I’ve read an excellent book caleed The Trouble With Christmas by Tom Flynn. It gives the reasons it is bad for parents to perpetuate the lie about Santa,et all. He also raises the topic of Christmas and why it shouldn’t be a forced holiday. He mentions that Christmas is really pagan in origin anyway. Jesus wasn’t born on Dec.25.There was a festival because of the solstice. The reason we eat a Big dinner then and Thanksgiving is because farmers had extra food from the harvest. Also, the leaving santa cookies and milk(I left them for the reindeer,they did the hard work!)was to appease the spirits roaming around.This is also the reason for trick and treat. My son and I dont celebrate christmas.I tell him theres these guys who get paid to be in a mall and dress like that for no reason!
Christmas has indeed become a grossly over-commercialized holiday. But never will I stop celebrating it. I enjoy giving gifts too much. I also celebrate Yule, Kwanzaa, and Chanukah, as I have friends & relatives from all walks of life.
It’s hard to avoid the Santa thing, but when my children are old enough, I will explain the truth behind the myth, and that these holidays are not just for getting presents. I will encourage them to carry the spirit of the holidays with them throughout the year, and not just for a week or two.
I’m impressed: you actually found information in a book that is common knowledge to any informed Christian in late 20th Century North America.
The information that Christmas was set to coincide with the Saturnalia is easily found in Christian histories. The general feeling is that the Nativity probably occurred in the Spring.
I have never made a big deal about Santa to my kids, refusing to ever tell them he was real. The Santa story grew out of various folk-tales in several cultures. I am not going to defend those tales, but they hardly constitute a heathen plot (other than plots by Macy’s or Wal-Mart). In our house, we have enough faith in the meaning of the Nativity for humankind that we can embrace lots of traditions that did not arise from pure Christian belief. They did arise from pure human belief, and the Nativity celebrates God becoming human. I doubt that He gets too mad about it.
I’m glad you finally know The Truth, but this is hardly revelatory information. My son’s best friend is not allowed to celebrate Hallowe’en because the kid’s mother is convinced that it is a Satanic festival. (She is one of those who equates paganism with satanism.) Celebrate or don’t celebrate whatever you want, but I certainly hope that you don’t raise your child in a cold, sterile, Puritanical environment because you equate every celebratory act with non-Christian belief. Ritual is a very human way to present the emotional aspects of belief to each generation and to use the emotions to call to mind the beliefs. Everyone has and uses rituals; only the strictest Calvinists, (e.g., Puritans), create sterile rituals that convey the narrow, anti-human nature of their beliefs.
(This is not to be construed as an attack on any follower of Calvin-only on the fringe group of Calvinists who dread admitting their humanity except as utterly sinful and depraved. If Jesus could turn water to wine at a wedding, I have a hard time believing that He is opposed to festivity.)
Yep, I agree. Don’t celebrate Christmas. Any holiday that encourages us to have parties with our friends, neighbors, co-workers and families; makes us be kind(er) to each other for a few weeks; promotes rampant gift-giving; provides wonderful fun and fantasies for children; provides excuses for numerous feasts and parties AND allows us to watch the Grinch and Rudolf (I want to be a Dentist) MUST be evil and avoided at all costs.
Get a life.
“Owls will deafen us with their incessant hooting!” W. Smithers
Of course, Frank, you can do any and all of those things without celebrating Christmas, you know…
Before reading Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things by Charles Panati, I was under the impression that Christians celebrated their holidays around pagan festivals to entice the pagans to convert to Christianity. This is true to a degree but it’s also true that the Christians did this to avoid persecution from the pagans.
True enough. But Christmas – or Hanukah, or Yule, or Kwanzaa, or the Winter Solstice, or whatever you want to call it, is the societal trigger for these pleasant things which occur in mid-winter. A mid-winter holday seems fairly universal in the colder climes. We could do all the things I mention any time during the year (and we probably should). But we don’t. Instead, we agree as a culture to do these things at the same time every year in conjunction with a special day – a holiday.
The mid-winter holiday (call it “Christmas” for shorthand) has some Christian religious significance. It appears to me that the OP suggests that because Christmas has become (or has always been) a secular holiday also that we should not celebrate it. Hooey, I say. Christmas’s secularization (and commercialization) cannot taint its religious importance. If Christmas is important to you as a religious observance, celebrate it that way.
My point is simply that Christmas is a time when people are (generally) nicer to each other than they are the rest of the year. Why would we ever want to discourage that?
Well, I don’t know about anybody else, but no one has ever forced me to celebrate Christmas. Nope, just another chance to have dinner with the one’s you love and watch a football game.
Actually, our family has a “Big dinner” because that’s what grandma (Big “M”) cooks up. Say no to this–NOT A CHANCE[qoute]Also, the leaving santa cookies and milk(I left them for the reindeer,they did the hard work!)was to appease the spirits roaming around.
Where did you find this book?
