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I Am The Anti-Christ(mas).
November 24, 2004 3:28 PM   Subscribe

No shopping. No presents. No guilt.
posted by adamgreenfield (98 comments total)

 
Now they just need a Chanukah Presents Resistance Movement for us Jews.
posted by rooftop secrets at 3:34 PM on November 24, 2004


viva la resistance!
posted by nola at 3:37 PM on November 24, 2004


Wow, it even looks like a warmed-over version of this.
posted by ticopelp at 3:40 PM on November 24, 2004


This is great! (and you're right, rooftop, but my family stopped giving to each other when my generation became adults--we only make sure now that the kids get.)
posted by amberglow at 3:41 PM on November 24, 2004


Um, rooftop secrets, isn't that kind of missing the point?
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:42 PM on November 24, 2004


Indeed, when I read the link I thought it was more from our friends at AdBusters.

While I'm all for encouraging people to curb their wanton materialism, I rather like buying a few things for my friends and loved ones every now and again. Christmas, though I don't subscribe to the religious aspects of it, provides a nice opportunity to do this.

I guess I'm just a bad person that way.
posted by aladfar at 3:43 PM on November 24, 2004


Fuck you, I want my god damn presents and I like giving them because it's the most wonderfuckingful time of the year, hippy assholes.
posted by Stan Chin at 3:45 PM on November 24, 2004


Um, rooftop secrets, isn't that kind of missing the point?

Um, I don't think so. This is about being obligated to give presents to one another, no? Contrary to popular belief, there is one time of year when the Jews buy things for other people.
posted by rooftop secrets at 3:48 PM on November 24, 2004


I knit presents. Its cheap, effective and I have an excuse to buy knitting stuff.

It also puts other 'gifts' to shame.

As for the rest of the sentiments expressed by the site, I agree. I hate tinsel, I'm in australia so all the white frosting and snowflakes are glaringly out of place, and christmas music in shopping centers makes me want to puke.

I try to spend the day celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, not the month celebrating the birth of Visa and Master Card.
posted by Jerub at 3:48 PM on November 24, 2004


(and for those not in the know, Chanukah roughly corresponds with Christmas season, although that varies quite a bit. My family is split, so I get Chanukah gifts for my mom's side and Christmas gifts for the Dad side.)
posted by rooftop secrets at 3:51 PM on November 24, 2004


No, I mean: I'm just as happy to escape from Hannukah, but it's not precisely as if that (or any other Jewish holiday) is in any danger of being hegemonic, right?

Not likely to suffer dreidl songs at the Starbucks where *I* live, anyway.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:51 PM on November 24, 2004


happy solstice!
posted by MrLint at 3:53 PM on November 24, 2004


I used to enjoy Christmas. That was before I'd worked retail (in a large department store that employed carollers, no less).

Nothing brings out people's inner impatience, selfishness, disrespect, sense of entitlement and self-importance like Christmas.

Oh, and while I remember, CAROLS MAKE HULK SMASH!
posted by blender at 3:53 PM on November 24, 2004


I never realized Christmas was such serious business.
posted by punishinglemur at 3:54 PM on November 24, 2004


I like the no shopping part. I can live with the no presents part. But I don't think I could shake the guilt.

I like the holiday season but do not care for the gift exchange part, which cause most of the stress and the resulting family fights. I'd be more than happy to take away the gifts and just enjoy the holiday with family at a resort or something.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 3:54 PM on November 24, 2004


I'm just as happy to escape from Hannukah, but it's not precisely as if that (or any other Jewish holiday) is in any danger of being hegemonic, right?

I very much agree with that, I just don't think the main focus of the site was the ubiquity of Christmas, but rather the consumption aspect of the holiday, of which Chanukah is as guilty.

I don't think we disagree here. Happy Holidays.
posted by rooftop secrets at 3:57 PM on November 24, 2004


Meh. Maybe it's because I didn't come from a Christmas-celebrating household, but I'd say that Christmas is less an example of consumerism run rampant than the other 364 days of the year. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with wanting, buying, giving, and getting gifts, but something is amiss with the general waste, constant gluttony, and idle keeping-up-with-the-Joneses of the rest of everyday life in many places.

Although I have no doubt that many, many people adore turning Christmas into an explosion of wasted money and electricity. Right now I'm reminded of how even looking at a poster for Christmas With the Kranks fills me with hate and flaming scorpions.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:57 PM on November 24, 2004


You know the scene from Babe where the little girl brattily rejects the beautiful dollhouse that her grandfather made by hand? That made me cry, even more than the "good pig" part there at the end. The Christmas gift orgy leads to behavior like this. Makes me sick. Actually, Any kind of obligatory gift giving makes me kind of nauseous. I mean, what's the point? Why not just hand out cash so people can buy the stuff from their Amazon wish list, or bridal registry, or whatever, and call it something other than a gift? I think this boycotting Christmas is a great idea. I might even print up some of the posters and put them around campus.
I'm still making and decorating cookies, though. Some things are holy and sacred.
posted by cilantro at 4:03 PM on November 24, 2004


I wholeheartedly support this. They've been stocking Christmas stuff in the shops here since early October and it's driving me completley insane.

