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Author Topic: Christmas and Hegemony
Left Turn
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8662

posted 15 December 2005 04:39 AM      Profile for Left Turn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
[I apologise in advance to those babblers who are religious, I do not mean to offend anyone in any way].

It seems to me that Christmas, more than any other day of the year, promotes hegemony in our western society.

The focus of this thread is not the reigious aspects of Christmas, which do contribute to hegemony in their own way. Rather, it is the commercial aspects of Christmas that I wish to discuss.

In recent years I have become disgusted by the crass commercialization of Christmas. This year I have decided that I want nothing to do with Christams beyond Christmas dinner (I still love roast turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing.)

The Commercialization of Christmas is the worst example of hegemony in our modern society. People living on limited incomes will spend money buying Christmas gifts they can barely afford. On no other day are the vast majority of people in our society opening gifts that the givers can barely afford to buy. Christmas is the single biggest contributor to credit card debt.

Then there's the Christmas carols/songs, the Christmas lights, Christmas trees, Christmas decorations ect. In recent years I have come to see these as overly tacky. People who will not tolerate this level of tackiiness at other times of the year will galdaly tolerate, even desire, this level of tackiness during the Christmas season. I am doing my utomst to ignore it.

Our society cannot/will not provide for the neediest of its citizens; and yet we waste all this time and money on such utter frivolity. I will be glad when January comes. Unlike most people in this country, I would rather have an election than Christmas.

[ 15 December 2005: Message edited by: Left Turn ]


From: Burnaby, BC | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
Woodnymph
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3118

posted 16 December 2005 01:39 AM      Profile for Woodnymph     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hear hear! I love the idea of Christmas - family, giving to the needy, celebrating a religious tradition.

I HATE the consumerism that has stripped the holiday of everything that I love about it. I HATE being subjected to "Christmas" music everywhere I go, the fat man in the red suit that symbolises the greed of the season, the constant pressure to buy, buy, buy to show your love.

I've been living in a Muslim country for over two years now and I can say whole-heartedly that I don't miss North American Christmas. My mother and mother-in-law are horrified that we have chosen to not come home for Christmas but we don't regret it one bit. My husband and I are able to focus on what the holiday really means to us. We take the time to create a beautiful meal, share it with people we love and give gifts of appreciation to those we know who are less fortunate. We have never bought gifts for each other for Christmas.

I love the Muslim tradition that has them give money to the poor at the end of Ramadan. They don't buy gifts for each other, but instead give to those that need food and housing. I was raised to believe that Christmas should be the same. It shouldn't be about what you get, but what you give.

And personally, I don't see why a religious holiday has to have all the religion sucked out of it. I don't expect those that don't believe in it to celebrate it any more than I celebrate Yon Kipper (I know I have the spelling wrong, but hopefully you understand what I'm getting at).

I could go on, but I won't...


From: A little island on a big ocean | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
steffie
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3826

posted 16 December 2005 08:09 AM      Profile for steffie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thank you, LT and Woodnymph. I have been suffering with a growing anxiety surrounding the "So, are you ready for Christmas?" question that is bombarding me from all directions. I just want to SCREAM!!!

This year I am in an unique situation. Unlike years past, I have a good job and a car, and this extra money and mobility facilitate my participation in the frenzy of decorating and spending that each of you mention. What a trap - It's luidicrous! The malls are packed, and filled with a caucophony of jingles* (I have to dodge screaming children and "Santa" who roams the halls bellowing seasonal epithets) *Freudian slip - originally typed "jungles"

Why this panic to become "ready?" Morerover, is one ever completely "ready?" I have not erected my tree (no room) and my decorations consist of a wreath on my front door.

However, I have managed to purchase small gifts for my close friends, as well as my mother and sister in BC. This is unprecedented, and for this I am truly grateful. If Christmas readiness can be measured by gratitude, then I'm already there.


From: What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow / Out of this stony rubbish? | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 16 December 2005 08:30 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
steffie - I must have missed the good job and car thing coming to pass! Congratulations! Was this recently? I know you were looking for more fulfilling work earlier this year.

