Christmas is the only holiday that has an impact on everyone, regardless of race, creed, sex, religion, political affiliation, or dietary predisposition. You might see this as an imbecilic statement, thinking, erroneously, that it is a Christian holiday and only affects adherents to this most Americanized of religions. But you my friend would be wrong.
To not be impacted by this holiday, you would need to hide in a hole from November to January with no access to television, radio, the internet, mail, transportation, weather forecasts, stores, houses, and people. A Ted Kosinski-esque life would need to be your new religion in order to avoid all of the folderol associated with this holiday. And the movies man, the movies! Every possible character, both real and imagined, have had their Christmas tales shoved into our faces. Grinches, elves, good Santa, bad Santa, Scrooge, Rudolph, Frosty, and Ralphie have all had and continue to have their day in court.
And don’t get me started on the house and village square decorations. My neighbors spend endless hours running strands of lights from the peak of the house to the basement windows. Each year they try to outdo each other in hopes of showing up on the nightly news or receiving a citation for causing the biggest drain on the electric grid. Then there are the giant blowup Frosties and Santas that show up on the lawn, only to appear days later as ill defined blobs of crinkled up plastic as they slowly deflate.
Nature itself is not immune to the season. The harvesting of real trees and the use of artificial trees both have a measurable impact on the environment. Thirty million Christmas trees are sold in the US each year and 350 million are currently growing, awaiting their inevitable fate of sacrifice to the great solstice god. A quick Google search reveals that about 2 percent of all trees planted in the US per year are harvested and consumed for this one holiday. And why the hell do we take a perfectly good tree from the outdoors and put it in our house for a few days, only to later toss it into a great Viking Funeral at the city dump? What has a tree got to do with a baby being born in a manger 2000 years ago anyways?
Why? Why oh why oh why is this the only holiday that has such an impact on humanity? Some would say it is the love for one another or the reverence for the birth of the savior of the world. I beg to differ. Let’s just put it on the table now. It is unbridled avarice. The insatiable greed for riches, the inordinate, miserly desire to gain and hoard wealth. I am not talking about you and I specifically, although that is certainly where it starts. It is greed from the top of the food chain all the way to the bottom. From the companies and individuals that want more money and profit to the little kid that tears open every gift under the tree in less than 93 seconds, we are all guilty.
Perhaps I am being a little too Grinchy here. Maybe this is just the way the world needs to work in order for us all to be gainfully employed and to live our lives. Maybe Christmas is really the heart that beats and drives our survival in a capitalist world. I looked up the economic statistics around Christmas. It turns out that 19.2 percent of all retail sales can be directly attributed to Christmas and without it, we would all be 19.2 percent poorer and probably a hell of a lot less happier. Christmas, I suppose, is just a necessary evil that we must all endure in order to survive.
I hope this little missive has brightened your day.
Merry friggin’ Christmas to all.