The endless schmultz and shallow sentimentality is the worst part. At least celebrating the solstice or new year has some significance in that it's... well, a new year, whereas people essentially celebrate Christmas because everyone else does and they'd be branded as killjoys or scrooges if they didn't.
posted by comraderaoul at 4:05 PM on November 24, 2004


You are all required to feel bad for trying to make yourselves feel good.
posted by ColdChef at 4:05 PM on November 24, 2004


i hear ya, sticherbeast. it's just the commercialization of the holidays and of gift-giving that's obscured the true spirit of giving, receiving, sharing, celebrating. the keeping-up-with-the-jonses syndrome is the real killer. but again, it is human nature. i don't think there's anything wrong per se with consuming goods. but there is the waste, the spiritual toll it can take and the fact that, with all those goods out there and the capitalist drive for more, more, more, it's pretty much a neverending race. it just escalates.
posted by yedgar at 4:09 PM on November 24, 2004


Nina Paley! Coolness. Has a history of making grumpy things, tho, which kinda goes with her artistic territory, I guess: she did the box art for that TV B-Gone thing, too.
posted by furiousthought at 4:12 PM on November 24, 2004


I'm on this bandwagon.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 4:17 PM on November 24, 2004


the spiritual toll it can take and the fact that, with all those goods out there and the capitalist drive for more, more, more, it's pretty much a neverending race. it just escalates.

Utter bullshit. The holiday season becomes what you put into it. I've exchanged gifts with my family and friends for my entire life. No stress, not rampant capitalist drive, no world destruction, no "commercialization of the holidays" obscuring "the true spirit of giving, receiving, sharing, celebrating" or whatever lameness this year's anti-gift giving MetaFilter post encompasses.

ColdChef and Stan Chin are dead on.

I'm on this bandwagon.

because that's pretty much all it is.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:18 PM on November 24, 2004


"To Jesus on His Birthday"
Edna St. Vincent Millay

For this your mother sweated in the cold,
For this you bled upon the bitter tree:
A yard of tinsel ribbon bought and sold;
A paper wreath; a day at home for me.
The merry bells ring out, the people kneel;
Up goes the man of God before the crowd;
With voice of honey and with eyes of steel
He drones your humble gospel to the proud.
Nobody listens. Less than the wind that blows
Are all your words to us you died to save.
O Prince of Peace! O Sharon's dewy Rose!
How mute you lie within your vaulted grave.
The stone the angel rolled away with tears
Is back upon your mouth these two thousand years.
posted by ronv at 4:20 PM on November 24, 2004


I used to enjoy Christmas. That was before I'd worked retail (in a large department store that employed carollers, no less).

Nothing brings out people's inner impatience, selfishness, disrespect, sense of entitlement and self-importance like Christmas.

Oh, and while I remember, CAROLS MAKE HULK SMASH!
posted by blender at 6:53 PM EST on November 24


I couldn't agree with this more. I spent a little over a year working in a major retail chain (a time which included two "Black Fridays"). People doing their holiday shopping typically were the most unpleasant individuals of the entire year.

Feeling obligated to spend x amount of dollars for y amount of people caused something to emerge that I'd rather not see again.
posted by trey at 4:23 PM on November 24, 2004


I'm not a huge fan of the christmas season, and tend to agree that the consumerism and advertising associated with is so over the top that it's almost deafening.

However, wouldn't a nice alternative to show that you do care about your friends and family be to make your gifts? You would still be able to get your point across without getting militant on Grandma for those few days at home.
posted by helvetica at 4:29 PM on November 24, 2004


Also, i love the illustration on the poster.
posted by helvetica at 4:31 PM on November 24, 2004


eyeballkid, I take your post to mean you haven't noticed that Christmas-related advertising began a full week earlier this year than I can remember ever having been the case before?

When the Kringle-icious cellphone pitches and tinsel-strewn car ads begin in mid-May, will it not be "utter bullshit" then?
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:31 PM on November 24, 2004


It will cease being utter bullshit when I start to give a fuck, which I don't. The season could start in May for all I care. I have nothing against the season, I have nothing against the gift giving. (the shitty remakes of the same 10 xmas songs I could do without).

And, as for noticing the advertising? I don't pay attention to ads very much, and it's not like the tv isn't trying to sell me the same shit all year round.

I spent a little over a year working in a major retail chain (a time which included two "Black Fridays"). People doing their holiday shopping typically were the most unpleasant individuals of the entire year.