I know, this is thread drift. Sorry!

Re: Christmas...I'd like it to be a little less consumerist too. I find it difficult because I am in better shape financially than I have been for most of my son's life now (and, I'm not rich or anything, but I've been a student for most of his life). He has grown up hearing from both parents, "No, you can't have that, honey, it costs too much." Don't get me wrong - we don't burden him unnecessarily or make him worry about being destitute or anything - he's not getting ulcers, he's just being told there isn't a lot of money for tons of toys and stuff.

So, he doesn't get toys every time we go out, and he realizes that huge things (like x boxes and such) are just not going to happen. And for the most part, I feel good about that, because I feel like he is learning that he doesn't have to have everything in order to be happy. And he doesn't beg for everything he sees on television because he knows what the answer will be.

When my father asked him what he wanted for Christmas, he said, "Whatever Santa brings me will be okay." I had to laugh.

However...as I was saying, I don't have a lot of money, but this year I'm more financially stable than in years past, and I'm finding myself feeling the urge to overwhelm him with gifts. I still don't have enough money to buy him something like an x box (and I wouldn't get one of those things for him anyhow). But it's amazing, even though I hate shopping now, and even though I know he will be perfectly happy with a few nice gifts, for some reason I still feel the urge to go overboard.

So, I guess maybe that's the hegemony I'm feeling? I don't get that special "Christmassy" feeling anymore, really. Pity, because it used to be my favorite time of year.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
steffie
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3826

posted 16 December 2005 09:03 AM      Profile for steffie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michelle: Thanks for the congrats. My "side" business (tutoring) has really picked up and I have hooked up with a Speech Pathologist who is getting me brain-injury referrals (insurance companies - ca-ching!) That's in addition to regular tutoring clients!

So we share the same anxiety, this urge to overindulge. Might this stem from resentment over being denied such frivolities for such a long time? In my case, probably.

[drift]It's the same way with men - I am so starved for what I lack, that I scare them off with my forwardness. [/drift]

Yah, no X-Box under this "tree" either. But that's not to say that when it drops in price I won't get him one. Like, in 2 years!

I must thank lagatta for her viewpoint on this subject. When I get anxiety over the frenzy, I re-read her posts about deliberately simplifying and de-religiousing this time of year. She and other babblers have helped me combat this and other such troubles. Thanks, gang!


From: What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow / Out of this stony rubbish? | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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Babbler # 2534

posted 16 December 2005 03:03 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hi steffie! I'm glad things have been turning up for you

Thanks for your comment. Of course when I speak of secularism, I'm referring to people who are not religious ... religious people of any religion celebrating a holiday does not offend me in the slightest, and it is an important human right. (As is the freedom from religion).

I will be taking part in a supper that evening, with like-minded friends. Deliberately avoiding family that day (though I'll see family later on in the week).


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
solarpower
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Babbler # 7609

posted 16 December 2005 03:32 PM      Profile for solarpower   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree wholeheartedly with this and wish Christmas would go back to being one day instead of two months of Mary being in labour or something.
religous tyranny
And I hate all the plasticness of it all.
Plastic this, plastic that.
This is supposed to be the 'downtime' of the year. A time for rest, relaxation, lighting up the darkness, quiet reflection, solitude.
It's the exact opposite. It's stress, crazy running around blowing one's paycheques on plastic stuff, gotta do this, gotta get that, hurry, hurry, there's not enough time!
For what? so at the end of it you can sit down and sigh and say 'whew, glad that's over with'.

I have put lights in one window to add some cheeriness to passerbys in this dark season. And I shall have my turkey, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes. And I'll bet that I'll enjoy this season more than those who've bought into the insanity.


From: that which the creator created from | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
tallyho
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10917

posted 16 December 2005 03:44 PM      Profile for tallyho        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
For many decades I don't know which has been more aggravating. The too-long Christmas season or the same griping every year about how the Chistmas season is too-long.
From: The NDP sells out Alberta workers | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged

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