Monday, 5 December 2011

From a commercial point of view, if Christmas did not exist it would be necessary to invent it. ~Katharine Whitehorn

I am feeling particularly grinch-like right about now.

The proliferation of Christian imagery that is to be seen in society at this time bothers people who dont relate to it and I am disappointed that anything related to my faith bothers anyone else. I feel the same about that as I do about the stolen generations; that is that I have no personal responsibility for the issue but as part of the group which caused the offence I wish things were different.

I also have an enormous problem with the K mart wishing tree. People buy things (probably from K mart) and put them under the tree for an under privileged child and their motives are honorable but K mart or whichever retailer the gift is purchased from are raking in the profit from the good intentions of the populace, a populace who are already handing their hard earned to the retailers at an alarming rate. The gifts are not targeted, who knows whether there are more Barbie dolls given than girls to play with them (and yes, boys can play with Barbie if they wish but realistically most people wouldn't give Barbie to a boy) there may be too many gifts for 5 year olds and nowhere near enough for ten year olds. It's just a logistical nightmare which encourages waste.

Then there are the gift catalogues where you buy a goat in a developing nation and give a postcard featuring the goat to your intended gift recipient. Dont bother doing that for me, please! If you want to give me something for my own pleasure I will be very grateful to receive it and if you would rather give someone a goat by all means give them a goat but please dont give me the picture of the goat and pretend it's a gift for me because it's not. If you want to make a stand against the commercialism of the season I will support you all the way but giving pictures of goats (or chickens, toilets, taps or sewing machines) is the cowards way.

As a Christian it is a struggle to find a meaningful spiritual message for the season because it is so easy to get caught in the rush of parties and carolling and gift buying and turkey and ham and decorations......

So I am left with the question of how best to remember and celebrate the birth of history's greatest lover?

Reluctantly I have to say the first step would have to be giving up on the grinch.


  1. Sadness. I am not a Christian, though I try very hard to be tolerant and non-judgemental. I do (hypocritically?) celebrate at his time of year because it is a wonderful way of expressing love. As a family, we have reached the stage where we have all that we need (more than we need). So instead of buying each other gifts we each choose a charity and donate the money we would have spent on gifts to the people who need things much more than we do. Which works for me. And in a totally grinch like aside, it saves on wrapping paper. Sorry for a very long comment.

  2. hi EC,
    Christmas in it's purest form is all about expressing love so i dont see you as hypocritical. I would see you as hypocritical if you were totally against the idea but wanted the party. Its a small difference i know, but significant to me.
    No need to apologise for long comments, i like people to get involved even though my lack of response of late gives the lie to that!

  3. Want to not mix your religion with a holiday (which is really not Christian in origin at all) then simply stop all consumerism associated with it and bring the Spirit of the Christ to the table. b4ring family and stranger together break bread and be grateful you have it to share.

    There is only need on the part of the corporations which want to own you to make this ANOTHER commercial holiday. Why feed their greed?

  4. Wish I had some sage advice on this Kylie but, like you, I have been confounded for years in my attempts to remove money from Christmas, by my own family. Now that I'm old and crotchety, I simply don't participate. Well, not nearly as much as in the past.

    I have decided that warmth and love are pretty much obliterated by crass commercialism at Christmas but have profound meaning the rest of the year.

  5. you are going to celebrate me , the world's greatest lover

  6. My ideal Christmas would just be meeting up with family and old friends and showing our love and affection for each other over a few mince pies and glasses of wine. All the rest can be binned, including the whole juggernaut of commercial consumption which just means frazzled shoppers buying unsuitable presents for people they don't even like very much.

  7. I think this is another case of putting people into boxes. This happens on a daily basis with regards to many issues ( gay vs straight, working vs unemployed, married vs single, kids vs no kids...) however at this time of year we have religion as the key topic . The meaning of Christmas is vastly different to everyone in the world and people should not be quick to judge based on their particular religion or lack of it .. How about one common thread : Human race!!
    I think it is wonderful if you are deeply religious and embrace this time of year and I also think that if you want to just get together with your chosen few and share a lovely meal then that is fine too !!

  8. Hi Kylie!

    I am sending anti-grinch serum your way. It's so easy to do. Ready? Here it comes!

    : D

    Just a smile ... or is it?

    I have been slinging a new idea around our house: Be the Gift.

    What's easier than smiling at someone and catching one in return? It's free, you don't have to wrap it, it's easy to recycle, you have one on hand instantly, and best of all -- endorphins for both sender and receiver. Best-Best of all: it crosses all lines of communication, faith, gender, politics, etc.

    Hope you can chase the grinch away and enJOY this wonderful season. (I can picture you smiling. There's hope!)

    XO ~~ Debbie

  9. Not religious either and apart from the sparkly lights (despite their environmental impact) we keep Christmas very low key. I have bough things for the kmart wishing tree but was a little jaded to find "45 year old man" surely someone of that age can forego a Christmas present? We're not buying pressies this year, just a $20 token via a Kris Kringle and a family barbecue. Finally, I've rejected commercialism in favour of sense.

  10. I am very much encouraged by the opinions expressed in this set of comments.

    As a brass player performing carols over approx 6 decades when it comes to being a listner I have had enough of hearing "carols" that are just songs that are sung at Christmas time. Especially "Westfield carols!" They are not carols just songs that are not Christian content.

  11. Where's my picture of a goat? Nobody never got me no picture of a goat--they never even got me a goat, come to think of it. Of course, I don't hold this against goats, but I do wish I had gotten a picture.

    As for the point of your post, yeah, the commercialism is disgusting. I just try to stand to one side and wait for it to go by. An 87 year old friend told me that she hates holidays. "Do you have any idea how many holidays I've lived through?" she asked. And I also agree with you about giving to a charity in someone else's name, and then calling it their gift. I like Child's idea though.

  12. Hey, I just got the picture of my goat in the mail, Kylie. What a fabulous present! I shall treasure this photo for ever. Not.

  13. A wonderful post Kylie. We have strayed so far from the real meaning of Christmas (as a Christian) that soon the stores will have Christmas in July. And people will go!

    I am blessed in having more than most and find my own joy in the spirit of truly giving. A gift or two under the tree is certainly nice, but by carefully choosing and carefully wrapping gifts for that feels good.

    Wishing you and yours a blessed CHRIST-mas. Thank you for a wonderful post.


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