I did it for ten. Customers are assholes 365 days a year. There's just more of them during the holiday season.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:40 PM on November 24, 2004


I know the profanity in the previous comment makes me come off as defensive. I'm not. I like the holidays because in most industries, excluding retail, things slow down. Families get time off. People get together. Gifts are exchanged. I said in a previous comment, "The holiday season becomes what you put into it." That's the truth. If you see it as some big capitalist ploy to seperate you from your hard earned cash, if you're trying to keep up with the Joneses, then that's your own damned fault.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:42 PM on November 24, 2004


Wow, you're a cheery fellow, aren't you?
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:45 PM on November 24, 2004


Wow, you're a cheery fellow, aren't you?

Yeah, because this is the cheery shit, right?
posted by eyeballkid at 4:47 PM on November 24, 2004


(He has a point.)
posted by boredomjockey at 4:52 PM on November 24, 2004


I'm with eyeballkid who happens to also be with me. Look, you don't want to do all the holiday crap, you're more than welcome to skip it. But don't slag others for finding the good in it.

I like buying stuff for people and I like the stuff people buy for me (most of the time). It evens out. I get things I like and I get to give things to people that will make them happy. I don't spend more than I allow myself to. I'm a responsible adult.

Sure, some people take it to ridiculous ends, and well...that's their deal. I try not to let others push their belief system on me as much as I can and I try not to do that to others. Drop out of the holidays if you like, but I'll be toasty by the fire enjoying some cheer.
posted by ColdChef at 4:54 PM on November 24, 2004


For full disclosure, I should admit that in contrast to the good Mr. EBK, I DO enjoy the same 10 shitty songs in all of their permutations.
posted by ColdChef at 4:56 PM on November 24, 2004


If you're a consumerist hobag, then you will have a consumerist hobag Christmas.

If you're not, then you won't. At worst you will have to put up with consumerist hobags in your familial circle, but that's their problem.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:59 PM on November 24, 2004


Try being broke at Christmas.

I cannot stand the season. I cannot stand the crowds and the constant carols and the stress and the pressure and the dealing with relatives just because it is "that time of year".

I especially cannot stand wanting to do so much for my kids and not being able to do hardly anything. Granted, I have managed to raise three fairly unmaterialistic kids, but this season just loves to remind me of all the things I cannot do.

January first cannot come a day too soon.
posted by konolia at 5:12 PM on November 24, 2004


"And the same thing goes for Christmas!"
(super-hip Monkees reference)
I'm pretty goddamn fed up with this stupid holiday myself, and I'm glad to say my mother called a stop to all the dumb presents this year in my family. I'm sick of getting more presents on some other dude's birthday than I do on my own, and I'm really sick of having to go buy them in crowded stores. People who take Christianity seriously (you know who you are) should be ashamed of participating in thins nonsense, and you should be ashamed of making a bigger deal out of Christmas (anybody can be born) than Easter (not everybody can rise from the dead and fix that troublesome Original Sin problem).
posted by uosuaq at 5:16 PM on November 24, 2004


As December 25th was originally the day of celebration for the birth of Mithras, I command you all to conduct cheerful gift exchanges, or else mysun-god will whomp your sun-god's ass.

I don't get the resistance to giving gifts to people you like, and snubbing people you don't like as a symbol of your dissatisfaction with their existence.

I've been broke a couple of Xmas', but taken sustenance from being with people I make the effort to contact - old friends, relatives, and so on. Maybe I'm just lucky. Or good at avoiding people I hate.

(disclaimer: I have no children, and cannot feel your pain.)
posted by kamus at 5:18 PM on November 24, 2004


konolia, set a new holiday tradition--no purchased gifts, or something (you're the boss--take control, no?). It's not like anyone mandates that it be all commercial.
posted by amberglow at 5:21 PM on November 24, 2004


Scrooges.

This sounds like the latest trendy way for people to upset their parents and/or get all self-righteous.

Ho, Ho fucking Ho!
posted by jonmc at 5:23 PM on November 24, 2004


w00t! first n00b mistake:

Mithras

Now I have to kill two goats in his name. *sigh*
posted by kamus at 5:23 PM on November 24, 2004


"And the same thing goes for Christmas!"

Ah, delightful.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:27 PM on November 24, 2004


Not to mention, feasts and holidays and the like are one of the things that give a culture cohesiveness. If someone posted something about the Lower Yahoobitian Monkey Brain Fest plenty of the boycotters would be oohing and ahhing National Geographic style about how wonderful and fascinating it all was.
posted by jonmc at 5:28 PM on November 24, 2004


I don't think that boycotting Christmas will stop greedy jerks from being greedy jerks. I think it will stop otherwise caring people from expressing their gratitude to friends and family via thoughtful gifts.

