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The Edge

Christmas Creep

   
Bob Mace
   

Here we are with the year waning and the promise of the holidays fresh before us. There’s an atheist group that’s started an ad campaign built around the “Christmas is a fairytale” theme. The Edge believes that no matter what costume Ebenezer wears, he’s best ignored until after the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come has scared the daylights from him.

Atheists point out there are any number of mid-winter traditions now associated with Christmas that had their start in pagan societies. The tradition of hanging greenery (wreaths and the tree) comes indirectly from Europe’s pre-Christian religious celebrations. The idea of Santa and sleigh is a reworking of pagan myth that believed spirits traveled through the sky during the period of winter solstice.

In the grand tradition of capitalistic overreach, Black Friday now starts on Thanksgiving Thursday -sometime between the second and third televised NFL contest. For those pining away for the Thanksgiving of the Pilgrims or the ones on which families spent Thanksgiving together, one must point out that those memories came before nine hours of pro football programming and the distraction of a bunch of chirping phones carrying text messages, tweets and Facebook postings.

The Edge believes categorically that Thanksgiving should be a day of rest and reflection for everybody in this society who isn’t providing hospital care or first responder services.The same is true for the national holiday of Christmas whether one chooses to celebrate the religious significance, the secular traditions of decorations and gifts or prefers to count it as just another day when the office is closed.

There are many expressing their displeasure with what is denominated as “the Christmas Creep” - the offering of retail promotions starting earlier and earlier each year. There is something noticeably amiss when stores are festooned with fake snowflakes before the first leaves have fallen from the trees. That said, how many families celebrate on the 19th with his parents, on the 20th with hers and on the 21st with the kids birth grandparents? Figure in those divorces and remarriages and its not just stores pushing the holiday season ever earlier!

Furthermore, there is at least some religious precedent for such Christmas Creep. Edge research finds that the fourth-century Roman Catholic Church of Spain - likely eyeing their collection plates - celebrated Advent to commemorate prophecies and events leading up to the birth of Jesus now celebrated on December 25th. In 1969 The Roman Catholic Church went so far as to move the feast of St. Thomas from it’s Winter Solstice date of December 21st to July 3rd so as not to detract from the Advent season. American bishops likely hope that St. Thomas liked firecrackers.

The Edge opposes any effort to move Thanksgiving to the Thursday before the Bowl Championship just so the retail season won’t need to be paused for an inconvenient national feast.

Finally, The Edge wonders if the Christian denominations aren’t somewhat covetous of their Jewish brethren who celebrate Hanukah for eight days. Not to be outdone, the Orthodox Church (and to a lesser extent other denominations) celebrates the 12 days of Christmas. This celebration is the basis for the traditional, “partridge in a pear tree,” song that The Edge considers the liturgical adaptation of the 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall cantata.

Enough of the cynical discussion of whether it is the religious establishment, extended families, the merchant-class retailer or the military industrial complex that bears responsibility for Christmas Creep. Regardless, we hope the holidays you celebrate will be filled with family, friends and joy.


E-mail Bob Mace: bmace@cfpmidweek.com.

 

 


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