Twas the Night before madness…
I don’t celebrate Christmas, I don’t have a Christmas tree in my living room, there’s nothing outside dangling that is festive, I don’t say merry Christmas and only say Happy holidays out of obligation, in all honesty, I sincerely hate this time of year. Let me elaborate so you all don’t think I’m just being depressed or cynical.
For one, as probably all of you may know, I’m an outspoken atheist. For me this time of year is a constant reminder of how people’s deeply held superstition still persists and is quite literally forced in your face in December. The whole aspect of the Christmas season is a Frankenstein holiday, nevertheless Christians never seem to figure this out. They celebrate a holiday that the person they are celebrating… wouldn’t even celebrate.
That being said, it doesn’t take that much applied critical thinking and a minor understanding of geological and historical knowledge to realize that according to the ridiculous book known as the Bible, never mentioned an exact date for this supposed birth; but what we do know is that historically the Romans did their census in the spring and shepherds don’t leave their flocks out at night in the winter, especially since it sometimes snows in Bethlehem during the the winter. So from a historical position, if Jesus did exist, he would have been born in spring. The story of Jesus’ birth is also borrowed mythology as well, born of a virgin, in a manger, a brilliant star in the sky guiding wise men visiting from a far, all borrowed stories from other religions (then again a lot of stories from the Bible are borrowed stories). And being born in the middle east in December, where the altitude in Bethlehem is 2,500 ft above sea level and has an average late December temperature of 42°f, you’d think there would be more emphasis on keeping a newborn warm during this time of year. So that’s why I scoff at Christmas from the very premise of it.
The history of Christmas is just as dubious, especially when it comes to Christmas tradition. Getting people to embrace the Christian religious beliefs did pose a challenge to earlier followers of this religion, especially in European areas where they held their own religious beliefs and traditions in December. We know that in an effort to make the Christian religious beliefs more acceptable to the Europeans in the late Iron age, they had to adopt traditional times of celebration that other religions had. Yule, Winter solstice, Ziemassvētki, etc. were pagan traditional holidays this time of year. And in an effort to convert the people of these religious beliefs, the Christian Church adopted the customs and traditions of these holidays in an attempt to make the Christian religion more appealing (and it worked).
So with all this being said, now you know why I refer to it as a Frankenstein holiday. But this isn’t just what bothers me about this holiday season, this is more of an irritation to me. It’s the people themselves that really get under my skin as well as the expectations society has that really erks me.
People are at their most hypocritical point this time of year. They pretend to be happy and helpful with a desire to help their fellow man (which sometimes they do for this short period of time), but mostly they come across as pretentious and fake with a holier-than-thou attitude. For some reason people feel like they need a special occasion to help one another, and they aren’t really doing it for the right reasons; they’re doing it because they themselves feel like they need to appease a bearded white man that knows if they’re good or bad and will either punish or reward them for their efforts or there by lack of (sound familiar?). So they smile with tongue in cheek and pretend to be merry and joyful and scoff at those of us that dare roll our eyes.
This is where Christians are at their most loudest, their pinacle of bigotry this time of year and it’s truly pathetic. Masquerading around like they’re being oppressed and screaming there’s a “war on Christmas” and how they’re being so undoly discriminated against if anyone dares to tell them to kindly keep their religious beliefs to themselves. The arrogance this time of year makes me only gain in my disdain for the holiday season, but just when you think this couldn’t sound any worse than it is; society and capitalism ensures to add insult to injury.
We lie to our impressionable children and tell them a white bearded man will reward them with toys and treats if they behave (sound familiar?). And we constructed a grandiose back story about this character we call Santa Claus with it’s own customs and traditions that dazzle children and gives them hope (sound familiar?). All to eventually find out that it was all just a lie to keep them in line. Why do we do this to them when we know it’s wrong? (Maybe it’s because society tells us it’s ok)
And with that lie we the parents need to deliver on that promise, and dig ourselves into a financial hole by spending money we don’t have! But wait, just when you think this couldn’t be any worse, it does!
To add to the financial burden and pain of the societal expectation to buy treats and gifts for our children, we also do the same for our family, friends, acquaintances and coworkers, because if we don’t you’re an asshole! And businesses capitalize on this and assault your senses with a barrage of Christmas music and decorative displays and just short of fumigating the air with the scent of cinnamon and pine; all in an attempt to get you to spend more of your hard earned cash that you really should be using for other things like bills. What’s worse is people buy right into this hook, line, and sinker and spend that money on holiday sales to the point that businesses mark their growth on just this month alone.
It’s pure chaos and hypocrisy wrapped in colorful paper with bow of insanity on top. But remember if you’re not singing joyful merry Christmas tunes then people have a name for this as well Ebenezer Scrooge… Bah-Humbug!
So happy holidays to you all, I hope a reindeer display falls on your head so maybe I won’t have to hear merry Christmas… again.
– Daniel Fisk Bennett