An Open Letter to Saint Consumption
I don't know what the official history of Christmas is and at this point it really doesn't matter. I have my own ideas about the aberration that is now considered "Christmas." Rather than concerning myself with the factual ins-and-outs of Christmas I'm going to address the actual spirit of the holiday. Christmas has always been three different holidays celebrated at the same time (and when I say always I'm referring to my life experience). There has always been the Santa Clause kiddy part, the Christian celebration of their saviors birth, and the adult and meaningful celebration of giving, joy, and abundance (which has been hijacked by gluttonous evil clowns). As much as I hate to say it, Christmas is worth defending and so that's what I'm setting out to do.
As a kid, Christmas provides you with an unbridled sense of wonder and amazement. What other time in a child's life is more full of spectacular anticipation and explosive imaginations. Your child mind is set aloft with Santa's reindeer, stockings full of goodies, hot chocolate and snow. Your sense of wonder follows the rays of soft light illuminating the Christmas tree, filling the room with a multicolored warmth of happiness. Santa is coming! How does he get into the house when I don' have a fire place? As a parent I'm excited about the possibility of play and vicarious feelings of nostalgia via messing with my son. Now as an adult there is the possibility of revisiting those joyous Christmas ghosts through my son. Amazing!! His face will light up brighter than the star atop the tree growing through the living room floor. Shiny randomness hanging from the boughs. Babies first ornament! This is the non-commercial and magical spirit of Christmas.
The name, Christmas, is pretty self explanatory. Nobody can deny that the name Christmas denotes a Christian holiday. Both words having the first six letters in common, Christ. I'm not even Christian, but I'm not going to deny the fact that Christmas is a reference to Jesus. This is probably why the secular crowd changed the name to X-mas (how clever), and now it's just "happy holidays." You can't appeal to the religious side by saying "Merry Christmas" because you might offend somebody. At least half of the Christmas songs are all about Jesus and his birth. The holiday that is Christmas takes it's name from Jesus the Christ.
This is the soft and hopeful meaning of the silent night. The delicate snow flakes falling to the earth blanketing it with new purity. God incarnate representing the birth of a chance to achieve redemption and be saved from the torment that is the human condition. The miracle of immaculate conception. Having said all of that, Christmas is not owned by the Christians. The spirit of Christmas is not owned by one religion. However, it does take it's name from Jesus.
The spirit of Christmas is brotherly love, giving, joy, simple celebration, abundance, and merriment. That is what the holiday is about regardless of your religious beliefs. This time of year has probably always been celebrated by man as long as civilization has been around. The winter solstice ushers in the longest night. We huddle together around the fire and celebrate our togetherness. The natural world slows down and everything covers up and goes indoors for a short truce. The big bad bear goes to sleep allowing us to celebrate the brotherhood of man. All of the work is done (hopefully) and we have time to relax and reflect on the year behind and the year ahead by the warmth of the flickering fire.
All of the above is what Christmas is about. It's a celebration of childhood imagination and innocence, the birth of Jesus and the chance for spiritual redemption (if you are Christian), and the warmth of relaxation, contemplation, friendship, and brotherly love. It's a joyous new beginning blanketed with purity and good spirit. In my opinion there should be room for all peoples to celebrate this idea together. I'll gladly celebrate your belief in redemption and coexist with you. There is no place for fighting about such things as labels and who owns what. We exchange heartfelt gifts and love one another regardless of beliefs about the afterlife. We can leave Christ in Christmas so long as we honor what it means to be Christlike. So far so good...or is it.
There is a dark underbelly to our festive holiday of renewal. In opposition to the cold, long, winter night we celebrate with one another while the underbelly moans because it's hungry. It's high time that we execute that gluttonous and fearful beast once and for all. He is always there, year round, stocking us with his endless and incessant droning. He groans for your servitude and lack of mindfulness. I, however, have the secret dagger that can slay the beast in one foul swoop. This secret dagger can save you from the evil rot that necroses the Christmas spirit before it even has time to awaken. Every year it attacks earlier and earlier. Soon we will just have a Christmas break from January to March and then the Christmas advertising will start up along with the spring flowers blooming. The Christmas spirit has become sick with this vitreous infection. In order to save the Christmas spirit all you have to do is TURN OFF THE TELEVISION!!
