than residential, I find several rolls every year just after the holiday.



[ Parent ]
My mama says, my papa says and me thinks (2.25 / 4) (#58)
by mami on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 11:51:30 AM EST

-- mama says, it's her darn right of freedom of speech to send everybody she loves any card she likes with anything on it she wants to say.

-- papa says, it's his darn right to do with his money whatever he wants, if it's not harmful to anybody, and for the heck of his life, he can't see whom it hurts if he buys some presents for the people he cares for.

-- me says, I wanna get a present and a card (and I think you want too, dear author).

-- all your worries can be solved, make a present yourself, make a card by yourself and write your own words on it. End of Christmas business.



An Alternate View (4.60 / 5) (#61)
by ThePlague on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 12:21:58 PM EST

I would write a rebuttal to this story, but John Waters has already done a splendid job.

I dunno... (3.75 / 4) (#63)
by Anatta on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 12:37:35 PM EST

The end-of-year holiday has been celebrated for millennia by many many different cultures, in different ways (currently in the west, it's known by most as "Christmas" but in a few more centuries, it will probably be called something different.)

Maybe you should chill out for a bit, grab some eggnog, throw a little of whatever you fancy in it, sit by a warm, crackling fire for a little while, and ponder why so very many people throughout history have held celebrations at this time. What is it, after you take out all the presents and lights and current celebratory methods, that is really being celebrated at "Christmas" time? Why do people now use presents and lights to express those feelings?

Once you find out, you can send all of us at K5 an E-card... I'm sure you'll want to wish us all a "Merry Christmas" while you're at it.
My Music

So What? (4.66 / 3) (#65)
by Null_Packet on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 01:10:04 PM EST

Besides the already posted link to John Waters, I think the author might be a little burnt out (understatement).

Christmas is a time for giving and getting.  I always paid homage to the not-so-old adage, "It is better to give AND receive." And I still believe that.  You don't have to buy anything, some other posters suggest you can make gifts- great idea.  But I for one live in a society and economy that thrives on buy/sell/buy/sell.  It obvious that retailers love the season, as many people buy their gifts.  Some people may get into Christmas for the wrong reason, but unless the reason that you celebrate pisses you off,  your reason isn't the wrong one.

I celebrate to kinds of events on Christmas- the birth of one of my significant religious figures and to celebrate the holiday of gift-giving.  I don't buy into the roots of Christmas and how they might or might not related to my religion, but I do celebrate both.

So anyways, it sounds a bit stupid to hear someone say "I am scrooged this year, be miserable with me! People are celebrating the holiday the wrong way!"  In my country, we let people dance in their homes and celebrate Chanukah,  Kwanza, Christmas, whatever- have a blast! Spend time with friends and loved ones, or go spend it helping the homeless in a shelter.

Let's not give gifts this Exxmas.

Let's not send cards, neither.

I am also certain that most among you are at least annoyed by the marketing practices of the florists and greeting card companies.

You know, you don't have to buy into any marketing schemes. You don't have to go into debt.  You can use that printer and any number of image/text editors and apply some effort to make unique gifts at home.

Madison Avenue demands no less.

I'll let you know when I give a damn what Madison Ave. thinks.



No absolutes (3.75 / 4) (#75)
by quartz on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 02:57:23 PM EST

Christmas is a time for giving and getting

No it's not. Christmas is a social fiction. Whether you internalize it or not, it's up to you. The author of the article chose not to. That's OK. You chose to do it. That's OK too. There's really no right and wrong here.



--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
[ Parent ]
Yeah, well fuck you too. (2.36 / 11) (#68)
by Zanshin on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 01:25:20 PM EST

I hate people like you. You just don't get it. Here you are all "opressed" by the "world" nudging you oh so slightly to do something and your response is to tell the whole world what to do. So quit being so fucking hypocritical, chose what *YOU* want to do, be happy with it, live with it, be man enough to be alone in your decision if need be, and let other people do what *THEY* want to do. See how much easier life is when you don't need to control other people's lives?

Of course, your opinion is utter crap (2.75 / 4) (#73)
by Sunir on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 02:42:43 PM EST

It's legitimate to petition others to a course of action. That's the purpose of a society, and the nature of advocacy. As it is his freedom to advocate a course of action, it is also your freedom to not listen to him.

In other words--yours:

I hate people like you. You just don't get it. Here you are all "opressed" by the "world" nudging you oh so slightly to do something and your response is to tell the whole world what to do. So quit being so ... hypocritical, chose what *YOU* want to do, be happy with it, live with it, be man enough to be alone in your decision if need be, and let other people do what *THEY* want to do. See how much easier life is when you don't need to control other people's lives?

Intolerance to intolerance is a dubious stance to take.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

Then why the hell did he bother to write the story (3.50 / 2) (#77)
by coryking on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 03:06:53 PM EST

Just for us to ignore?