So why don’t you celebrate Christmas? As for myself, I can’t wait to become a father and then be “Santa” for my son or daughter one day a year. Cancel Christmas–Bah, hum-bug.
The Trouble With Birthday’s::By Brother Haus
Well, it all started the day I was born…Then it become a custom to give me gifts every year on that same date. Oh, and the magnifacent meals. February 11th is a grand day–indeed. (Please send gifts)
-Man who stand on toilet,
Is high on pot-
Don’t assume that just because Hanukah (to name one) occurs near Christmas (I should probably say it the other way around, since Hanukah came first), that they are in any way related. You said about Christmas (and then referred to again above by mentioning “these pleasant things”):
Hanukah has nothing to do with pretty much any of this.
Brother Haus said:
My guess is that she was referring to forcing everybody to take the day off as a holiday, not forcing everybody to actually “celebrate” it. This was discussed a while ago here, in a thread on Christmas as a government holiday: http://www.straightdope.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000008.html
There is far too little joy in life as it is to take away Christmas. Christmas, like most things, is what you make it.
Think of how long and dull winter would be without all hustle of Christmas.
I love to walk down Michigan Avenue, see the lights, experience the window decorations. I don’t have a family so I don’t celebrate it (I usually wind up working) by giving gifts. But just the feeling makes me feel so good.
Remember, Santa is just two letters away from Satan!
I remember the Church Lady’s routine on * Saturday Night Live * concerning Santa and Satan. That was hilarious. * Welllll, isn’t that special?" *
“…send lawyers, guns, and money…”
Okay, I did mean it shouldn’t be a forced take-a-day-off work day. Although more of those would be good! There is nothing wrong with getting together with loved ones,eating (pigging out) and giving gifts. I meant to say that I don’t believe we should say Christmas is Jesus’ birthday,so therefore,spend all the money you have,but,buy,buy.Santa means nothing to me.Most small children are afraid of the mall santas.Do some charity work, but why not every day? I do take my son out for Halloween.It’s fun to wear a costume(we are going as sid and nancy this year) and get candy.
We don’t do it everyday because we’re inherently lazy and because then it wouldn’t be special. People are always encouraging others to “carry the spirit of Christmas throughout the year,” but really we don’t. We don’t make an effort to be nice to others; we don’t give the paper boy a little something extra because he does a good job; we don’t take time to get together and celebrate; and we don’t try to preserve a little magic for our kids. We couldn’t – not everyday, because then it would just be “every day”.
Complaints from one side that Christmas is too secular; complaints from the other that it’s too secular. I think you’re all a bunch of Grinches.
Gee, I wish MY work forced me to take a day off for Christmas. I have to work on Christmas and every other holiday, and we don’t get paid extra for it, either.
As for my family, we’re turning away from celebrating Christmas, per se, and leaning more towards a winter solstice celebration. My family tree is a mixture of Christians of various creeds, Jews, and atheists, and I want my kids to learn about all of these. To me, Christmas is a time to honor the traditions of the past, giving us a sense of history and continuity.
anybody else see Chris Rock’s hilarious bit on SNL about the MLKjr Holiday and the people who were against it? Roughly…
“You don’t have to do anything black. You don’t have to hug nobody. All you have to do is…don’t…go…to…work. Stay home. Sleep. We don’t care. What is your problem with this?”
Personally, If my boss wants to give me time off with pay, I ain’t askin’ why.
Vanillaice – I’m a bit confused. In another thread, you have posted about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, etc. But here you talk about reading an atheist’s book and how you are against Christmas.
Were you being sarcastic in the other thread, or is there something I’m missing?
If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
One beer is less than two beers.
Davie Moderator, Yes,I am a christian. That doesn’t stop me from reading books by atheists. I would be missing a great many ideas. I don’t only read books that I agree with,that might be redundant. I meant I think Christmas is soo commercialized,it doesn’t seem to have to do with Jesus,or peace and goodwill either. It Should,but…I was more or less knocking the Santa thing. Didn’t mean to stir up accusations of grinchness or anything,in fact,I am now painting my apartment red and green,putting up a 20 ft. evergreen tree,with balls(xmas)with photos of Cecil on them!$5 a viewing
One of the really terrific things about Christmas is the richness of cultures that contribute to it & the variety of traditions that surround it.
This allows individuals to choose what feels right to them, and pass up what doesn’t, and create their own traditions. None of the traditions surrounding Christmas are inherently good or bad. It’s what you do with them that matters.
A Catholic Midnight Mass is an enriching experience for many. But maybe not for 4 year olds. And I’ve heard some decidedly un-Christian things said to & about those for whom Midnight Mass is the only church service attended in a year.
Santa is over-commercialized, yes. But the idea of giving without expecting something in return is an important value to pass on to kids. You can also use Santa as a starting point for discussing greed and realistic expectations with your kids.
Keep what is good; ignore what is not. But don’t expect to post something flaunting your perceived moral superiority without flames. The price for your being able to choose what you do is tolerance for other people’s choices.
Sue from El Paso