Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Lack of Enthusiasm About Christmas

I'm not as bad as Grumpy Cat here, but I'm finding that it's hard for me to get excited about Christmas. I see all the decorations going up in people homes, the Christmas themed signs, and the store sales, but it all doesn't move me anymore.

I guess you can say that I have lost "the Christmas spirit". It all seems kind of empty, meaningless anymore, like it's just a senseless cultural tradition.

I wonder if my feelings will change as Christmas comes closer. I can't really pinpoint why it is exactly, but there may be a few factors contributing to it:

Maybe I'm associating Christmas too much with Christianity....

nativity scene, Christmas, Christianity
All for but about 2 and a half years of my life now, I was a Christian, a fundamentalist Christian at that. The connection between Christmas and Christianity was always stressed, and people were always stressing about keeping "Christ in Christmas", and complaining about stores saying Happy Holidays instead. Though few people were fans of Bill O' Reilly, (that I know of), it sounds like his griping in years past about his idea of the "war on Christmas".

Besides the griping about that, it was generally regarded as an important holiday, the most important of the year, because it was a holy day. Since it was an observance honoring Jesus' birth, it should be the most important day for Christians. Now, with all this religious meaning gone for me now that I am an agnostic, it seems kind of hollow. Not to mention it all seems also hypocritical, because many of the fundamentalists that attach such a religious meaning to Christmas often don't celebrate Halloween because of its origins in ancient polytheistic religions (which they often call "pagan" religions as an insult), yet don't know (or care) that Christmas was meant to be a replacement for a pagan holiday itself.

From WIkipedia:

In the early 4th century, the church calendar in Rome contained Christmas on December 25 and other holidays placed on solar dates: "It is cosmic symbolism...which inspired the Church leadership in Rome to elect the southern solstice, December 25, as the birthday of Christ, and the northern solstice as that of John the Baptist, supplemented by the equinoxes as their respective dates of conception. While they were aware that pagans called this day the 'birthday' of Sol Invictus, this did not concern them and it did not play any role in their choice of date for Christmas," according to modern scholar S.E. Hijmans.[88]
For fundamentalists who love to quote I Thessalonians 5:22 "Avoid all appearances of evil", and believe me, as I talk about in one of my past posts, they consider the old European religions, and their modern equivalents, Wicca and Neo-Paganism evil, they don't seem to care about the pagan origins of Christmas.

Not only is the date itself from paganism, but so are many of the traditions of Christmas are as well, such as the Christmas tree:

While it is clear that the modern Christmas tree originates in Renaissance and early modern Germany, there are a number of speculative theories as to its ultimate origin. Its 16th-century origins are sometimes associated with Martin Luther.[4][5] 
It is frequently traced to the symbolism of evergreen trees in pre-Christian winter rites, especially with the story of the Donar Oak and Saint Boniface.[6] 
According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime."[7]

Actually, the hypocrisy doesn't bother me all that much, I just find it ironic and funny, but since Christmas was for me so much of a religious holiday, traditions and beliefs that I no longer share, it feels kind of hollow to me. There's little meaning to me now, it's not who I am anymore.

The over hyping of Christmas, and the rampant commercialism....

Black Friday
Doesn't this woman look, well, psychotic?
I have heard that Christmas is not as commercialized in other nations, and I think I would enjoy that. Don't get me wrong, I'm no enemy of capitalism, I'm a libertarian (though more moderate on economics than most libertarians), but this commercialism is getting to me.

I especially find the US tradition of Black Friday sales, and the resulting chaos, and even occasional violence accompanying it to be rather disturbing.

All this talk of buy this, buy that, creates an unnatural frenzy, it makes shopping into an extreme sport where one has to wait hours in line (sometimes pitching tents overnight), to push past everyone in a frenzy to get through the door (which sometimes causes stampedes that have cause deaths and serious injuries), to get a limited supply of the hottest item on sale, usually an electronic device, and get in fist fights with people if they take the last one (trust me, my non-US readers, it happens).I t runs counter to what I think a holiday like Christmas should be.

This commercialization also causes over hyping of Christmas. I'm sorry, but just because stores want us to get into the Christmas season early to jump start their sales, doesn't mean I should have to hear about Christmas in early November, or see Christmas store displays going up just after Halloween. The all Christmas radio stations really drive me insane, Christmas music is fine, but it isn't when it takes over a good radio station for several months, to play it 24 hours a day.

That's my rant for today, I don't know, maybe I should consider it disturbing that I'm starting to identify with Grumpy Cat....


  1. Please, don't consider it disturbing. I'm right there with you and grumpy cat. I grew up celebrating Hanukkah and when it comes to Christmas, all I've come to know and see is complete chaos, greed and neuroticism. Hard to get into the Christmas 'spirit', when all around you is hypocrisy.
    I like to think of the big fat guy, with gray hair shoving himself down chimneys to give gifts to good little girls and boys, because I enjoy a chuckle. However, we all know Santa's not real, I know God isn't real...therefore, to me, Christmas, holds no relevance and I will forever be a "scrooge".

    1. I see where you are coming from on this.
      Maybe if I could view Christmas differently, or celebrate it differently, it would help.

  2. My wife thinks I'm about to cross the gap from neurotic to psychotic whenever she hears me sing Christmas carols.

    I've gotten some distance(being middle age)from my Christian past, and will play the Messiah around the house this time of year. I do hate the commercialism so very, very much.

    1. Is your wife atheist as well?

      With time, maybe my views will change on Christmas, once I get more distance from my past.

  3. Aww Sheldon! Life sucks fully a lot. I cannot possibly be in your shoes as much as I want to comprehend what you are going through. That's because I care for you. The real Sheldon is evolving like we all are (some of us to be more precise;) There is something in you that resists any disguise and shines through. Well, that transparency is loveable. Many if not most, don't have that. Keep going the way you are. Don't stop even if it seems really bad. I can drag you by your hair if you have hair LOL or you feel weak :D but just for a few hundred meters until you can keep going on your own.
    I hate Christmas deeply. You must feel disturbed because of how people act around you, that is the problem, not you. If by any chance there was or there is a heaven being "constructed", you will be one of the few there and won't have to put up with so much decadence. Ahhh Sorry on behalf of humanity because is failing you a lot. All my love to you!!!!!
    I have to talk to you by mail about something I need advice with. If not in a few hours, tomorrow.

    1. Who says I'm not the "real" Sheldon?
      Oh wait, I do at the top of the blog homepage, lol.

      Thanks, Betta.


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