Not in *general*, because pretending *in general* is a good thing.
But specifically, let’s just stop pretending either that Christmas is a secular event or that Christmas is not a secular event. Let’s get all our horses going in the same direction here, before the waggon spills our flour all over the trail.
Either Christmas is a time of sharing, giving, togetherness, and reflection/meditation/prayer regardless of whether you believe in the Great Heebie Jeebie or not, or if you do, how you worship him/her/it/them, OR Christmas is none of the above and shouldn’t be celebrated at all.
Face it. The word “Christmas” has lost its meaning. It’s become the Great Hallmark™ Consumer Sales Push, regardless of your religion (or disregard thereof), denomination ($100s won’t be accepted because of counterfeit bills in circulation), or culture (whatever’s in the fridge that USED to be eggnog. Last year). We all pretend like there’s this great love of humanity and love for one another that surfaces during the third week of December for some magical reason, but ultimately, we all know the truth. Behind that forced smile is a cuss word waiting to leap out of your mouth.
I know…I KNOW! I have it too.
So I don’t get what the big deal is with people getting all irate if their kid’s school does or doesn’t mention Jesus or the Menorah or Muhammed or freaking Ras smoking gange on a beach. IT DOESN’T MATTER, people. The only “reason for the season” is to boost the economy. You know it; I know it…the Prime Minister knows it. Everyone knows it. Oh sure, you get all teary-eyed when you watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but that’s just nostalgia. You’re in line with everyone else buying that CD or DVD or fancy pair of underpants.
And there’s nothing wrong with it, really. Boosting the economy is a good thing, right? Because if we spend more, the government tells us, the economy will roll over and we’ll be out of this recession. That’s all it takes. Just one person to buy another fridge magnet that says some derogatory thing about men in the kitchen. It really does matter if you shop, Johnny, because even your five dollars counts!
This is so much easier to sell than ‘you should vote because it matters’, isn’t it? Because there’s instant gratification. I know how hollow and pointless your life would have been had you not received a package of razors in your stocking. Folks running the country claiming parliamentary democracy is illegal? Doesn’t matter. What matters is that the ten-spot you dropped on flavoured coffee for mum-in-law is going to be packaged up and left under the counter along with the flavoured hot chocolate from last year. The rum always seems to go, though…odd.
The kids *need* to have presents under the tree, otherwise they’ll feel left out, or marginalised, or it won’t be as much fun. And just remember, when you were little, *you* always had presents under the tree, and we couldn’t afford much back then, but we always managed to scrape together enough for a new pair of socks, though what we’d have done if Old Mrs. Murphy up the street hadn’t been able to knit them from the remnants of Granddad’s ratty old blanket, I don’t want to think about. You know, our feet all went cold the year she had a stroke and couldn’t purl anymore.
So do it for your country! For the good of your family! For your children’s well being! Buy that stir stick with reindeer horns! Shell out some dough for the latest edition of Pretend To Be In A Band software! And wrap it all up in brightly coloured wrapping paper that was made from trees harvested in Canada and sold for less than their market value to mills in other countries who underpay their employees and overprice their products. Because that’s what Christmas really means, isn’t it? You’re not up in arms because your kid’s school made wee Arthur sing about baby Jesus. You’re not upset because it’s so hard to find a good Menorah these days. It hasn’t anything to do with the marginalisation (nay, vilification) of Ramadan. It’s about how you’re pissed off because the asshole in the Dodge stole the parking spot you’ve been waiting for for two minutes outside the store that just sold the very last one of the latest Whores ‘R’ Us Bratz™ doll that your sister’s new husband’s daughter’s niece said she’d DIE if she didn’t get. Guess you’d better stop at the funeral home to pick out a nice coffin.
So let’s just stop the lies. It hasn’t anything to do with religion. You know it and I know it. We could debate for hours about how the Christians tagged their own brand of lunacy on to solstice celebrations. We could argue about how **ACTUALLY** the fir trees used to decorate our homes are **ACTUALLY** representations of the boughs of cedar the druids used to use to celebrate being blind drunk in the middle of winter and how the actual reason we light the Menorah has nothing to do with the rededication of temples and pressing olives, but how that tradition was STOLEN from some EVEN OLDER group of worshippers who lit each other on fire because it was so Goddamned cold outside for eight straight days. In fact, we could argue about pretty much anything, but let’s just make it easier on ourselves.
This is the shopping season. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. We call it “Christmas” because it’s convenient, and because deep down inside, we like to argue about what it all means. It is the culmination of the 11 months of credit card payments we’ve been making throughout the rest of the year, and it prepares us for the upcoming 11 months of credit card payments we will continue to make. It is the season that reminds us that we give gifts to make other people feel shitty about not having got you anything; the season of one-upmanship.
So here’s to dirt in your eye, my friend.
Merry One-Upmanship Season.