[ Parent ]
Why I wrote the story. . . (3.33 / 3) (#78)
by IHCOYC on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 03:22:24 PM EST

Mostly, to plant the notion that boycotting the Xmas shopping mess is the only way to tame this beast. What I tend to see, what annoys me, is to hear dozens of people complaining about the commercialisation of Xmas, yet going out and doing the shopping anyways.

This suggests to me, first, that there is something more than a gentle "nudge" going on, compelling people to do things they'd rather not do. Second, that a call to boycott the whole damned mess might help give more people enough backbone to say "No!" to the joyless and annoying ritual.

It seems to me that those who urge us to spend money on Xmas speak loud and long enough. It isn't like your TV, radio, and newspaper are awash in the message, "To hell with Xmas. It's just a scam. Don't spend. Don't spend." I certainly don't feel mighty enough to do much other than write this thing.

--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy
[ Parent ]
If you don't like Christmas... (5.00 / 3) (#71)
by Mzilikazi on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 01:56:47 PM EST

...try Festivus! The holiday for the rest of us! ;)

Festivus is celebrated on December 21. I, for one, am looking forward to this year's Airing of the Grievances.

My preferred holiday (4.50 / 2) (#88)
by fluffy grue on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 05:54:10 PM EST

Agnostica
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Even Festivus has been commercialized (none / 0) (#113)
by xah on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 06:35:59 PM EST

Just look here.

[ Parent ]
Whoah there cowboy. (4.50 / 2) (#72)
by mindstrm on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 01:58:00 PM EST

Though I agree about overcommercializiation.. It hink you should stop short of telling everyone else what to do.

If you feel strongly, then tell everyone you know not to send you cards/presents, and that you won't be doing the same.

Feel free to go to work through the holiday, and catch up on stuff while everyone else takes a break.

I mean, look.

I buy presents for a few people, yes. Those who are very close to me, out of tradition.
I also find Christmas is like a homecoming. I go back to my hometown, where my parents live.. I make a few phone calls and find a few highschool friends who I haven't seen for years (who are only in town because they, too, are going back to see their family). We all go out, have a few drinks, talk about life.... and in a few days, all go our separate ways again.

My family gets together with some other good freinds ( a family friendship going back a couple generations) and has dinner and drinks. Not every year, but most.

Nobody says you have to go out and buy loads of presents for everyone. Feel free to simply write a couple letters! Or nothing at all!

I won't force you to participate in Christmas. You don't force me not to.


The Solution (2.66 / 3) (#76)
by Akaru on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 03:03:36 PM EST

You need to start having a post Christmas celebration perhaps with a really great name or something, to celebrate the end of the most annoying commercial whoring season of the year.

Placed in the new year all the presents and such will be nice and cheap in the sales, and you can chant evil curses at the giant corporations whilst dancing around a burning Bonfire of your enemys Skulls.

I know it's what I do :D

Fine! (3.66 / 3) (#79)
by Rocky on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 03:37:27 PM EST

I'll go now and return the Funky Boogie Bass and the Ronco Food Smooosher that I just bought you...

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
the economy (4.00 / 6) (#82)
by kneeo on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 04:37:58 PM EST

Given the state of the economy, NOT buying anything is the worst thing you could do. Imagine if everyone just didnt buy gifts. Many other people would lose their jobs.
"Merry Christmas, here's a pink slip"

Because of the Sept 11th attacks, I could encourge people to spend as much as they can.

Japan (4.00 / 1) (#105)
by jotango on Thu Nov 08, 2001 at 03:43:27 PM EST

Great, so do I. Following the japanese government line, I have also started an investment program to quickstart the economy. I have decided to assume massive debts and to start building highways, bridges, dams and other infrastructure nobody needs right now. But it does help create jobs!

[ Parent ]
Heh (4.33 / 6) (#84)
by nebby on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 05:02:20 PM EST

Call me crazy, but the last thing I think about when Christmas comes is the commercialization of my television and the (commercial) establishments trying to sell me stuff. Actually, this year, I hope they do a hell of a job so people actually go out and buy shit so we don't go into a recession.

It seems that a lot of people here (and online in general) have a list of things they consider to be pure evil that are simply absurd. On the top of this list, you guessed it, are advertisements. If the incident that happened two months ago failed to make you realize that advertisment and the exchange of goods is the least of evils you should be fighting against, then I don't know what would.

Anyway.

During Christmastime I think about seeing my friends and family. And eating lots of food. And yes, even giving gifts that I chose out to make them happy.

Just because you have a shitty Christmas each year since your television and ads in the mall and stores seem to freak you out and make you feel controlled by "The Man" to shop shop shop doesn't mean that everyone else does. Turn the TV off, read a book, and call up Uncle Joe and have him over for dinner that night, or something. Christ.

Believe it or not, good sir, but people actually still do enjoy Christmas for the exact same reasons that the Romans enjoyed Saturnalia so long ago.

Half-Empty: A global community of thoughts ideas and knowledge.
hello, christmas does not equal religion (4.50 / 2) (#90)
by gps on Tue Nov 06, 2001 at 06:43:36 PM EST

Don't assume that christmas has anything to do with religion for everyone involved. I celebrate it and don't consider myself the least bit christian or pagan.

