Monday, December 6, 2010

Humbugalicious

It's evil- sparkly, shiny, delightful evil!

My father was a rapid-cycling bipolar with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. You can imagine what my childhood was like, and what it was like for my mother to be married to him. She turned herself into a cipher, concerned only with what he wanted and keeping him happy- except when it came to Christmas.

My mother loves Christmas. She listens to Christmas music all year round. She goes to the Hallmark store and buys expensive ornaments year round. She has three artificial trees that she decorates, beginning the day after Halloween. And she never let my father touch Christmas. There was joy in my house- a bit ruthlessly enforced, perhaps, but joy- during the Christmas season.

I think you can see why I love Christmas.

Tom, at Just Truth, does not. In fact, he hates any Christmas that is not entirely focused on Jesus, and Santa can suck it. He even has a picture of Santa as a horrible, fanged creature, which I found a little upsetting. Tom, commits what I consider a sin, in the way atheists use that word: he assumes that people who think differently do so for malign reasons. I think Santa is great, I celebrate in a secular way, but I do so not because I am a different person with different ideas, but because I am greedy and evil.


The other Christmas, is the one most of the world, and an ever-growing number of Christians celebrate. The Christmas of greed, getting the best deal, plowing over people in target to get grandpa the $200 plasma TV. Knocking out the neighbor for the last pack of silly bands, or going ever deeper into debt so little suzy can have “the best Christmas ever” and only briefly (if then) do thoughts turn to Christ..His birth, His gifts of eternal life, or even dying on the cross for us. This is the Christmas the world knows and loves the one where adorable, obese; grandpas are exalted, and worshipped. How many people would stand in line for hours to get their picture taken with Jesus? How many would stand in line to see Jesus?

You missed the third option, Tom. You missed my Christmas. I like pretty lights and red and green decorations. I like baking cookies and giving them to people who don't expect them: the bus driver, the convenient mart clerk, the Dunkin' Donuts crew*. I like Christmas carols and teasing my nieces and nephews about their gifts ("you didn't want a big, red inflatable plastic pig? That is such a shame!"). I like A Christmas Story and Christmas cards and Christmas dinners with everyone crowded around a table for four and kids hopped up on sugar bouncing around the house eagerly anticipating Santa. I don't give a shit what I get or great deals or anything else. I just like Christmas.

Yeah, I'm not you, but it doesn't make me evil. It also doesn't make my enjoyment of Christmas, different though it may be, any less sincere or any more evil.


*Guess who gets to loiter at the convenient mart? That's right, this woman!

14 comments:

  1. I feel the exact same way. Forgetting that most of the things we associate with Christmas predate Christianity, Christmas itself has long been a cultural entity of its own, separate from religion. (Which is of course the problem for so many Christians.) Hell, if I weren't so tired I need toothpicks to prop up my eyes, I'd be baking gingersnaps right now. I adore the cultural feeling of joy I get at all this light in the darkest days of the year.

    Given that, I'm interested to know more about the non-Christian Christmas experience in the Southern Hemisphere. Any of the Aussie or Kiwi contingent here care to enlighten me?

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  2. "How many people would stand in line for hours to get their picture taken with Jesus? How many would stand in line to see Jesus?"

    A lot, actually, if he actually showed up and stuff.

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  3. I just wanted to say, my gf loves the hat on top of the tree. We have a black spiky thing but if we didn't I think she would go out and get a hat for the top.

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  4. If there an opportunity to take a picture with Jesus, I would wait in line for days to do so. I would also no longer be an atheist.

    The hat is a compromise. I hate angel toppers (which is weird, because I love angel iconography) and others hate star toppers, so the hat was what was left.

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  5. PF, dun be silly. Hyu know vhy hyu has picked a hat...

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  6. To which I can only respond with this:

    White Wine in the Sun

    I was going to make some snarky comments, but then I listened to that song for the seven-hundreth and sixty-ninth time, and I totally can't anymore.

    Merry Christmas, PF. :)

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  7. "Given that, I'm interested to know more about the non-Christian Christmas experience in the Southern Hemisphere. Any of the Aussie or Kiwi contingent here care to enlighten me? "

    Pretty much the same as yours: over-commercialisation, Santa's in shopping centres, the occasional nativity scene, etc. The only difference is the temperature (christmas = mid-summer), and even then the shops still like to decorate all their advertising with various depictions of snow and ice.

    Oh, and Aussie Santa (not the northern-fakes in the shopping centres, the real Aussie Santa who lives at the south pole) dons a straw hat and a red t-shirt and shorts and rides out in sleigh a behind twelve white boomers (kangaroo's, for you guys) to deliver presents to all the southern hemisphere.

    I hate angel toppers (which is weird, because I love angel iconography)

    Oh god, me too! [rambling] I think part of the reason is that I hate the traditional "cherub" baby-angels, and the traditional "mommy" female-angles, because neither of them makes any damn sense. If I could find a proper angel, like the massive-winged female angel-scupltures you find in odd-and-ends shops, I'd totally use one of them. Plus I find it interesting (and kind of sad) the way winged humanoids are it's all mixed up with religiosity. If you were a sci-fi angel (ie. human with bird-wings on your back, ala. Angel from the X-men) you'd have to put up with sooo much shit from fundies. And worse, if you were built like a normal human, there's no possible way you'd ever be able to fly with them. (I've given this some thought, because I have an (as yet unwritten) story that features winged humanoids as the main characters. They're quite short, practically anorexic by human standards, extremely fragile, and they react badly to being described as "angels" precisely because of religous bullshit).

    Merry Christmas again!

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  8. White Wine in the Sun

    And I just started crying at my desk at work. Something something...first Christmas a thousand miles from home...something...

    Also, for whatever it's worth, I like Christmas, too. More than I did when I was a little kid who just wanted presents and more than I did when I was an aspiring Christian culture warrior.

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  9. Man, reindeer are awesome and all, but Santa with kangaroos?? That Santa totally wins.

    I think my biggest ever Christmas-related culture shock was going to Amsterdam at the end of November in 2008... and learning about Zwarte Piet. My jaw nearly fell clean off my head.

    I've also grown to enjoy Christmas in a much richer way than when I was the present-happy kid or the scared-of-hell teenager. It's one of the few times of year I get to see my parents both up in New York, so it's definitely become about family. And I have become a cheeseball adult, apparently.

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  10. Aussie Santa actually does have a sleigh pulled by boomers? Truly? 'Cause I just told my son that story about a week ago.

    Here's the story.

    Though I have to say, I love the idea of an alternate Santa who lives at the South Pole and only travels in mid-summer. Does he go skiing in his off-season, the way North Pole Santa tends to take everyone down to a private beach?

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  11. Turns out I got the number wrong, and it's actually the same Santa, but nevermind my flimsy grasp of the truly important things in life:

    Six White Boomers

    I used to sing this song every christmas in my early primary school days.

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  12. I think you'll like this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ysfQjKKi70

    :)

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  13. Kiwi Christmas is mostly about drinking and eating too much. Well at least it is in my family. Beer in the sun. BBQ outside. A water fight or a swim in the river or at the beach. Then just when you're about to fall asleep in the afternoon - one of the uncles will pull out the guitar and sing Poi E. But not the cool version that I've linked to. Just the drunk uncle version. Meri Kirihimete!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P85ZhYgoqeg

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  14. Man, screw the Northern Hemisphere!

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