If giving things to other people causes so much hassle in your life that you need to consider boycotting the process, you have far more problems than just a holiday.
posted by nightchrome at 5:31 PM on November 24, 2004


Christmas advertising is aggressive and cynical, no doubt about it. Nobody likes to be manipulated, even to do things they enjoy.

While I love to give and receive gifts, I try to maintain an understanding within my circles that my ambivilence to Christmas stems from my distaste for insincerity and social pressure. My partner and I always make something--like bags of granola or jars of apple butter, and make our own label for them. That's our gift.

I try to spend extra time with those I'm close to, but to be honest, Christmas doesn't seem to bring out the best in most people, me included. My best Christmases of late have been spent traveling with only my partner.

This notion of joining a movement against Christmas consumerism comes from a good motivation, but is doomed to be misunderstood. America was founded on the Protestant principle of salvation evidenced by material. God's love, and by extension human love, is expressed by material. Of course, this is utter hooey; but as a culture, Americans believe it.

If you're going to bail on Christmas, make sure you make a point to giving gifts at other times of the years. Gifts for no reason are the best.
posted by squirrel at 5:32 PM on November 24, 2004


two years ago, i convinced my family that we had enough stuff, and didn't need more stuff, and if there was stuff we *needed* we could get it for ourselves. instead of giving gifts, we each named a couple of charities and each donated in the others' name to one of their chosen organizations.

this should have been an awesome solution.

instead, since i donated online in family members' names, but needed to give my billing address for payment purposes, i was let down to the highest degree.

for the two years following that christmas, i received a TON of junk mail from various organizations-- easy to track the source, as the mail came for my mother, father, etc. while they did not reside at my address.

i was so disappointed-- the money i donated was easily spent in postage and marketing collateral costs for these 501(c)3s. meaning, ultimately, that the donation was a wash.

i'm not naïve with regard to non-profits; i had just really hoped that this would be a great christmas solution. instead, i've now vowed to leave north america for christmas season from here on out. at least this way, i'm spared some of the damned music.
posted by mireille at 5:40 PM on November 24, 2004


Gifts for no reason are the best.

They completely are, squirrel. but--if you need a reason, my bday's in a week, and jon's too. ; >
posted by amberglow at 5:42 PM on November 24, 2004


If giving things to other people causes so much hassle in your life that you need to consider boycotting the process, you have far more problems than just a holiday.

Wait, wait, wait. In your quote - which does a great job of summarizing a main line of response here - you seem to express a belief that the purpose of boycotting is to get away with not giving gifts. (Admittedly, the minimal way I framed the post as well as the choice of words in the post was itself somewhat responsible.)

But that's not at all what my interest is. See, to me, Christmas is *something you do to me, and which I have no real way of opting out of*.

Think about it that way for a minute or two.

Oh, and jonmc, fiddlesticks. I'm sure you can imagine what my feelings about fetishizing the Other might be. I'm also sure you know better than to assert that there's any such thing as "American culture," that whatever rituals might constitute any such thing are in need of defense, or that commercialization has anything to do with those rituals that do bind a people together.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:43 PM on November 24, 2004


It'd be great if we could all be allowed to celebrate in our own way. After all, almost every culture has a winter ceremonial of some sort.

But this so called "Holiday" is getting stretched into 3 months. It has been completely corrupted by the marketing behemoth that has become modern society. AND its unavoidable.

There used to be an unspoken rule that XMAS marketing didn't start until after Halloween. Well ... no more. The toy marketing begins in freaking September. It has come to the point where I can no longer even listen to the radio, saturated with schmaltz as it is. Any TV , even PBS, becomes out of the question halfway into fall.

As for just going about your business in public, it becomes every more cloying each year . From idiots who put up Christmas decorations in November and fruitcake in the Safeway along with the Halloween Candy, the whole is just an utter orgy of blind tastelessness.

ENOUGH already. Give it a frikken rest.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:45 PM on November 24, 2004


Meanwhile, in the Capitalist Conspiracy Centre For Juicing Culture In The Name Of Revenue:

WHITE HETEROSEXUAL MALE IN SUIT 1: "Dear god, they're boycotting Christmas!"

WHITE HETEROSEXUAL MALE IN SUIT 2: "Never mind. We've still got Valentine's Day, Easter Weekend and Love Day!"

WHITE HETEROSEXUAL MALE IN SUIT 3: "Why don't we just invent a religion based on gift-giving? With, like, forty compulsory-observance holidays?"

All: "Mwahahahahaaa!!!"

FADE TO BLACK
posted by kamus at 5:51 PM on November 24, 2004


I've been boycotting Christmas for years. This is not to say that I don't give gifts to my friends and family. I do, and I love to do it, and I even love having the excuse to do it, but I usually wait until January to actually distribute the presents. It's the holiday itself I hate, even more than the accompanying stress and consumerism. I hate the decorations and the music. I hate all the tiny little lights. And for the record, yes, I hate Hanukkah, Eid and Kwaanza as well. I believe that this time of year is cold and dark for a reason, and that going overboard with bulbs and candles trying to fend it off is a madness and a violation of the natural order. This is a time of year for introspection and solitude, not rejoicing.

