Has the spirit of the holidays been irrevocably corrupted?


Have we replaced innate happiness with the purchase of material things?

Do we live wishing each other harm rather than joyousness?

Will 2008 be better or worse for the sharing of community happiness against the rampaging acquisition of individual wealth?

23 Comments

  1. Several points to pick up on here.
    Pursuit of Happiness – I think is over-rated – Happiness is transient – contentment is lasting.
    We all define the spirit of Christmas differently – for some it is ALL about the presents and how much can be consumed/bought /eaten/drunk – a time to relax away from the grindstone that tethers the working majority.
    For some it is a time of giving of themselves – they work in hospitals, crisis centres etc.
    For some it it the highlight of the religious year – the birth of their saviour.
    Most of us muddle along somewhere in the middle – trying to make the most of Christmas for ourselves.
    I am redefining Christmas this year – Christmases past have all been about providing the best Christmas for my children. The two eldest are working by choice this year – one to fund a surfing holiday to Bali – the other to fund her/their mortgage deposit for when they finally buy a place of their own. The other is in Mexico with her boyfriend as part of his 21st birthday present.
    So I am in the unusual position of asking myself what I want for Christmas this year and how I want my Christmas to be. It has been a bit like a rudderless ship at times and has taken adjusting and getting used to.
    Subtle changes have taken place ( and some not so subtle) – we have a fake Christmas tree – its PURPLE – I made a Yule Log and lit on Solstice night – the Solstice became more important. The food has been what we want – and we are fedding three instead of the 5000 – my food bills are less – my alcohol bills considerably less – and my Christmas waste ( wrapping, packaging, cards, extras etc) are also considerably less.
    So we have good wine , good food, good company – what more do we need?
    This comes with an added twist that the car broke down this morning and needs a new clutch – so we will very definitely be staying here!
    A Very Merry Christmas to you and yours – and may you find contentment in the coming year.

  2. That’s a wonderful Christmas message, Nicola, thank you.
    You’re right that Christmas is what we make of it and I’m glad you are finding your way.
    For many people, Christmas is a very specific and identifiable thing where even a birthday cake is baked and eaten in celebration of the baby Jesus while others still struggle for the definition of the real meaning of Christmas in a modern world.
    It is fascinating how often we look at the world through our own values and microscopes. I have to often remind myself that, even though I am asleep, others are up and actively reading this blog and even though the USA may be on a national holiday… that doesn’t mean the rest of the world is resting and new blog content will be welcomed.
    As we gain in pluralism and secularity we move farther away from myth and believing — and that may not be a good thing in the end when we need comfort in times of hopelessness and despair.

  3. On a similar note of wondering and scrambling, Jack the Cat has taken ill today. We have an emergency vet appointment soon to check out the large hematoma that has mysteriously grown under his right eye overnight. We’ll be leaving in a moment and returning home together, I hope, soon. I will reply to other comments when I return. Thanks.

  4. My holiday wishes this year are for a full recovery for Jack the cat.
    I wonder if we can pinpoint a year when holiday spirit went to the pot and it became about getting the xbox720 or N256.
    I wonder if baby j would mind playing “Highway to Hell” on Guitar Hero

  5. Thank you, Gordon! When older cats like Jack — he’s 14 — begin to age they are super-susceptible to gingivitis and tooth decay and its onset can be very fast.
    It seems he had a bad tooth and the infection spread to his cheek. When the vet opened his mouth and started feeling around, the pus sack exploded all over! It was a mess but it relieved a lot of pressure.
    I have no idea how Jack was able to eat with that kind of infection brewing — he’s very tough. He’s eating now and looking so much better though there’s some blood in his food dish. I better find out if that’s normal.
    You’re right that the rise of the home video game has created a selfish counter-culture that is withdrawn and inverted.
    Even playing online with others is a distant and self-centered meme that makes good people go to video stores to exchange games for adventures they find boring — all in the name of a disenchanted and invented five-year-old. :mrgreen:
    I have yet to play Guitar Hero. Or Rock Band. I’m dying to play GH3 on my Mac, though, if it ever comes back in stock!
    I’m sure baby Jesus takes on all comers, Gordon, it’s part of his competitive nature. 😆

  6. Wow, I could not have said it any better than Nicola! Christmas really is about finding our own way because we’re all so diverse and with differing beliefs.
    To be honest though, I don’t know if the spirit of Christmas has been corrupted so much as commercialized. Everywhere you look it’s there. There’s no mistaking the fact that it’s Christmas and you’re expected to part with your money. What’s even sadder is the fact that Coca Cola holds the rights to Santa!
    Jeff and I are celebrating on our own this year. Each year breaks my heart a little more that I can’t see my kids enjoying themselves, but I much prefer Jeff and I by ourselves as opposed to a HUGE family gathering.
    No matter how you all spend Christmas, I wish you all the very best and a wonderful start to 2008.
    Merry Christmas David.

  7. Thanks for the good wishes, Dawn! All the good vibes shoot right back at’cha! 😀
    I, too, mourn the loss of your children — but I know you believe this is the best path for them right now — even if it causes you immeasurable pain.

  8. Ouchies on behalf of Jack the Cat. Hope everything goes well on Wednesday. Glad to hear he is eating 🙂
    I think we all have to make the best we can of the world through our own eyes – listen and accept other people see it through theirs and not kill each other in the process.
    We do however need hope – without hope we are nothing.

  9. Ouchies is right, Nicola! 😀 He’s eating, but drooling blood. The vet says that’s good because everything is “draining.” Ew! He may need to have a tooth removed on Wednesday and a shunt inserted to facilitated draining… and the whole thing is going to cost us a grand… $1,000.00USD.
    Accepting other people on their terms, and not our own, is our biggest challenge as cogent beings. We want everyone to conform to our wishes and desire because we believe our pathway is the best and only road…
    Is hope worthwhile? Or is it merely a salve for inevitable disappointment?

  10. I just saw a movie at this place called the Kennedy School which also has a restaurant and hotel. I’m going to write about it later but it is the opposite of corporate rubbish america. It made me so happy to drink a beer made by the same people that own the movie theater. More later! 🙂