My Problem with American Christmas

I don’t hate Christmas. Peace on Earth, good will to all. What’s not to love? Hell, even if it was just about celebrating Jesus’ birthday, I’d be cool with that. I mean, I’m not particularly Christian, but I am a big fan of Jesus. Just read the Sermon on the Mount. That’s the real deal, right there. If we all took its lessons and precepts to heart, the world would be a lot nicer place to live in.

But American Christmas is only nominally about all those things.

Don’t believe me? Read the lyrics to Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

He’s making a list
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

O! You better watch out!
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

American Christmas is about being rewarded with material wealth in return for obedience to authority, as monitored by a ubiquitous and invisible judge who not only watches you sleep but will ding you for even expressing dissatisfaction.

Do what you’re told, with a smile on your face, and you will get stuff.

Now, I’m no theologian, but that sounds about as far from the Gospels as a thing could be.

And don’t even get me started on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

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