Course or Course Code
December 17, 1996
Well it looks like it’s that time of year again, when colourful lights are hung on trees, families spend time together, and retailers swim naked through their money. You guessed it, I’m talking about Christmas, one of the many holidays that have lost their meaning to commercialization. Forget the memory of Jesus Christ, now’s the time to pay homage to the almighty buck.
Nowadays when someone thinks of Christmas or Easter the idea of Christianity is one of the last to come into their mind (although I don’t think it could have been made much easier — “Christ”ianity, “Christ”mas — what kind of minds are we dealing with?). It’s far more likely that their first thoughts will be about buying the perfect gifts, having the most eye-damaging house decorations on the block, or having a hairy old fat man in red underwear arrested for putting their child on his lap and whispering to them to tell him what they “really” want (strangely enough there are some parents out there who actually pay money each year to have this abuse inflicted upon their children).
The whole idea of Santa Claus is one of the scariest I’ve come across and yet we embrace it. The entire story sounds like something you should threaten your kid with if he doesn’t want to eat his veggies. As I understand it he’s supposed to be a fat man wearing red underwear who is capable of sliding down your chimney unharmed in order to quietly slip into your house while you’re sleeping. If he really existed I’d be sitting up with a loaded shotgun every Christmas Eve, not dreaming of gifts while this lunatic could be slicing the throats of everyone in my house! And to add to the horror he is said to use “elves” to manufacture “toys” in a little “workshop” in the North Pole. This entire elf story sounds like a softening cover-up fed to us as propaganda. The truth of the matter is there’s a Mafia hitman out there named Santa the Claw who runs a sweatshop using illegal child labour to manufacture products in a remote location where he can’t be easily apprehended; or so that’s what my skills of deductive reasoning tell me. So why the cover-up? Simple. The retailers, businessmen, and all the other bad people are all in on it since they realized long ago the amount of money they could make by marketing the “Santa Claus” idea. So like everything about the holiday, it reverts to money. And when you look at Christmas today, where would it be without Santa Claus? The multi-millionaires would only be regular millionaires and I’m sure all us middle class people would agree that that just wouldn’t be acceptable. Our sole purpose during this holiday season is to give till it hurts so we can help those needy millionaires become multi-millionaires because, lets face it people, they need our help.
The amount of commercialism during the holidays truly is unbelievable though, isn’t it? Just two weeks ago I was at the mall and I decided to check to see if some CD prices were any cheaper in K-mart (“The lowest price is a K-mart price”, so I had to check). When I got no more than two meters in the door I was swept away by the currents of people. First I was forced towards the toiletries, then pushed by the sporting goods, and then hurled past the electronics section. This chaotic tour of the store continued until I began to be driven towards the women’s lingerie section, at which point, as any other self-respecting male would have done, I decided to fight my way out rather than be taken into “No Man’s Land”. After getting out with most of me still intact I realized that I had made the mistake of interfering in the annual Christmas battle of guilt-ridden parents looking for the perfect gifts to appease their children. Everyone else who had navely gone in there (and let me assure you it was a decreasing minority thanks to the lucky escapees such as myself and the unfortunate death tolls) were just ordinary unarmed shoppers who, like me, were unaware that the Spanish “Running of the Bulls” was being held in Sudbury this year.
To make the situation even worse we are faced with advertisements. After looking at these ads and listening to their commercially biased yet sincere opinions on how you should treat your loved ones no one can feel that their gifts will be acceptable. By the criteria they so conveniently present us with, if the gift doesn’t require you to mortgage your house, it’s not good enough. It’s so nice of the retailers to care enough to tell us what our loved ones want and deserve without taking time to think of themselves. It’s thanks to wonderful people like them that we can go out and do our Christmas shopping like mindless zombies, without a thought about who the gifts are for. I remember how little Johnny reacted when he unwrapped that cheese grater last year, and the look on Suzy’s face when I gave her the economy sized tube of Ben Gay is what Christmas is all about. Bless those tycoons, every one.
So I guess the question is what happened to the true meaning of Christmas? How come Christmas now symbolizes every businessman’s fantasy come true and a trip to the poor house for the average Joe? I believe the answer lies in the fact that, had he known about the money to be made off his birthday, Jesus himself would have crawled over his own mother to get a piece of the action.