Friday Firesmith – Christmas

In two days the nation will begin to emerge again from its wrapping paper cocoon to discover, once again, that Christmas is a fraud. There will be a brief and orgasmic moment in time where a few children are granted their most fervent wishes, but that will be followed by the vague feeling that wanting and getting are two different things and the feeling of one is not at all connected to the feelings of the other.

When I worked at one of those fast loans with high rate places Christmas was when the company made the most money, and they made if off the people least able to afford it. Those people paid the highest interest rates, worked two jobs, and they never really got out from under the oppressive debt that was heaped upon them. Why? Why would people deliberately put their financial future at risk? Was it health or home? Was it family or friends? No, it was Christmas. There were people who had kids that were never going to get as much or have as much as other kids but dammit, we’re going to sink ourselves in debt to get the latest Barbie. And they did.

Single parents were far worse for they were in a bidding war for their kids’ souls. If they could just outspend their former spouses then for one more Christmas, at least, they could prove they loved their kids the most.

Christmas is the predatory capitalist’s dream world, replete with throw away decorations, huge inflatable lawn ornaments that won’t last two years, wrapping paper that will be shoved into the trash can fifteen minutes after being used, and leftovers that will be kept in the refrigerator until they are tossed out, too. People will be trampled to death at Wal-Mart and people will shoot at one another over parking spaces at malls.

What I don’t understand about all of this is why Christians haven’t risen up to take back their holiday. The only explanation is that Christians see consumerism as an extension of their spirituality and they see conspicuous consumption as a sign God really blesses them.

Christmas has taken the very soul of Christianity and turned it into a cheap plastic, made in China, toss it away when its inconvenient, temporary and disposable form of false spirituality where money spent is the only One True God. You can see it in the eyes of those people selling their souls to buy the next big toy by signing up for loans that will force them to live like paupers while their children stare at the broken remains of planned obsolescent and wonder why they feel so hollow inside.

They will, of course, deduce that it is because they were not given enough.

Merry Christmas. Safe Travels. I hope you and your families are well and I hope you make it back home alive. But Christmas is a form of insanity that has got to stop.

Take Care,
Mike

 

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
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45 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Christmas

  1. Thanks Mike
    I agree, you don’t see this (real) side in multitude but it should be. I’d like to add Happy Saturnalia to the mix. Also that, that jesus fellow wasn’t born on Dec. 25th, the true meaning of this pagan holiday.

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  2. Danial, haven’t you ever had a birthday on a Wednesday, but had to have the family celebrate it on the weekend? Weeks were a lot longer then. Besides in April there’s plowing and planting to be done. The collection basket wouldn’t do as well so close to Easter, either. ;o)

    Paul, the pictures you see are just revisions of the early paintings, which were like the early depictions of dinosaurs for accuracy.

    It’s not Christmas that’s the problem, it’s people. Worse yet, people with a deadline. That’s an automatic entitlement to be dicks. After all they’re on a mission from God.

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  3. Dang Mike. I get what you are saying and I think everyone does, but you don’t have to be so bitter about it. Yes, there is no real Christianity left in it but so what, unless you are a hardcore Christian. Fact is we as humanity need a big holiday at that time. The coldest part of the year with the shortest days. A time when hardly anything can get done. So the solstice signals the switch back to days getting longer and warmer and deserves a big effing party where everyone hangs out with each other, tries to have fun, eat, drink and be merry. Also its a time to show how much you love other people and that is traditionally done with a gift. I don’t really care what name you give it. Granted, the quality and nature of the gifts has become somewhat of a joke, but I always have a good time with my friends and family. And no, no one brings up Jesus. Does that make me a hypocrite or was it the people that chose to co-opt that time for their own religion, when it was already a well established party time? Party on and be excellent to each other.

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    • Galen, can we do it without all the waste? Can we do it without the stress caused by shopping?

      I’m all for it but even if I decide not to participate I still cannot go out and buy dog food without getting trapped by it.

      If you can end the madness I’ll stop writing about it.

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  4. The real Christmas story – about a mid-eastern family seeking refuge.

    Christmas should be a time when we appreciate the things we have – not focus on the things we’ve been made (through incessant marketing) to believe we need or want. A time for family – not just our immediate families, but the larger family of our communities. It’s an opportunity to revisit traditions such as making a particular dish “from scratch” instead of buying a pre-made, chemically-preserved, microwaveable version of (someone else’s) Grandma’s specialty. It’s a time to share stories of the past, and a time to make new memories.

    I do understand the need for a deadline — when else would I be motivated to clean up and convert the “unfinished-project dumping room” into a guest room?