Feel free to do whatever you want, of course. Just don't act all appalled when I stay far, far away.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:53 PM on November 24, 2004


konolia, set a new holiday tradition--no purchased gifts, or something (you're the boss--take control, no?). It's not like anyone mandates that it be all commercial.

I see you've never met my mother. :-)
posted by konolia at 6:01 PM on November 24, 2004


My people!

Down With Christmas!

Yay!
posted by briank at 6:01 PM on November 24, 2004


Come on, People. Buy more stuff. Even They Know It's Christmas.
posted by geoscott at 6:03 PM on November 24, 2004


I'm also sure you know better than to assert that there's any such thing as "American culture,"

Think again on that. Debate on what "American Culture" constitutes and encompasses is endless and for better minds than mine, but there is definitely shared culture that binds Americans, like any other nation, together, whether we choose to participate in them or not. One could even argue that renouncing particpation in that culture (which I'd still assert one has every right to do) is de facto acknowledgement that said culture exists.

And the generic "Holiday Season" whether it Christmas, Chanukah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa or even athiests buying gifts for people is, for better or worse, a part of that culture.

that whatever rituals might constitute any such thing are in need of defense,

I don't argue that it needs defense or that anyone's trying to wipe it out or suppress it. It's more of a "why rain on people's parade?" sort of thing, if that makes any sense. I'm not particularly religious, but I enjoy seeing the family and buying presents for my freinds around the holidays. I liked going to visit santa at the mall when I was a kid. I imagine other people and families have their holiday rituals that help bind them as well.

The whole thing just smacks more of petulance than liberation to me, but YMMV.


or that commercialization has anything to do with those rituals that do bind a people together.

Well, I doubt you'd argue that America isn't a capitalistic culture, so in that sense crass commercialization could bind a society together. I'm just saying.

Actually like eyeballkid and a few others, I spent all of my twenties working in chain retail. I know more about crass comercialization and the holidays bringing out the asshole in people than you could imagine. But, I still don't think we should throw the baby out with the bathwater.
posted by jonmc at 6:05 PM on November 24, 2004


Imagine the gifts we're giving to the planet and our great great grandchildren by reducing this vestigial madness. The earth can't take much more. Good post adamgreenfield.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:06 PM on November 24, 2004


This website is also known as www.thegrinch.com as it is trying to ruin Christmas for everyone.
posted by cpchester at 6:15 PM on November 24, 2004


Io Saturnalia!

adamgreenfield, I don't know where you live, but where I live they're certainly trying to commercialize Hanukkah as much as possible.

And let us not forget this particular abortion, which makes Christmas with the Kranks look like Citizen Kane and La Grande Illusion rolled into one.

On the one hand, I sometimes say that the reason I married a Jewish man is to escape the mandatory Xmas nonsense. On the other hand, I like the tree, the lights, and the general commitment (though sometimes more honored in the breach than the observance) to be pleasant to strangers.

I hate all the supercommercialized Xmas crap. But I do enjoy my church's actual Christmas service, and I like having a tree, and I like the candles, and I like cooking rich food for my family and friends.

See, most Northern Hemisphere cultures have a winter-solstice-related holiday tradition that involves lights, rich food, and gatherings of family and friends. It could be Christmas or Hanukkah or Yule or Saturnalia, but there are some powerful traditions around kindling lights in the dead of winter, feasting on rich food in a time of scarcity, and making the effort to get out of the house and get together with family and friends. I like all of those things.

The way I avoid the other stuff is by not going into any commercial establishments between Thanksgiving and New Year's unless it's absolutely necessary. I generally ignore TV commercials, etc., although I do like those Virgin Mobile ones about "ChristmaHanuKwanzaaKahMas".
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:15 PM on November 24, 2004


I also wanted to mention that the "buy lots of stuff you don't need" business is EXACTLY as orthogonal to Christianity, per se, as it is to Judaism.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:18 PM on November 24, 2004


Bring on Festivus!
posted by blender at 6:33 PM on November 24, 2004


Anyone know where I can buy a "Boycott Christmass" greeting card?
posted by aliendolphin at 6:37 PM on November 24, 2004


These guys are too late. John Grisham already wrote a book about this, and Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis are going to be spreading the message even further.

When John Grisham and Tim Allen are making blockbusters about skipping Christmas, you know that the anti-commercialization of Christmas has become commercialized.
posted by painquale at 7:12 PM on November 24, 2004


I've been more and more tempted the last few years to give some money to some charities in some folks' names rather than give them presents. It's still fun to give someone that just perfect for them present, but I'm just so damn tired of someone trying to sell me something everywhere I look.
posted by marxchivist at 7:13 PM on November 24, 2004


Is it that time of the year already? I still haven't even started shopping! Will the stores will be open on Friday?

