Christmas 2014 will be the worst on record for me. I won’t be able to buy my daughter anything until the end of the month, my car won’t start (again) and I can’t afford to have it towed to find out what’s wrong with. And, I’m also days or hours away from having my energy shut off! There is one bright spot: I was able to get this website back up and running after it was deactivated for 24 hours. Merry Christmas, indeed.

hatexmasBy John Prytz

Christmas, and the seemingly near endless commercial lead-up to Christmas, is one of the most – actually the most – absurd institutions society has inflicted on the vast majority of the civilized world. When you consider all the sorts of stressful hoops you are required to jump through in the months, but especially weeks before the Big Day, required that is if you are spineless enough to cave in to what society (mainly but not exclusively retail traders) requires, it’s a wonder the civilized world isn’t collectively a society of babbling idiots the day after. Still, most gleefully and willingly jump through the same stressful hoops the following year, paying through the nose for the privilege.

1) RELIGIOUS ABSURDITIES

A) Christmas has bugger-all to do with Christ. The odds that J.C. was born on the 25th of December are roughly 365.25 to 1. That’s because nobody has the foggiest idea what the actual date was. You won’t find it in the Bible, that’s for sure. The concept of a relationship between Christmas and J.C. was a hijack by the Christian Church of the ancient ‘pagan’ tradition of celebrating the Winter Solstice. Rather than fight City Hall, the church just adopted that already established tradition for their own purposes. Any similarity to really real reality is purely a matter of coincidence. That you swallow hook, line and sinker without any questioning, critical thinking or actual study that there is an actual relationship between the virgin birth (yeah, that’s credible and not all that an original idea either) of an alleged deity (whose historical bona fides can be questioned) who hasn’t been seen in over 2000 years, is absurd.

B) That shopping malls and stores like supermarkets and department stories play not only Xmas music but religiously themed (i.e. – Christian) Xmas music is absurd. Nativity scenes are often featured as well. That means these commercial enterprises are in fact promoting one specific brand of religion exclusively over all others. While that might be appropriate for a church, it’s not the proper place in any multicultural society for commercial for-profit stores to endorse any brand of religion. That they do so is another absurdity.

2) FOOD ABSURDITIES

A) On average, half the food you buy for the Xmas festivities will be thrown away. Now is that absurd or is that absurd.

B) How many of you had ham or turkey for Xmas dinner? Why? Probably because your society and your culture virtually demands you eat traditional fare, which means one of these two options, plus the obligatory egg nog and plum pudding and mince pies, etc. So what’s wrong with pizza, meatloaf, sirloin steak, Irish stew, macaroni & cheese, etc.? Why are you such a slave to someone else’s traditions? That’s absurd. I’ve established my tradition – even number years it’s pizza for Xmas breakfast; spaghetti for Xmas dinner. On odd number years I reverse the two.

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3) DECORATION ABSURDITIES

Think of the massive amounts of time and energy putting up, up and up and eventually pulling down, down and down all those gaudy Xmas decorations. What’s the point? And some people go so over-the-top, so overboard, you’d think they are trying to get into the Guinness Book of Records. Maybe they are! And haven’t we all heard or read those stories of those Xmas tree lights that were so overloaded they shorted, set fire to the tree, and burned the house down.

4) BRATS (Sorry, the Little Darlings) ABSURDITIES

Its absurd being ethically required to lie to your children (and anyone else’s children) about the reality of Santa.

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5) SANTA ABSURDITIES

The economic purpose of Santa is to install in brats (sorry, your little darlings) the concept of greed and a free lunch. The brats’ mantra – I want, I want, I want; gimmie, gimmie, gimmie; now, now, now. Why do you think shopping malls and large department stores employ a Santa? Hint – it has nothing to do with jingle bells but the jingling of coins transferred from your pockets to their cash registers, lots and lots of jingling coins (plus the rustling of paper currency too). Of course as an added insult you have to pay to get a photo of your brat(s) – sorry, your little darling(s) – taken sitting on Santa’s knee.

6) XMAS MUSIC ABSURDITIES

What you listen to in the privacy of your own home is your business, but in the many, many, many weeks in the lead-up to Xmas Day, you (and especially if you are a staff member in any supermarket or department store, etc.) are endlessly bombarded with piped in shopping mall Xmas music, not to mention out-of-tune brats (sorry, those darling little kiddies) on street corners who also see fit to serenade you with even more Xmas music. You can only endure so many renditions of Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls, White Christmas and The Little Drummer Boy (to mention just four songs of a seemingly endless number of the Xmas repertory of musical drivel and pap).

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7) FINANCIAL ABSURDITIES

You spend massive amounts of money and energy preparing for a once a year happening that more likely as not you wish society would just totally forget about.

8) TIME & ENERGY ABSURDITIES

You spend more time preparing for a once a year happening than that happening itself takes up.

9) FAMILY, FRIENDS & OTHER RELATIONS ABSURDITIES

You spend ‘quality’ time with family relations that you wish were halfway around the world and thus unable to infringe on your personal space and time and wallet.

You spend lots of money you’d rather not spend on gifts for people you don’t give a damn about.

You send Xmas cards to lots of people you could care less about; you receive Xmas cards from people you could care less about.

You receive lots of gifts that are unwanted, useless, and have value only for what $$$ you might get for them on eBay (and related).

10) INSINCERITY ABSURDITIES

99.9% of people, mostly strangers and salespeople, wishing you a “Merry Christmas” are just going through the motions and don’t personally give a damn if you drop dead on Xmas Day. That goes triple for the zillions of “Merry Xmas” messages in ads that you see in the lead up to Xmas.

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11) HEALTH ABSURDITIES

Would your blood pressure, stress levels, and overall mental health be in a better and overall healthier condition if you could put your feet up, ignore Xmas and just watch the passing parade? Would your health be better if you hadn’t indulged in The Xmas Spirit as well as the spirits?

12) BENEFICIARIES ABSURDITIES

Who benefits from Xmas? Well clearly there are stories of various acts of kindness and self-sacrifice that come to the fore every Xmas. Now follow the money trail. Okay, on the plus side, charities obviously receive additional donations around Xmas time. So much for the plus side! Well the Post Office and manufacturers of Xmas cards benefit, especially since each year is a fresh year where everybody has to buy and post anew (unlike say with Xmas decorations that get reused year after year). Speaking of decorations, unless you use an artificial Xmas tree, the growers and sellers of real natural Xmas trees look forward to the Xmas season. Most of all, beneficiaries include all the manufacturers and retailers of all those to be given Xmas presents. Face it, Xmas is all about the economy and keeping people employed. Without Xmas (and to a lesser extent other overly hyped holidays like Mother’s and Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, etc.) there would be an economic collapse that would make 1929 pale in comparison. In fact, appearance-wise, a goodly percentage of news stories in the lead up to Xmas deal with how much people are spending; how well (or poorly) are retail traders are doing. They certainly outnumber by a substantial ratio stories that focus on the religious or warmer and fuzzier sides to Xmas.

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CONCLUSION

Absurdity is the foundation of comedy, so in a manner of speaking I enjoy sitting back and relaxing and enjoying the human comedy that unfolds in front of me each Xmas season as the entire good little sheep act out the standard Xmas routines (including paying off the bills in January). It’s a comedy watching all those members of society who take Xmas seriously and who jump as high as they can when society snaps its fingers as Xmas approaches for yet another reason of absurd madness.

Science librarian; retired.

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