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davorg (18)

Yahoo! ID: daveorguk (Add User, Send Message)

Hacker, author, trainer

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Journal of davorg (18)

Saturday November 24, 2001
07:09 AM


[ #1353 ]

[Warning: Rant with no Perl content]

Just got back from a shopping trip where the main aim was to buy birthday presents for a couple of friends. This has been rendered almost impossible by the arrival of the so-called "festive season". Everywhere shops stocks of ordinary everyday things has been decimated as they replace it with overpriced tat decorated with holly and tinsel.

Why does it have to start so early? It gets earlier each year. I'm sure I remember times when I was younger and people didn't think about xmas until the middle of December. But now, the shops get the xmas stock in that little bit earlier each year in an attempt to get the advantage over their competitors. At this rate it won't be too many years until we see xmas stuff in the shops as soon as we get back from our summer holidays[1].

Thinking about it, why bother with xmas at all. Does anyone still enjoy it? All of it? Let's examine the reasons why people claim to like xmas.

  • Celebrating the birth of the little baby Jesus
    Well that's complete nonsense for a start. Of course in my opinion there's no reason on Earth to celebrate the date of an obscure Middle-Eastern prophet, but even it you do still believe in Giant Sky Pixies, there's no evidence that the date we currently use has any relationship with the actual date. The early xtians simply stole an existing pagan festival in order to make their new myths more acceptable.
  • It's nice to give an receive gifts
    Well of course it is, But you you really need to be told when to do it? And you you really need to do so much of it art this one time of the year? We seem to be caught in a spiral of spending with no way out. Why not buy people little presents throughout the year - whenever you think of them. Instead of this obscene feeding frenzy of present-giving over the last few days of the year.
  • It's good to spend time with your family
    Does anyone really believe this? If it was so nice to spend time with the family, then we'd do it more often. Getting three or four generations of a family together for three days once a year is bound to lead to friction. And it always does. Not to mention the chaos it causes on the roads and the railways. Why not visit your family more often, but for shorter lengths of time?

So it's pointless. A complete waste of time, effort and money,. All for a few days that no-one really enjoys. Sure, let the xtians have their day of baby-worship, but for the rest of us, do really need to get so involved in it all?

[1] Right opposite where I'm currently working, there's a shop called "The Christmas Shop" that already sells xmas stuff all year round. That really cheers me up each morning!

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  • They do have 'Christmas in July' sales in the states and these days the tinsel covered tat and musak comes out before Halloween. This year, the newsmedia are pushing holiday shopping like never before as if our economy depends on spending gobs of money on your loved ones.

    Try not to get too worked up over the holiday as the religion thing is a bit too pervasive to even hope that the human race will wise up to the biggest scam of all time. No big whoop. Take the opportunity to enjoy a paid holiday and maybe

  • The Physics of Christmas [] which is a really fun read that explores a little bit of the advent of the 'retail' christmas season.

    The Battle for Christmas [] is a entertaining read on how Christmas has been a burr on the ass of America, and probably every other culture, for centuries.

  • This year, the tinsel selling season started early. Here on this side of the pond, the christmas trees and decorations started going on sale after Labor Day (1st week in September).

    In the last few years, retailers have tended to break down the Halloween decorations pretty quickly on November 1st in order to start hanging Christmas decorations. Pretty soon, it'll start *during* the Summer holidays. :-S

    Besides, if all of the nativity scenes are getting annoying, there's always festivus [].

  • ...aren't that pretty, I admit, but the ones the rest of nature puts out are awfully nice where I am this time of year.

    I'm a sucker for first snow. :)


    You are what you think.
  • As for me, I do celebrate the birth of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Sure, that might not be his birthday. So? I don't find birthdays themselves to be meaningful anyway. I don't find New Year's or birthdays or any particular day to be meaningful in and of themselves; they are just reminders of important events. I can't get excited about particular days, but I can get excited about what those days represent.

    And yes, it is nice to spend time with family and friends ... depending on the family and fr
    • Amen. I was kind of shocked to see such a journal entry, but everyone has the right to post whatever they want.


  • I find it amusing to hear the complaint that stores are starting the Christmas ads earlier every year, with a time in November being quoted as an example.

    I can remember 30 years ago hearing the same complaint about carols being played on the muzak in October. But I was amused then because, 10 years earlier, my mother had been complaining about Chrismas decorations in a store in September.

    Christmas festivities have been starting "earlier" for at least 50 years. But, they still start with sporadic items
    • That phenomenon is not limited to Christmas decorations; everybody, no matter when they were born, seems to have a tendency to talk about how "they don't make 'em like they used to" or "kids nowadays".
      "...I keep hearing about how you've changed. I think, 'Weather changes...and we just keep making the same dumb mistakes.'"

      You are what you think.
    • Yeah, I didn't touch on that part of the topic (which was indeed the actual topic), but this is the *latest* I can recall "Christmas season" beginning.
      • September 11th probably had a big, chastening effect. Bit hard to concentrate on consumerism when you're mourning lost friends and watching a (?:pointless)? war on the telly.