    I could go on, but… I’m sorta in a time crunch right now. I hope you have a great holiday! Cheers! – J

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  5. I’ve got faith, I look at things a bit differently, but I still think it counts. Having said that, I don’t want Christians to take back the holiday. Speaking as an American I want more people to accept it as a national holiday. I’m not sure what Santa Clause, Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, Red Ryder BB guns and shopping have to do with religion, but I say we can think of it as traditional holiday fun. I’d like all families to participate and have a Holly Jolly Christmas. I want all kids of any religious household to have a good American Christmas. I’d like for everyone to say “Merry Christmas” without someone taking offense, because it’s a traditional American holiday greeting like “happy thanksgiving” and “happy halloween”. I’m not against anyone who wants to say a prayer at their nativity scene or light a candle on their menorah or kinara, or do whatever thing they believe in. I think the tree, gifts, fun, family, etc should just be for everyone.

    I will agree that things are a bit over the top, I wish it was more traditional to just give a couple of gifts instead of this giant pile. I think it’s strange that Santa likes the rich kids more.

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    • uhm hum,

      if we could only get to where you would like things to be from where they are right now I would be the first person in line to sit on Santa’s lap. As long as he brought me a BB gun.

      I think what you want is the way most people would like to live it, but it’s gone too far now.

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  6. Christmas means I get two extra days off to hang with my dogs at home…and my sister and brothers for a little bit. But mostly dogs. At home. 🙂

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    • Sarah, I couldn’t help but notice my dogs really love the spare time I have at the holidays and all they really want is for me to be here.

      I think they are smarter than we are.

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  7. Rather than Christians taking back their holiday, perhaps they should just enjoy all the trappings of the commercial holiday and then celebrate the religious significance on January 7 like the Eastern Orthodox do.

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  8. Damn Mike, why so bitter. What’s it to you how people celebrate. If you don’t like it, butt the hell out. Also, it is obvious you don’t understand true Christianity. True Christians do not get caught up in all the commercialism, but they do get caught up in being philanthropic. Especially at this time of the year….Food Pantry drives, toy drives, clothing drives, household and toiletry drives, holiday soup kitchens in the church basement. So much your cynical ass is so unaware of. BTW, the hardcore Christians don’t celebrate the Christmas.
    Christians take back Christmas? Those videos you see of the animals fighting over TVs at WalMart are not Christians.
    Instead of being so bitter, crawl out of your hermitage, volunteer $$ or time at the local church basement food-pantry and your heart will melt when you see not only people in need but also those people volunteering time and money……you won’t see or hear a scant vision of your so-called commercialism…..

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    • Very well put Mark. My family has had several traditions that we adhere to during the Christmas season. Our extended family draws names and gives one inexpensive gift to our recipient. From Thanksgiving to Epithany, we can be found at the various celebrations of eating and socializing with folks that we mostly have never meant before. I’ve lost count of the number of turkeys that I’ve shoved my hands into! My wife and I sponsor a free adoption day at a local animal shelter with help from a Veterinarian friend. Other than my immediate family and now you, nobody knows who I am. I much prefer it that way. All I look forward to is a smile, a really big smile. I am not a member of any church because I think of organized religion as a feel good ponzi scheme…

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    • Mark,

      If you don’t like it, butt the hell out

      Like the Christians do when they dislike something, like natives? And have?

      Also, it is obvious you don’t understand true Christianity.

      Either I do or I do not.

      If I don’t then it is of very small concern for you, no?

      But if I do, then, well, that’s a little bit more scary, isn’t it? Be very afraid.

      Instead of being so bitter, crawl out of your hermitage, volunteer $$ or time

      I have over three hundred pounds worth of dogs at my feet. Two were rescued by my sister but they live with me now. One was minutes away from being killed at the shelter. The other I adopted from another rescue group. I’m also the race director for one of the shelters yearly 5K.

      For all your self righteous indignation I know you and yours better than you know me and mine.

      I know Paul, but who are you?

      Christians take back Christmas? Those videos you see of the animals fighting over TVs at WalMart are not Christians.

      Then you should have no problem taking it back from them, no?

      The thing about rescuing dogs is their only religion is devotion and love. Their only fault is trusting humans.

      Best of luck in Wal Mart, Mark. Godspeed.

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    • I thought Christians were taught not to be judgemental. Jesus wasn’t judgemental, was he?
      Not many people would call me religious or think of me that way, nor do I think of myself that way. I guess I shouldn’t volunteer to serve food to the homeless, which I’ve done in the past, but not often enough, nor should I put food and supplies out when the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts come collecting to help those in need. I shouldn’t have helped organize and run a Silent Auction annually for 30 years that helped kids at a local children’s home. I shouldn’t have rescued my shelter dogs saving them from an early death. I guess I shouldn’t have anonymously dropped off a basket full of gifts and food to a needy family one Christmas. You don’t have to be a Christian (or anything else) to be a good person and do good deeds.

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  9. Mark, I think you’re missing Mike’s point, that leading up to Christmas, shopping, even driving, is crazy, because of people are frazzled and some down right dangerous.
    You must admit there are two elements to Christmas, the secular and the religious. Fortunately we live where anyone is entitled to participate either, both or none. Most Christians I know do both. Most non-Christians I know do the secular and the religious customs of their faith, wherever they fall this time of year.

