How can you not like Christmas? With it’s long lasting appeal (it’s been around for hundreds of years in one form or another), it’s world wide grip (they’re even celebrating it in China) and it’s everly increasing litany of traditions (ten years from now we’ll be eating candy out of yellow water balloons). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with a holiday invented to satisfy pagan traditions* and make their transition to Christianity easier. I don’t even have a problem with a fact that we’re celebrating something that influences our entire view on chronological historical events five years ahead of schedule**. It’s just the sheer size of human gulibility that gets to me. Whether you view it from a European or an Asian perspective, whether you look at it as a religious celebration or an excuse to get a paid vacation, it’s a mass byproduct of our incessant need to own, spend and consume. Something we’ve managed to do to every single holiday in our calendars.
For those of you who think my words may be a tad too harsh I have but one word, well picture. Look at how every single retailer, producer or manufacturer bases his or her entire earnings schedule on the holiday season. And for those of you still looking for a bit of hope I’ve got one thing that might just put us back on track: Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather. Whether you actually read the book or are too lazy and decide on the SkyOne movie version try and get back to the root of this holiday, whether you call it Christmas, Hogswatch or just plain winter festival. Still filled with references to presents, food and jolly it takes a crack at showing us what it’s really about: believing in things that aren’t real so that they can become real. And celebrating all this with stolen greenery.
* Turns out JC was actually born in June but the story was altered a bit to coincide with winter pagan festivals.
**It also turns out he was born around 5 BC. Talk about irony.