Santa's evil twin goes by the name of consumption. Saint Consumption wants you to go to the mall and stimulate the economy with money you don't have. He wants you to go further into debt to show all of your friends and family how much you love them. If you don't spend your mortgage money on buying stupid crap that nobody needs he will make you feel worthless and guilty. But don't worry because he provides you with the high of his namesake. It has to be in a new box wrapped in plastic and created and assembled in the communist country of China. It has to be something that at best will be destined to collect dust on somebodies shelf and at worse will end up in a county dump. It has to have cost money. It has to have been purchased from a Walmart shelf after being unloaded from a massively gargantuan cargo ship with Chinese symbols on the stern. A responsible Christmas means sitting down with your wife and trying to determine how much money you have to fund your homage to Saint Consumption. The point is to stress yourself out to the max with holiday traffic, long lines, misbehaving kids, and other peoples sense of entitlement. Your supposed to embrace the massive ego's that careen around town expecting new shit from China wrapped up in a box with pretty paper. It doesn't matter what's wrapped up so long as it cost money and is never going to be used or wanted by anybody. All of this to facilitate the resources composing this gift giving ending up in a dump somewhere. The point is to celebrate our right to waste as much resources as possible just because we can.
That's perfect isn't it. A holiday meant to express love for one another culminating in a countrywide waste of resources. I propose we open up a new dump just for Christmas. We can all go buy as much senseless crap from China that we can stuff into our SUV's. Only we are not allowed to pay cash for it. We have to go to the mall and max our credit cards out. In fact apply now for as many credit cards as you can just for this exercise in stupidity. It will be the ultimate Christmas celebration. We'll all max our credit cards out and funnel all of this pointlessness assembled in China to the new Christmas dump. We'll take a massive Christmas Dump and wrap it in lights and top it with an upside down mega Chinese cargo ship. After the holiday is over we'll just all collectively refuse to make any payments on the credit cards and this whole stinkin' mess of consumption will collapse under the weight of our Christmas Dump.
Everything that Christmas stands for is made a mockery of by the talking heads and commercials that are ceaselessly and mercilessly forced into your psyche via the television. It's an ongoing assault to your basic goodness. The point of Christmas is not buying stuff. Put down the smart phones and the idiot box remote controls. Stop listening to the lie being perpetrated by a system that is meant to enslave you to recklessness. It's not necessary to subscribe to the decomposing corpse that is consumption. We do not need to emulate a virus. Being human means more than consuming. Yes we have to consume energy to meet Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but we do not need to facilitate the line of pointlessness stretching from China to here. Turn off the television and talk to somebody.
This year, give a true gift to somebody. Give them a gift that was born in thoughtfulness and care. Banish saint consumption as much as you can and let the spirit of Christmas prevail. It's not about Black Friday's and the best holiday deals. It's about caring for one another. It's about redemption, joy, and imagination. At some point Christmas stopped being about brotherly love and took up the torch of gluttonous consumption. The peaceful silent night turned into the ravenous Black Friday. Merrymaking turned into trampling your neighbor in a consumer fueled high at the doors of Magalochinamart. This is your warning shot Saint Consumption. Your days are numbered. Whether you know it or not the clock is ticking for you. Your fractional reserve, fiat, unreal, wasteful, pointless shit generator is running out of digits to support your ugliness. I'll be doling out gifts of thoughtfulness and love this year for Christmas. I'll be spending the least amount of money possible and giving the most amount of love I can. It's free to give love as a gift. I'll be giving you a lump of dog poo in your stocking Saint Consumption. You don't get any coal cause you forced it all into the atmosphere to justify your Black Friday. Your smoke filled machinations will be replaced with the Christmas spirit...so you can just suck it! Merry Christmas and a happy new year.