*panics*
posted by loquacious at 7:42 PM on November 24, 2004


EBKRISTMAS
He's an angry elf!
posted by filmgoerjuan at 8:08 PM on November 24, 2004


That better not be a SantaCon pic. He's got no fur-trimmed coat or belly-like-a-bowl-full-of-jelly going on, and the beard is suspiciouslly not-white.

I'm making my presents this year. 'cause I'm poor and a cheap bastard and stuff. Plus, it's a lot more fun. Lessee, have fun making art for presents *or* do battle at various stores selling imported, slave-labor tainted piles of crap and throw away the last shreds of my sanity? Tough choice.
posted by loquacious at 8:19 PM on November 24, 2004


The christmas haters... the Christmas lovers...tells you something about where people are in their lives at this point in time...Christmas is what you want it to be. Christmas can be viewed as something pleasant too...why would you filter it through criteria that brings you to misery and suffering when you could filter it through criteria that bring you peace of mind and joy?
posted by Muirwylde at 8:21 PM on November 24, 2004


And yeah, any time I see someone in a red and white fun fur being offensive or beligerant, my first thought has to be of the SantaCons. There's just nothing quite like watching a whole few busloads of Mr. and Ms. Santa Clauses disembarking and going into some store en masse to buy and consume hard liqour by the case. Fabulous.
posted by loquacious at 8:23 PM on November 24, 2004


These guys are too late. John Grisham already wrote a book about this, and Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis are going to be spreading the message even further.

I think this guy beat them both when he wrote this book.
posted by marxchivist at 8:27 PM on November 24, 2004


...there are some powerful traditions around kindling lights in the dead of winter, feasting on rich food in a time of scarcity, and making the effort to get out of the house and get together with family and friends. I like all of those things.

Word is bond, Sidhedevil; I'm down with all that. I just prefer to have these things in an environment that is relatively free of anxiety, self-criticism, competition and passive aggression that a commercialistic approach to Christmas encourages.

At my family's house, this wasn't so much a matter of who spent how much on whom, as it was a matter of who was going to break character first and betray to ourselves that we aren't the Waltons, that we're something less than the icon of a Loving Christian Family, and ruin--RUIN--Christmas for everyone. That kind of pressure to be happy and loving tended to change our otherwise rather happy and loving family into a gang of binge-drinking, glare-darting, bathroom-sobbing wrecks.

Was my family the only one?

jonmc, I agree with many of your points, and the general tone of your positions. Can you understand how some people view the commercial and capitalist aspects of Christmas as being so poisonous as to make the otherwise hearty soup of the holiday an unhealthy meal?

(Sidhedevil's post made me hungry!)
posted by squirrel at 8:37 PM on November 24, 2004


We do a lot of the "give to charity"/"make presents" thing in my family, which might be one of the reasons the Xmas commercialism doesn't bug me to death.

And, frankly, much as I love the Grinch, I think that this song says it all. Mr. Sidhedevil hasn't sung it at me yet this year, but any second now...
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:39 PM on November 24, 2004


...Christmas is what you want it to be.

Muirwylde, what part of "hegemony" do you not understand?
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:45 PM on November 24, 2004


this is the best place for being jumped on and totally misconstrued. eyeballkid, i'm not talking about capitalist conspiracies to separate me from my cash. i'm not complaining about christmas and gift-giving. i'm saying that what people are really jaded about is the commercialization of it all and how the spirit of gift-giving, which seems to have remained intact for you as for many others (myself included, i'd like to believe), can get turned into something vulgar and perfunctory and just plain meaningless with resentment attached. your profanities are misdirected. so take'em back, bitch!
posted by yedgar at 8:46 PM on November 24, 2004


The SO and I don't give each other gifts at Christmas. We save the special treatment for each other's birthdays, because those days mean more to us. No cards, either, and gifts are limited to immediate family. Basically, we do what we can to operate within the narrow confines of familial pressures and hope to eventually wean ourselves off the holiday forever.

