Monday, 20 December 2010

Have an earthly commercial Christmas

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 IS CHRISTMAS TOO COMMERCIAL? Hell, no! You hear the same complaint every year, but for many retailers this year and last, Christmas hasn’t been commercial enough.

And according to at least one sane person, Commercialism Only Adds to Joy of the Holidays.  “It's the season for earthly pleasures,” says Ayn Rand enthusiast Onkar Ghate, “and embracing the spectacle is no sin.”

Actually, he had me at “earthly pleasures.”

Anyway, complaining about the “commercialisation” of Christmas pretty much misses the point anyway, because Christmas is the most benevolent and frankly commercial holiday in the catalogue. It was designed that way.

_Quote Christmas as we know it, with its twinkling lights, flying reindeer, and dancing snowmen, is largely a creation of 19th-century America. One of the most un-Christian periods in Western history, it was a time of worldly invention, industrialization, and profit. Only such an era would think of a holiday dominated by commercialism and joy and sense the connection between the two.

As Ghate says, Christmas is a time of unabashed earthly joy.  That’s what’s good about it. Like philosopher Leonard Peikoff says, at Christmas time we don't say "sacrifice and repent," we say enjoy yourself and thrive!  And we do, whatever the economic climate. We get together with workmates, friends and loved ones, celebrating the year with gusto; we give gifts to people we value, whose friendship and company we want to celebrate. Toasts are made and livers threatened. Boats full of happy people cruise the harbour; laughing diners fill restaurants; shops overflow (well,most years) with people buying gifts to make people happy who make them happy; and glasses full of enlivening liquids are raised the heavens to celebrate life here on earth. 

So what's not to like about Christmas being commercial? About capitalist gift-giving between consenting adults—and even children.

Because that sort of secular celebration is the real meaning of Christmas. Christmas is not really about a chap who came to earth to deliver “Good News” like this:

_Quote_Idiot If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife,
and children
, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he
cannot be my disciple.--[
Luke 14:26]

Because even if this was his birthday (which it isn’t) that’s not something you’d want to celebrate. No, in any case, Christmas is a good old pagan holiday taken over and rechristened. So let’s take it back and celebrate it like all good pagans should—like these enthusiastic Norsemen singing a song by Verdi for which the loose translation is ‘Wet Your Throat.’

Let me leave you now with “Five Golden Hemorrhoids: A Biblically Correct Version of The Twelve Days of Christmas

1 comment:

  1. James Stephenson20 Dec 2010, 14:40:00

    Slightly tangential to the topic, but here's a Christmas message from Half Man Half Biscuit for those too miserable to get into the spirit:

    It's cliched to be cynical at Christmas.


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