“Then I went off to fight some battle
That I’d invented inside my head.” — Gordon Sumner
It’s that time of year yet again. Thanksgiving is over. Black Friday is over. November is over. We come to the happiest time of the year for the Fox family. They get to add up all of their cultural battles that they’ve invented inside their heads and combine them into one singular focus. It’s war on Christmas time. I know all of you have been looking forward to it.
If we take a step back we realize the hilarity of it all. If we take more steps back we realize there has been a war on Christmas for multiple generations and the wrong people are winning. Heck, I usually try not to be pessimistic in such times, but some might claim we lost a long time ago.
One of my wife’s relatives threw up a meme around Thanksgiving that said it as succinctly as I could think of. The meme said, “Only in America do we have something called Black Friday where we trample over people for stuff when just one day earlier we were talking about how thankful for the stuff we had.” Maybe I got a word wrong here or there, but that was the general sentiment.
I suppose this began innocently enough. We decorated around the house and maybe put up a few lights. Then, the competitive side kicked in. We began hiring contractors whose job it was to dangle twenty feet in the air off our roof and hang lights, decorations, and life size images of Santa Claus and reindeer. Maybe they climbed some trees to hang some of the new fangled icicle looking things.
Even old-fashioned movies and cartoons like Charlie Brown, The Grinch, and A Christmas Story fit in elements of commercialism around quick messages about the true meaning of the day. That doesn’t even mention the more modern stuff that completely glosses over everything. In this backdrop we are then told there is a war on Christmas. I’m not sure if Fox is just extremely late to the party or if they are just drudging up a bunch of crap for the sake of drudging up a bunch of crap. Check that. We know the answer to that one.
Lost in all this exchange are the three messages of Christmas and more generic form of happy holidays. There is the pure religious significance of the day itself. It’s Jesus’ birthday. At least it is the day we choose to acknowledge as his birthday. There are all the feelings and actions that get attached to that. It’s a new beginning that goes along with the theme of a new year and a new beginning.
That brings us to the second message of the season. The term Happy Holidays is an inclusive message that generalizes the time to include other faith traditions. It also more generalizes the meaning. This is where we get the spirit of giving as the meaning of the season. Naturally, corporations love this because it means we buy stuff and religious purists hate it because while it is a positive message, it isn’t exactly the point. However, as far as messages go it is fairly benign. When we combine the spirit of giving with the concept of good will towards all people it’s difficult to find fault with that.
Naturally, the third message is the pure unadulterated commercialism of the season. I suppose the irony is that many of the Fox talking heads and loud mouth politicians have skipped past unadulterated and just gone to adultery. That’s just an aside though as kids grow up thinking this time of year is a bonanza where they get stuff.
This line of thinking became immortalized when South Park’s Eric Cartman sang “Oh Holy Night.” He mangled the words and sang, “Jesus was born and so I get presents. Thank you Jesus for being born.” The creators have called Cartman the junk in everyone’s soul. Sadly, no one fictional or real has come as close to matching the lack of humanity of our former president.
So, we have an epic battle that someone invented inside their head. We have people that want to balance the desire to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday with the more positive secularized version. Then we have people that want to scold others for saying happy holidays. All the while, they fall prey to the least positive version of the period. Decorations and stuff is nice, but it does it bring us any closer to him or to the rest of humanity? Heck, why not just settle for people being a little nicer to each other for a change?