It’s no longer a secret that December 25th is not likely to be the day that Christianity’s god-become-man was born into human form. It’s also not a secret that a lot of people that observe mid-to-late December as a holiday season are not Christians, or even believe or care about religion at all. These days, the December holidays are driven by commerce. Retailers expect sales to spike, governments want to drive public spending, and everyone just wants an excuse to get STUFF. The US retailers have an even bigger stake since they’ve created “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” around the end-of-November American Thanksgiving holidays, doubling down on consumer spending.
There’s no longer a “why” to the December holidays. Saint Nick, Rudolph, the Tannenbaum and the wrapped boxes of loot under it are trappings of “Christmas” where the origin of the word is an afterthought to the consumerism and gluttony and vacationing. Hey, maybe hit a church once in a while if you’re going to claim you’re celebrating Christmas? For those who observe Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, happy holidays to you, I know nothing about your holidays but I hope that they’re observed better than Christmas is. Overall though, I’m starting to think that it’s time to abolish the December holidays. They’ve outlived their usefulness in all things non-commercial.
Is this any different from 25 years ago? I would say yes just from the massive increase in the distractions that modern technology has brought. When I was a kid, Christmas meant people and family and church. There weren’t any gadgets or devices – the colour TV was still a newfangled thing, and it had four channels. So you’d get together at someone’s house after services, play records, hang out and talk. Travel to a vacation spot was rare – airfare was still very expensive. Gifts were usually practical things like clothes and books and stationery and sweets. The kids would go outside and play street games or shoot hoops and talk about books and the occasional movie that everyone had seen.
These days, everyone grabs food, sits down and stares at a phone or tablet screen, possibly with earbuds or headphones on. I realize that this is an irreversible trend, but I can’t help but think that the attitude towards devices and the internet is slowly draining the humanity out of everyone. The effect is magnified during this time of year.
Happy holidays. Go see friends and family, and leave your phone, tablet and laptop at home. Regain some of your humanity.