Xmas reminds us of what life used to be like prior to the modern era. In the old days it was “Xmas” everyday in one way or another, when people’s lives were ruled by rituals and festivals, and our relatives had to be endured on a constant basis not just once a year. Social pressure was even greater then than now. There was no space for the individual. What you did and how you thought was totally prescribed.
By Xmas I mean the in-your-face stuff that fills the public space, physical and electronic. What Christians (or quasi Christians) do in the privacy of their own dining room or in church of course is their business. We will call that Christmas.
Oliver Cromwell and the Pilgrim Fathers banned Xmas. We can’t do that, but it would be helpful if some Christians were to denounce the whole thing as a pagan travesty, which it is, of course. George Washington had the right spirit when he crossed the Delaware River and launched a surprise attack on Hessian mercenaries while they were singing Stille Nacht (or doing something equally Xmasy) on December 25 1776.
Xmas is not going to go away in a hurry but it would be good to escalate the level of resistance. Here are a few suggestions. OK I know they are lame.
Maybe we could provide silly alternatives. We could celebrate or commemorate something else that happened on December 25. There was:
• the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066;
• the death of W. C. Fields in 1946;
• the execution of ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena in 1989; and
• the resignation of Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev in 1991
Or we could celebrate someone’s birthday, someone who really was born on 25 December. I have noticed a bit of support in cyberspace for celebrating Isaac Newton’s birthday. Gays may instead prefer a Quentin Crisp Day.
We could have a little badge to wear that is universally recognized as indicating one’s lack of Xmas spirit. And we could carry something around that makes a silly noise every time someone wishes you a Merry Xmas (or your local equivalent). There would be an international competition to design both. And there could be a smart phone App version of the noise.
If you have any suggestions for how to escape or reduce the pain of Xmas add them to the comments. Or maybe you want to say something nice about Xmas.