I think my family worries that if we gave up Christmas totally, I would never visit but I would must rather spend time with the family when there aren't a million presents to wrap (I have to postpone my holiday arrival until the last minute to avoid getting press ganged into wrapping gifts--even my own (if I don't, and entreat my mother to save the paper and the time and just sit and drink with me instead, I am ruining Christmas, you see)) or cookies to bake or things to clean or last minute presents to buy or relatives who don't even know who I am to visit... Gah. Any fun the holidays could offer (I love Christmas music. And the animated display windows at Marshall Field's. And parades. And TV specials. And lights. And holly and wreaths and trees) is destroyed by all the stress, high expectations, and pointless wastefulness of it.
posted by jennyb at 8:50 PM on November 24, 2004


this year i bought my family gifts back in october. i didn't wrap them and gave them as soon as they arrived (yeah, sometimes i do the mail-order thing). i said, "here are your christmas gifts." i want to show that i cherish them but without all the hullaballoo. christmas still is a special time for me. i like the tunes, the feast, the snow and the "buzz" that's in the air. it can be very tiring, but i believe that people still get "into the spirit" of it all. and there will always be the scrooges, the detractors. as dickens timelessly illustrated, that's part of christmas, too. (yeah, i know, eyeballkid - utter bullshit). JOYEUX NOEL!
posted by yedgar at 9:03 PM on November 24, 2004


Metafilter: your profanities are misdirected. so take'em back, bitch!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:06 PM on November 24, 2004


i remember being all anti-xmas in my early twenties. one xmas i decided to get my 5yr old nephew an ant farm intstead of the usual holiday gift sponsored by the corporate hogs of the world. needless to say, my nephew wasn't too impressed. oh, he acted like he loved it but i discovered that he never played with it, not once.

at first i defended my position, thinking of how corrupted he had become from the greedy capitalist whoremongers. then, after thinking about it, i realized that instead of trying to cram my belief system down his throat, maybe for once i should have thought about him: what kind of person he was, what kind of things he was interested in. he loved that bile known then as 'teenage mutant ninja turtles' and i'm sure he would have loved it if i got him something along those lines. instead, he had an ant farm. the ants died, chaos ensued and osama bin laden attacked the WTC.

next time i'm getting him bags of granola or jars of apple butter.
posted by poopy at 9:32 PM on November 24, 2004


Jesus Shops For Sandals
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:44 PM on November 24, 2004


can't... we... please.... just... have... ONE SINGLE CHRISTMAS.. without... this ... family ... fighting.... ? (sob)


But hey -- here's the deal. You gotta ask for big stuff and buy little stuff. It isn't the giving and the getting that's important, it's the getting more than you give, cause you really gotta come out in the black or what is the point?

---------
OK, seriously, I'm all in favor of a modest christmas. And I didn't practice it before I had a kid. One nice gift for the kid,
and some smalls tuff. Handmade stuff. A small amount of decorations, put up quickly and taken down quickly. And we only do it to honor the grandma, who loved Christmas. No mass, no Jesus, it's a pagan winter festival worshiping the great bearded sleigh god.
posted by Slagman at 10:31 PM on November 24, 2004


Ugh, Nina paley is such a dreary, kill-joy scold. In addition to Xmas, she also is against little kids, people having them, "pro-natalist propaganda" and poetry that isn't cringe-inducing.

While there may be some merit to the causes she champions (I refuse to budge on the poetry though, *gaahk*), I sure as hell wouldn't want to be cornered by her at a party. I'd have to bust out a teeny tiny pair of socks or a onesie or something, causing her to recoil , hissing.
posted by Scoo at 10:52 PM on November 24, 2004


"Here you go, grandma! It's your Christmas present!"

"Oh dear, isn't that lovely wrapping. Let me just get this bow... there. Ah, now to snip here... and here... But my dear, why's this box empty?"

"It's not empty grandma! It conatins a whole year's supply of my self-righteousness!"

-----

I'm listening to Christmas music right now. I absolutely adore Christmas. And this year, we're also having a baby foir Christmas! So suck on it, Nina Paley. Suck on it like a three-month old on a piping hot tit.
posted by rusty at 11:42 PM on November 24, 2004


Some friends of mine have made a tradition out of meeting and eating a hugh meal together. They don't buy presents, instead, they buy each other dinner.

If you ask me, that sounds perfect! You are able to show that you care, and instead of just dropping by to give the present, you spend an entire evening with them, enjoying the present;)
posted by Groomz at 12:01 AM on November 25, 2004


AWESOME! I'm soooo linking this.
posted by Sadie Mirth at 2:29 AM on November 25, 2004


Won't somebody *pleeeeease* think of the Children?

Which means, yeah right, boycot Christmas as long as you don't have any.
posted by sour cream at 4:17 AM on November 25, 2004


Jerub, could you knit me a digital slr please?
posted by Raindog at 4:57 AM on November 25, 2004


Rusty wins.

(For shame! Adding to overpopulation AND celebrating a sham consumer holiday with your "loved ones." Hang your head low, my man!)
posted by ColdChef at 5:13 AM on November 25, 2004


Go Rusty! You get the Laffs prize for this thread. The Missus has a bun in the oven right now; the poor example you're setting almost has me sending Paley a birth announcement.
posted by Scoo at 5:37 AM on November 25, 2004


There used to be an unspoken rule that XMAS marketing didn't start until after Halloween. Well ... no more. The toy marketing begins in freaking September. It has come to the point where I can no longer even listen to the radio, saturated with schmaltz as it is...