As a holiday it falls on dec 25th because that was conveniently close to the pagan winter holiday which was the only way the evil church long past had any hope of "converting" the masses to their religion. Tack on a manger scene and call it a holy birthday (thus its name) and you've got unsuspecting pagans converting themselves. The same goes for easter being near the equinox.

It is a holiday for the sake of having happy holidays of gift giving and remembering whatever one choses to remember.

[in case you are blind, i am very cynical about religion. At times it seems to cause or more problems than it cures]

Or you could do what I'm doing (none / 0) (#93)
by kstop on Wed Nov 07, 2001 at 10:36:37 AM EST

Celebrate the holidays by living it up in Las Vegas for a week, then get the hell out before the New Year rush.

s/turkey/surfnturf/g, baby!

Buy nothing day (4.00 / 2) (#94)
by jwb on Wed Nov 07, 2001 at 12:59:03 PM EST

This year I celebrate my third Buy Nothing Day. Introduce your friends and relatives (and your planet) to the wonders of non-consumption.

Do whatever you like. (4.50 / 2) (#98)
by jolly st nick on Wed Nov 07, 2001 at 07:01:08 PM EST

Put up a christmas tree.

Bake cookies.

Buy presents or send cards.

if it makes you happy

If it doesn't make you happy, find some other way to cheer up your winter doldrums. Here, from the reindeer's mouth, are some things you can do.

  • Make peace with an enemy.
  • Make peace with your family.
  • Have a kind word for somebody who is sad.
  • Volunteer your time.
  • Look up a friend you've lost touch with.
  • Play with a child.
  • Visit an elder.
  • Change your mind about something.
  • Be useful.

All the ancient solstice celebrations are about renewal and preparation for a new and hopefully better year. They may have been appropriated by commercial interests, but what difference does that make to you? You are free individual, and you can choose to do whatever makes your life more meaningful.

Sincerely,
Jolly St. Nick

Santarchy (5.00 / 1) (#102)
by Ashley Y on Thu Nov 08, 2001 at 05:42:33 AM EST

Oh for god's sake stop whining and start drinking. Just turn up in a cheap Santa suit with I.D. and drinking money...

Now happening in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Victoria, New Orleans, Atlanta, New York City, etc.

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Santa Needs a Drink! Santa Needs a Drink!

Why not just extend it? (5.00 / 1) (#107)
by Anodos on Thu Nov 08, 2001 at 06:38:53 PM EST

If "Exxmas" is advertised the entire time, from well before Thanksgive Day (USA), why not just have the holiday last that long?

Have feasts/parties every weekend, up until "Exxmas Day", then have a HUGH party. Then instead of having to waist money on gifts and cards, everyone will still be waiting and preparing for the next weekend party, and they won't be intent on giving gifts, on "Exxmas Day" as much. So, instead of waisting money on needless gifts and card, everyone will be spending money on alcohol!!! WOOHOO!!

And, the nice this about having an extended "Exxmas Season", is that money will be spent to fix the USA Economy (yes, too US Centric) and people will be like, "Jesus who?" or even "Christmas Day? Bah! Let's party this weekend!!"

Or, this whole idea is basically me pulling shit outta my ass and attempting to be a troll. ;-)

The joy of Bhaitmui (4.50 / 2) (#111)
by grayaj on Fri Nov 09, 2001 at 06:34:57 PM EST

It is time to educate the masses on the Joyful Season of Bhaitmui. My friends and I invented this tradition about three years ago. Currently I believe there are approximately ten people who celebrate Bhaitmui. The whole point is that it's stupid to feel obligated to buy gifts during a particular season. It compounds peoples' sense of desperation and depression. So: 1) During the so-called holiday season, buy only cheap tacky and pointless gifts for people. If you find the most tacky thing imaginable, and next to it is the same thing but with Elvis on it, get the Elvis one. This year I am giving my jewish friends a plush moose, whose antlers form a menorah, and which plays the Dredel Song if you squeeze its hoof. Last year they bought me a Chia Elmer Fudd. Take my word for it, this is as much fun as going the serious-gift route. 2) For your close friends and relatives (people you really care about), whenever you see something nice that they would like, BUY IT and give it to them. If it's February, June, or even December, just buy it and give it to them because it's a nice thing to do for friends. 3) Take all the money you would have spent on serious (but no less pointless) gifts, take a trip or buy yourself something nice. Traditional Bhaitmui destinations are Reno, NV (especially on Christmas day itself -- great day to go to Reno, btw) or Cancun. I wouldn't extend this to children, though it would be fun to get them involved in looking for tacky and cheesy gifts. Oh, and the official Bhaitmui Carol is James Brown "I Feel Good", because that is what my friend and I heard on the radio in taxicab in Reno when we were celebrating the First Bhaitmui. Anyway have fun.

Let's not give gifts this Xmas. Let's not send cards, either. | 114 comments (111 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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