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Monday, November 28, 2011

The War On Christmas: Battle Of The Bulging Stocking

Focusing on what matters:

The American Family Association and the Liberty Counsel—Christian groups that maintain lists of “naughty” and “nice” retailers based on which stores reference Christmas—applauded Walgreens’ switch, along with several other big stores who are coming off the naughty list for the first time in years.

“During the month of December, there will be greater use of ‘Christmas’ in our store and online,” a Walgreens spokeswoman told the Liberty Counsel, a day after switching wording on their website.

Just last year:

To a growing group of Christians, the focus on the commercial aspect of Christmas is the greatest threat to one of Christianity's holiest days. "It's the shopping, the going into debt, the worrying that 'If I don't spend enough money, someone will think I don't love them,' " says Portland, Ore., pastor Rick McKinley. "Christians get all bent out of shape over the fact that someone didn't say 'Merry Christmas' when I walked into the store. But why are we expecting the store to tell our story? That's just ridiculous."

McKinley is one of the leaders of an effort to do away with the frenzied activity and extravagant gift-giving of a commercial Christmas. Through a savvy viral video and marketing effort, the so-called Advent Conspiracy movement has exploded. Hundreds of churches on four continents and in at least 17 countries have signed up to participate. The Advent Conspiracy video has been viewed more than a million times on YouTube, and the movement boasts nearly 45,000 fans on Facebook. Baseball superstar Albert Pujols is a supporter — he spoke at a church event in St. Louis, Mo., to endorse the effort.

Well, we had our first seasonal viewing of Miracle on 34th Street this evening.  This part seems pertinent:

I haven't found evidence that the FBI thought Miracle was communist, but I guess it had plenty of enlightened capitalist arguments (e.g., help the customer find what they want elsewhere and you get more business, find Santa insane and business goes kaput) to balance things out.

As I observed before, Christmas has always been commercialized, except when it wasn't.  

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965):

Lucy: look, let’s face it. We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It’s run by a big eastern syndicate, ya know.

Charlie: Well, this is one play that’s not going to be commercial. What our play needs is the proper Christmas mood. We need a Christmas tree.

Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1820):

One of the least pleasing effects of modern refinement is the havoc it has made among the hearty old holiday customs. It has completely taken off the sharp touchings and spirited reliefs of these embellishments of life, and has worn down society into a more smooth and polished, but certainly a less characteristic, surface. Many of the games and ceremonials of Christmas have entirely disappeared, and, like the sherris sack of old Falstaff, are become matters of speculation and dispute among commentators....

The world has become more worldly. There is more of dissipation, and less of enjoyment. Pleasure has expanded into a broader, but a shallower stream, and has forsaken many of those deep and quiet channels where it flowed sweetly through the calm bosom of domestic life. Society has acquired a more enlightened and elegant tone, but it has lost many of its strong local peculiarities, its homebred feelings, its honest fireside delights.

And don't forget the Pilgrims (1620):

Not until Saturday, December 23, were they able to transport a work party from the Mayflower to shore. With their axes and saws they felled trees and carried the timber to the building site. The fact that Monday, December 25, was Christmas Day meant little to the Pilgrims, who believed that religious celebrations of this sort were a profanation ofthe true word of Christ. Of more importance to them, December 25 was the day they erected the frame of their first house. “[N]o man rested that day," Bradford wrote.

Not quite sure which nostaligiac vision were supposed to save from heathens.

ntodd

November 28, 2011 | Permalink

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