    You say “True Christians do not get caught up in all the commercialism, but they do get caught up in being philanthropic.” Does this mean they don’t have a tree, family gathering, give gifts? I’d say that would be a very small group if they didn’t, miniscule even. The Christians in my small town New England church celebrated the secular like most others, and maybe 5% organized charitable functions, although most of the 95% contributed to them.

    My opinion is the most un-Christian thing one can do, is scorn people who do it different, with a holier than thou attitude. Don’t judge Mike by his click bait headline, it’s not really who he is. Oh, and Merry Christmas Sir.

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  10. I would so boycott Christmas. The best part is the time off. My dog enjoys the sleeping in every morning. I always schedule my vacation this time of year. I’ve been off for a few weeks. Can’t stand all the phoniness any way. I can’t wait for this to be over. As soon as amateur night is out of the way we can all get back to the normal insanity.(some folks call it New Years Eve)

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  11. The odd part about Christmas is that it’s not even the most important holiday in the Christian calendar and certainly is not the soul of christianity. The fact that Christmas wasn’t even celebrated until a few centuries later is lost on those who think Christmas means something important when all it was, was just a marketing ploy by the church to draw pagans into the flock.

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    • CAI, yet here we are. Most people identify the holiday, “The reason for the season” as the birth of Christ, and they celebrate, in theory, that event.

      Most Pagans I know celebrate Solstice with much more brevity and sanity.

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  12. My family has decided to make donations to various charities instead of gifts for adults. I give all my grandchildren (the youngest is 13) money, because they’d rather have that to get what they want at the after-Christmas sales or online than get stuck with something I picked out. Their great-grandmother used to give the kids the cheapest, tackiest presents you could imagine, but they all broke really quickly, so nobody had to pretend to like them very long. Christmas brunch is homemade tamales and other yummy things.

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  13. a bunch of hyper-sensitive folks here aren’t there? the post is the author’s opinion and I responded. not being judgmental cause I can give a rat’s fuck about what you do, none of my business. so why interpret and respond so incorrectly to what I said?

    It’s Mike’s opinion and I respect him for that even if I don’t always agree with him.

    Some of you folks talk about or condemn Christianity but you don’t have a clue of what true Christianity is

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    • Mark, for a true Christian you’ve got a potty mouth.

      But once again, the game remains the same, either I do know not what “true Christianity is” and then you have very little to worry about, or I do know what it is, and you have much to reconsider.

      Moreover, other than Jon clamping down on someone, as he is likely to do to you for profanity, this is pretty much a free fire zone. If you misinterpret who someone is then you’re going to take some heat for it.

      There are a lot of people here from my FB. Some of them never agree with me on any subject except dog rescue. In this, we find a commonality that transcends petty internet arguments and personal philosophies that don’t match up very closely.

      But I also suspect you are going to take a lot of fire for profanity while telling anyone they don’t know what true Christianity is, and you’ve earned that.

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      • One absolutely cannot be a true Christian and vote Republican/Libertarian as the ideologies are in constant conflict. Relegating charitable activity to a specific holiday doesn’t make one christian, it makes one who knows they are guilty of hypocrisy the rest of the year along with the majority of their rhetoric and think highlighting their so-called charitable actions at this time of the year makes them look good–at least in their eyes. If you resent the idea of unfortunate people benefitting off your tax dollars, then you ain’t christian, or at the very least don’t state this country is built on Judeo-Christian values.

        I’ve known atheists with better “christian” values than the so-called christians.

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        • I’ve known atheists with better “christian” values than the so-called christians.

          I’ve noticed that some people proclaim their religion loud with their voice and quiet with their lives.

          Atheists have only their lives to speak of, unless it’s those godless types that have to tell everyone they are every ten minutes.

          Jesus Christ, can’t they just shut up?

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  14. Just want to reiterate, I know I have you some crap about your bitterness towards Christmas but I think you’re a stand up dude. A truly good man that does really good things with dogs and generally spreads a good message with your good writing. If any one deserves a merry Christmas it’s you and I hope you do. If you’re ever in the Austin area would love to hang out. And that goes for you too Johnco. 😄😄😄

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  15. I seriously wonder sometimes about the mentality of the people reading your posts here? Now people do have the right to agree or disagree with you or anyone else that participates in these ‘discussions’ but who in their right mind would even think of downvoting “dumbing” Galen’s post(s) above? And yet there are two of you!
    C’mon people !!! (I do expect my post here to be similarly “dumb” rated and thank you in advance for that).

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    • I evened it up, John.

      You’re on of my “right wing” friends that I assume I’ll never be in the same voting bloc with anytime soon. But I think you are a good person, I think this country needs more people like you, and I consider you a patriot. I think you have a level of compassion for other people and animals that is admirable, and you have a very hard job.

      So we disagree on politics. So what?

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