Christ on a crutchin a manger, am I getting that old already? I remember when the unspoken rule was after Thanksgiving.

Seeing holiday advertising here in Italy beginning to follow the same bloody trend, I somewhat sympathise with those of you who can't handle the Xmas cheese oozing from your preferred media outlets as early as September BUT...

...there's this small, leotard clad, we-used-to-start-4plus-hour-a-day-Nutcracker-rehearsals-end-of-August part of my soul that cackles in hideous derision at you puny weaklings.My apologies. She was driven bat shit insane by psychotically tinny Musak renditions of the 'Sugar Plum Fairy' piped into the malls every year.
posted by romakimmy at 6:00 AM on November 25, 2004


There used to be an unspoken rule that XMAS marketing didn't start until after Halloween.

I remember when it was thanksgiving!

I think there is a culture-wide acknowledgment of this issue, though... people are always trying to fight back to "the spirit of christmas", through all the materialistic superficial nonsense. It's pretty hard to believe that most families would come together the way the - what were they called? The non-grinches whose christmas was materially stolen? - anyway, they got over it and enjoyed each other's company; I wonder if we'd do the same. I do remember christmas as a special day, though - even just sitting around playing board games and talking to family and eating and drinking - not that those are things that don't happen other times of year, but the day is culturally imbued with meaning.

However, I fully support "no shopping day", and encourage smaller, more personal gifts over spending cash. My ex-girlfriend used to give me hundreds of dollars worth of presents at christmas and it often felt like she was just throwing stuff at me to see what would stick, as opposed to really giving it thought and finding something special. Our first xmas together was very disparate. My sis and I used to get a bit competitive, I think, to each be the 'better' present-giver. I think we got over that, though. Anyway, these days I'm too broke to care about it. Socks for everyone!

I do sort of like a culture-wide holiday season, though, as I expressed in the atheist-santa thread.

Konolia, sorry to hear christmas is stressful for you, especially when it's a time of such personal religious significance. Hope this year's better!
posted by mdn at 8:15 AM on November 25, 2004


what were they called? The non-grinches whose christmas was materially stolen?

The Whos of Whoville, mdn. Ironically, I despise Christmas so much that I practically have "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "A Christmas Carol" memorized.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:39 AM on November 25, 2004


'tis the season, fa la la la la and all that crap.
posted by livingsanctuary at 8:52 AM on November 25, 2004


My family and I have decided to forgo Christmas presents two years running and it's great! We've decided that spending time together (which doesn't happen that often) and having good food is more important than spending money on things we don't need. Of course, we'll load up on presents for my 4 year old nephew and watch the animated Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer on tv with him.
posted by KathyK at 9:34 AM on November 25, 2004


Man, I am the most antisocial person I know, and I love Christmas. Also, though, my birthday is five days before, and I am always really hurt by people who withdraw during Christmas and thereby make my birthday suck too. December 20-25 is the festival of dame. I want my presents and I want them wrapped. I don't care how much they cost. I don't care what they are. I love the anticipation. I love the surprise. I love the cookies. I love the cheesy movies (Jimmy Stewart and Mr. Capra, I'm looking at you).

Besides, I'm poor and this is the time of the year all the richer people in my life redistribute the wealth. Maybe you can afford everything you want, but I need some sheets and sweaters.

Maybe it helps that I come from a tiny family and Christmas is usually me, my boy, my mom, and sometimes my grandma. I do notice a lot of the people bitter about Christmas seem to be driven crazy by their families. Since I'm the one that really enjoys it, I'm in charge, so it is mostly cookies, movies, wine, and laying around.
posted by dame at 9:41 AM on November 25, 2004


I've been going through boxes of Christmas lights today. I can not remember where half of them go, my memory is shit. I need to label them all this year. I would rather have been eating turkey today and worrying about lights and digging out other decorations and stuff tomorrow, but no such luck. The family goes to some buffet place instead of cooking turkey and dressing and eating at home and expects me to go with them? Gah. They should be hanging out with you anti-holiday bastards. Probably 3/4 of what I make in November and December goes into buying Christmas gifts, paper, decorations, music, and gas for just driving around looking at Christmas lights.

I love going to the big mall here around Christmas time. Holiday music playing in the stores, lights and garland everywhere, tons of people to watch, it is all good.

*goes back to looking for the box of outdoor extension cords*
posted by bargle at 1:13 PM on November 25, 2004


This year I will replace my traditional holiday cards with:
Happy winter solstice, muthafuckaz!
posted by darukaru at 7:51 PM on November 25, 2004


Somehow this thread went terribly wrong. Where is the box of crushed kittens I was promised?
posted by squirrel at 8:58 AM on November 26, 2004


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