December 18, 2012

Shut Up, Charlie Brown

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Idiot Box,Think About It!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 9:02 pm

I’ve never understood the complaint about Christmas being “too commercial”. Charlie Brown bitches about it when Snoopy puts up Christmas lights on his dog house to win a cash prize in a contest and when Sally wants tens and twenties from Santa Claus.

What the fuck does that even mean? Too commercial? Is that basically the dumbass complaint about materialism?

Well, it did finally occur to me what this common complaint is about. The whole “you should buy this because Christmas” stuff. The implicit negligence of what the holiday is really about (a loaded question itself, but I digress) and exploiting its importance for profit.

So I’m understanding some more why I wasn’t seeing what this “commercialism” of Christmas means. Everything from decorations to cookies to bad reindeer sweaters involves buying something. Even the things that are homemade still require the purchase of materials and ingredients, so someone is still profiting. Not to mention the air fares and toll roads for those traveling. One way or another, Christmas is hellbent on parting you from your cash. Because commercialism. Because consumerism. Because avarice and greed.

Oh noes, Christmas is so corrupted!

Just one thing about that…

If it weren’t for Christmas being so economically beneficial, we probably wouldn’t be celebrating it.

We’ve only been celebrating Christmas as it is for a century and a half. I mean, obviously, Jesus and Mithra and countless winter solstice observances are significantly older, yes, but Christmas was never the big deal it is now until mid to late 19th century. As in around the time Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was written. As in around the time “Visit from Saint Nicholas” was written. As in… around the time Thanksgiving was invented.

Yeah. That’s what Thanksgiving is about, too. It’s only been a holiday since around the late 19th century and the specific reason for it was to officially “open” the Christmas season. The pilgrim story was tacked on (which makes the complaints about Thanksgiving “celebrating genocide” just that much stupider). With the day before it being the busiest travel day and the day after it the biggest shopping day, yeah, it’s pretty cha-ching! Because the getting together with family and giving thanks is so important!

These things didn’t spring up overnight, of course. A number of shifts within our cultures led to the establishment of this more modern holiday season. Industrial revolution, mainly. That was also around the time the institution of childhood was seen as worthy of protection (something with a lot of youth rights effects, for sure!), and as such, there were more toys. And then toys for children at Christmas. Leading, of course, to toy and other industries benefiting from the Christmas gift giving, leading to stimulated economy.

Well, something like that. 😛

In any case, for something like Christmas to survive and be the big deal it is in our society, in our world in fact, there needs to be some tangible benefit in it. And that benefit is, of course, all the money that gets spent for Christmas reasons.

And the thing is, it’s not without benefits coming right back. Don’t just mean gifts. We get Christmas movies and Christmas songs that we love (for the most part). We get Christmas plays and parties. We get the exchange of Christmas stories. We get awesome decorations and twinkling lights. And, of course, cards and cookies! 😀

Irony shouldn’t be lost, though, that this commercialism of Christmas is even the reason we get Christmas TV specials like, say, Charlie Brown’s special where he bitches about commercialism!

1 Comment

  1. […] commercial!” Yet you’re making an awful lot of money saying exactly that in Christmas specials and […]

    Pingback by Sure, Why Not? » Holiday Whining — December 14, 2014 @ 11:40 pm

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