Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Celebrating Santamas

Ho, ho, hum – bah humbug. Lately, people (read adults) are having a harder and harder time getting into the Christmas spirit. And, it’s not just the economy, dummy. It’s been this way for years. I know grown men, longing for that cocaine like first high, that expectant manic feeling that slowly builds as THE DAY looms closer and closer. But, it’s not there anymore. This season I find myself asking, why. I don’t remember exactly when my enthusiasm for Christmas began to wane. It seems to have crept up on me, but I want it back.

It lasts too long
In years past, I used to groan after Halloween had passed us by, because sure enough on November 1 the isles were empty of Halloween candy and Christmas was in full force, by the time December 25th showed up on the calendar, I was burned out. That’s even truer for today; I think I saw the first Christmas displays shortly after Labor Day this year. It’s even affecting my children – my 12 year old said to me this year, “Geez, it’s not even Halloween and they have the Christmas stuff out, already.” Not long after that, the “Holiday” music started and it truly annoyed me; so much so I deleted channels from my radio presets.

The comparison game
So, what did you get for Christmas? Was Santa good to you? I dreaded those questions as a kid. “Winter” break would be over and back to school we’d trudge – and all the joy of the last two weeks drained out of my toes that day I’d board the bus. Growing up in the excessive 80’s in a fairly affluent area in a not so affluent household was tough. I didn’t get the expensive Jordache jeans, or the Papagallo purse with a dozen covers, or the polo shirts with the alligator and my button downs didn’t have a “fag tag.” My jeans were Levi’s, my purse was a knock off and I embroidered an alligator of my own – upside down, of course. I fully supported a burgeoning cause of the era, “Save an alligator, kill a preppy!” In the 80’s the line of the "haves" and "have nots" was sharply drawn; a lot like today. What I don’t remember of that time is the altruistic outpouring of help that has marked the last two years of this decade. What I do remember about the time is feeling very defensive of my parents. On Christmas morning, what they bought for me was always great – but by my classmates standards, not so much.

But, by far I think the number one reason I no longer get excited about Christmas:

The total Santafication of a Religious day
Watch TV for any amount of time and you’ll learn that the reason we give gifts to each other is to buy love. You might laugh, but seriously that’s what Madison Ave. would have you think. So much so, I abhor watching TV at the moment. The day Christians celebrate has been completely overshadowed by Santa. In the past I was amused when people would intone, “Remember the reason for the season” or “Let’s put “Christ” back in “Christmas”.” Whole communities get up in arms about displaying nativities, well folks – Christmas used to be the day Christians celebrated the birth of the greatest gift God gave the world, his Son. It’s not Santamas. We used to give gifts to one another to honor God, as a small token in remembrance of His gift to us. How is it that one of the most Holy of all Christian celebrations has become 90% secular? It’s truly depressing to see this day stolen from us; it is soul shattering to realize that over the years, Christians allowed it.

Most scholars agree that Christ wasn’t born in December, so perhaps it is time we had Christmas in July and leave Santamas to the world.

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