Last week, while I was waiting for Todd to get home so we could put up our tree, I watched something on the History Channel about the origins of Christmas. Every holiday gets one of these specials that goes through the different traditions associated with the holiday and explains when and why those traditions were started. I always like these specials, but it seems like I never get to watch the whole thing. For example, I saw the same 10 minutes of the Halloween special three different times, but never the other 40 minutes. I really feel like I would’ve enjoyed the holiday a lot more this year if I’d understood why those brats were ringing my door bell asking for handouts.
Anyway, the Christmas special started out a little weak (and wasn’t helped at all by the non-Edward Herman narration), but it improved as it went along. For instance, did you know the first string of Christmas lights was like 6 inches long and cost the equivalent of $60?* I really need to take it easier on the kids at Ace selling me 100 lights for $5.
Most of the special was spent discussing why Christmas is celebrated at all. And, surprise, it’s all made up! The madeup-ness of it all actually wasn’t a surprise as I’d heard most of the information about the pagans and Romans before, but hearing it all together was a total bummer, and led me to tell Todd that I’m not really in the holiday spirit yet because it seems so manufactured. And not the “corporate America just uses Christmas to bilk us out of our hard-earned money” type of manufactured, but the, “the Catholic church totally stole this Roman holiday** and put Jesus’ name on it” type of manufactured.
I know every holiday is manmade, and I’m totally going to get over this and enjoy the presents and sugar cookies. I also know that any holiday that encourages people to be generous and take care of each other is a good thing. But it’s just frustrating to me that people make a big deal over our collective forgetting of the reason for the season, when the reason isn’t really what those people think it is. Basically, I just wish that Christians would get over the “Christ-in-Christmas” stuff because it wasn’t God who put Him there, and atheists would get over the “Merry Christmas” stuff and just lighten up, and the Jews…actually, the Jews don’t do anything to annoy me. Maybe we should just celebrate our winter holidays the way Jews celebrate Hanukkah, by having 8 days of presents but not making a big deal of it and forcing everyone else to recognize our right to do it.
Please point out to me the ways in which I’ve been offensive or just plain wrong. Seriously. That’s not sarcasm. Feel free to correct me.
Also, please know that Todd turned down the opportunity to read this before I posted it, so he’s partly to blame.
*That might not be entirely accurate. But the first lights were a total rip off.
**Not Audrey Hepburn’s Roman Holiday, but the Roman holiday Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (Day of the birth of the Unconquered Sun). I’d be even more upset if they’d hijacked Hepburn’s Holiday.