by Sarah Miller
One doesn’t have to look far to see the atrocious side-effects of the Christmas season on the environment and on the psyche.
As a non-Christian and non- religious (but extremely spiritual) Being, I take offense to much of these customs that are seemingly forced upon us during this time of year.
Oh I can hear the backlash of comments to come!! I’m speaking blasphemy. Blah Blah…But here are my top ten reasons that I choose to be Grinchy at this time of year.
1) It all starts waaay too early: Shortly after they get done with Halloween, the Christmas crap starts showing up in stores- well over two months before the event. The DAY after Thanksgiving (don’t get me started!) people are out putting up the tacky “yard ornaments.” December technically starts on November 25th in America.
2) The yard stuff is tacky: I don’t mind making the long, cold winter months a bit more cheery with some lights and nog. Whatever. But when your lights/Santa/ candy canes/Mickey Mouse etc., are life size, they infringe on my personal space and vision. Furthermore, when your yard looks like Las Vegas, you’ve gone too far. When you don’t know how to artfully arrange items, or determine what is clearly distasteful, or what has nothing to do with Christmas in the first place, you have no business putting anything in your front yard. Period. (Example: dalmatians, lollipops, Mickey Mouse, blow up Santas, deer etc.)
3) Lights, electricity, fossil fuels: Have we thought about the environmental implications of the excessive use of electricity for all these lights, blow up machines and spotlights?! How many watts are being used when a yard is so bright it competes with the full moon itself? Then, on top of this, people DRIVE around in their cars to look at the Christmas lights. Talk about over-consumption and a waste of fossil fuel.
4) The “Christmas tree”: I don’t even have to say it, it’s so obvious. A living tree has been killed. For what? For less than thirty days of enjoyment. For putting gifts under (I’ll get to that in a second). To say that you “did a tree this year.” To hang chintzy ornaments on. It’s disgusting. Kill nature. Then decorate it. Then throw it away. Oh so American! I am obviously not pro-killing trees for decoration. Tree farms? Still a bad idea. Then there are the fake trees. Made of plastic and entirely non-biodegradable. Need I say more?
There’s also the reality that the “Christmas tree” is associated historically with paganism and several other traditions but gained popularity in the U.S. and UK during Queen Victoria’s reign mid 18th century. As it turns out, it is a fairly new holiday association.
5) Gifts?: What kind of gifts are these anyway? Gifts you need? Or gifts you want? Gifts your kids are whining about? Basically it’s more crap. It’s a holiday designed for retailers and makes people feel the need to buy, buy, buy. Long after the holidays are over, your finances have gone to sh*t. You are giving gifts just to give gifts because that’s what people do at Christmas; give gifts. Who needs gifts? Who needs anything? Right. No one.
6) Put the Christ back in Christmas: Let’s first point out that Christ wasn’t a Christian- he was Jew. Secondly, I’m all for celebrating Christs’ day of birth except for one small thing: he wasn’t actually born in December. In fact, he was born sometime closer to spring. The Christians actually disguised their celebrations under the auspices of Solstice (a considerably “Pagan” holiday by some standards) in order to avoid persecution.
Perhaps this holiday should be restored to its more truthful origins? Or is this the epitome of what the holiday itself has become?
7) Separation of church and state: So according to our government, we all must be Christians who celebrate such things as Christmas. Otherwise all government offices wouldn’t be closed and all working folks wouldn’t get days off from their employers- by law. I could have sworn that our Constitution states a separation of church and state? Hmmm. So let me get this straight, a country built on the very backs of immigration, that boasts its very founding on freedom of religion and the ending of an oppressive regime, is now telling me what holiday to celebrate and my government sees no conflict with this- even though the Constitution clearly states otherwise? Wow, we are so hoodwinked! Clearly, I’m not getting days off from work for Diwali or Ramadan. No. Only Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas…….
8) Santa Claus: We all know there was a St. Nick who lived once. Around the world there are depictions of a jovial Being and his generosity. I love it. I really do. There are pagan ties (Odin to the Germans) that have made Santa taboo for certain Christian celebrations. I like the guy. But……my point is, he doesn’t actually belong with Christmas at all. Call me a Puritan, but he’s not Christmas. And besides, you’re lyin’ to the kids and that ain’t cool.
9) “Merry Christmas!”: How many times do I have to hear “Merry Christmas!” in my lifetime? How many times will I have to respond with “happy holidays” before people realize that not everyone is celebrating their holiday with them? Isn’t it a bit egotistical to assume that everyone else is ALSO celebrating Christmas? I find it super rude. Especially for those who are celebrating Hanukkah and Kwanzaa at this time of year. And funny no one wishes me a happy Raam Navami…..
To put it into perspective, American Muslims don’t go around wishing EVERYONE “happy Ramadan” every year. Why? Because they know that not everyone in America is celebrating Ramadan with them. So why do Christians, or those celebrating Christmas, assume that everyone else is playing along with them? Weird.
10) Bottomline: I think this Christmas thing is WAY out of control. If you want to celebrate your holiday, go for it! I support you in that effort and honor your desire for celebration in the name of your personal beliefs. But please, please, don’t turn this into an everyone holiday. And to those who are just giving stupid gifts and cutting trees and putting up horrid light displays with Mickey and lollipops and dalmatians, you need to find some meaning in it all. You’re celebrating Christ after all. Aren’t you?