The Christmas season is upon us. Colored lights are adorning fences and awnings and lamp posts. Christmas songs are beginning to take over radio stations, and big family dinners are being planned. Children all over are beginning to mark off their calendars and revising their wishlists daily, hoping that Santa Claus can bring them the toys they have been hoping for.
Some people fret and say Christmas is becoming too materialistic. But they are forgetting that Christmas, when you really think about it, is sustained by unbridled consumerism! Entire industries rely on you spending your hard earned cash on stuff, so that they can continue to exist. Manufacturing plants all over the world are busy working 14 hour shifts to make all of the products that your children have been begging for. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on Christmas advertising. You wouldn’t want all of these things to go to waste, would you? Some families go deeply into debt as a result of exorbitant Christmas spending, but the interest on those purchases helps stimulate the economy further. Think of it as a special form of charity: you may have helped a credit card company executive keep his yacht that he was thinking about selling to pay down his litigation fees.
Our ancestors used this season to dance around weird logs and coniferous trees to ward off demons in the sky. They were very much caught up in their own strange traditions. When we came to them to help teach them about Jesus Christ, we re-appropriated a lot of their imagery and symbolism so that the lessons would stick. Over the last few hundred years, we have been accumulating various traditions that have amplified the season considerably. Sure, focusing on Christ’s birth definitely helps you gain some good perspective as we learn to give graciously and humbly. But think about how awesome our modern Christmas story has become. Christmas in the 21st Century: a holiday to celebrate an overweight, bearded elf who flies around the world on a weird quantum sleigh that is pulled by flying quadrupedal ungulates that are an anomalous biological variant of the reindeer species (some of which have bio-luminescent body parts to allow for maximum visibility in the night sky). By completely disregarding all physical principles of space and time, this strange Santa being and his team of reindeer manage to deliver gifts to children all over the world in just a few hours, accurately diagrammed below:
Furthermore, Old Saint Nick informs his wish lists through mass surveillance and data mining, and has even enslaved an entire race of smaller elves, who are forced to assemble such gifts in oppressive conditions with no compensation but room and board in a giant sweatshop on one of the most oppressively cold and inhospitable spots on the entire planet (which likely prevents any chance of successful escape- elves are very frail creatures). Santa very likely chose the North Pole because he is free from any sort of government regulations, such as workers rights. Sounds like a capitalist hero! Never mind that lovely Saint Nicholas who did all sorts of nice things for people and became a representative figure for giving and blessing people. We need someone to reflect our modern societal angst and paranoia! We much prefer Big Brother Santa and his North Pole Dystopian Nightmare.
Perhaps the most important (yet least known) byproduct of the Christmas season is that it helps children understand the world early on. Convincingly deceiving to your children about the existence of Santa Claus, only to later tell them that it was all an elaborate and extended lie to manipulate their behavior, will help kids learn how to better handle the oppressive cognitive dissonance and existential dread that is so present in modern living! Remember this as your lies trickle endlessly out of their swollen tear ducts. Learning to cope with bewildering cognitive dissonance will help them adapt to a world where everything true seems to turn out false! If they can learn early on that things they really care about or believe with all of their heart are actually lies that were created to keep them happy, then they will be sufficiently hardened and incredulous, and will be much better equipped to weather the blistering paradoxes that they face daily in modern life.
Another important things for kids to learn: It often seems like naughty kids got the better gifts. Remember that jerk kid in your elementary school class that would always come to school with the most expensive toys after Christmas and wouldn’t let anyone play with them? Yeah, they sucked then, and they sucked now- except now they are politicians and lawyers and venture capitalists and multi-level marketing schemers, and they are still getting awesome gifts for Christmas, and you are dipping into your savings to barely be able to afford a Kitchenaid mixer (if you’re lucky!). So, while their might appear to be behavioral stipulations for Christmas gift giving, they are mostly superficial. This Santa guy just happens to have a particular affection for spoiled brats. Learning that the naughty/nice only applies if your parents don’t have the means to make you an insufferable snot is an important lesson to learn early on. We all grow up and are thrust into the gladiatorial arena of life, to helplessly compete in the unjust, hostile, dog-eat-dog jungle of professional life. Wow, Santa’s oppressive workshop sounds a lot like real life- maybe he’s real after all!
A non-sarcastic, serious post-script: if you’re sick of the consumerism during the holiday season, and want to do something substantial, I encourage you, the reader, to find a way to impart of what you have for something worthwhile. This could be a thoughtful expression, a letter of appreciation, or a carefully considered gift or donation to a an important cause. If you are looking for a worthy organization, Rational Faiths has teamed up with a number of other blogs to conduct a fundraiser for the Liahona Children’s Foundation, which is dedicated to ending chronic malnourishment among children in developing countries. Please consider making a donation, either by clicking here or on the sidebar icon. Make a difference!