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AIBU to think Christmas is dead?

(19 Posts)
Goldilocks3Bears Fri 18-Nov-16 10:35:00

So, with all the xmas ads flooding TV, the recent adoptation of halloween into brit culture and general hysteria around what to get everyone this year, AIBU to think that we've all lost the plot and forgotten the key messages of Xmas? It feels like instead it has become some sort of cynically crafted shopping bonanza and the spirit of why we celebrate xmas has been long forgotten as have all the core elements of the arrival of Jesus in general. I get that not everyone is religious but this is getting so far removed from the original xmas message that I wonder if Xmas is dead and has been bodysnatched by something we should call Winter Holidays or similar. Whaddaya think?

NoelHeadbands Fri 18-Nov-16 10:36:52


NoelHeadbands Fri 18-Nov-16 10:37:59

Nah to it being dead I mean

AnnPerkins Fri 18-Nov-16 10:39:17

Yeah, no.

Matchingbluesocks Fri 18-Nov-16 10:40:44

No because a significant and increasing number of people in this country don't believe in Jesus so it's never going to be about that for them

SatsukiKusakabe Fri 18-Nov-16 10:44:49

If you go back far enough, you'll find Christmas replaced 'winter holiday' at one point. These things evolve and gather traditions and lose some, but no it isn't dead.

It's a s commercial or religious as you make it; I don't really mind how others choose to celebrate it.

I am not religious, for us it is a festival of light in the depths of winter, but we incorporate all the storytelling of the Christian tradition, and take part in nativities, charitable giving, carols and sometimes even church services for the children as I appreciate it on a cultural and community level. We don't go mad on presents, but it is a big part of it for us, no question, but it is about giving and making things for others, the kids enjoy seeing us open things and the food and the family.

mintthins Fri 18-Nov-16 10:47:48

No. I don't like the use of Xmas though (but do remember someone suggesting it's origin coming from Jesus signing as X) and really loath the use of Holiday. That to me is an American appropriation too far.

SatsukiKusakabe Fri 18-Nov-16 10:58:09

Halloween also began here; we've been around longer than the u.s

ShotsFired Fri 18-Nov-16 11:19:14

You'd be better off asking whether Saturnalia is dead.

As I understand it, that was the original "Christmas" and it got appropriated by Christians and turned into Christmas. So it's a bit rich to complain that it has evolved into more of a general family coming-together and celebrating with pressies.

MadameCholetsDirtySecret Fri 18-Nov-16 11:30:53

I love Christmas, though I'm an atheist, so the religious side of things is of no interest. What I do like is a bright shining celebration in the middle of winter, which goes back, I suppose to before Christianity. I like to spend time with family and friends and enjoy good food and wine. I only buy presents for very immediate family and I don't go overboard. For me, Christmas is the best time of year.

BiddyPop Fri 18-Nov-16 11:31:24

Well, there are quite a few I know who shop early so that they can "enjoy" the festive season. This means the manic-ness of work and the parties involved, and hosting family/travelling to family etc.

But it also means taking time to appreciate some of the lovely music that tends to be around at Christmas, go to some of the events for families, and also make time for various Church ceremonies (be that Carols and readings services in advance, Christingle services or midnight mass on Christmas Eve, or services on Christmas day itself). And to make time for more intimate family celebrations - including of a (religious is slightly too far a word but rememberance?) nature.

In my case, I have made time to go to a concert by the Chamber Choir of the local Music Conservatoire in early December (during a working day lunchbreak). And we always have our own little service around the Christmas Candle on Christmas Eve - the Irish tradition is that this is lit by the youngest in the household and shows weary travelers that there is "space in the inn", but we also have a quiet time to remember the good and bad of the year finishing up, and to remember our friends and relatives who have died (some recent, some many years ago), before saying a prayer together.

The crib is an important part of our decorations, and remembering why we have the celebrations.

We also mark the mid-winter point and Saturnalia (I have gone wassailing on the allotment, before I had to give up the plot - not that I lost the plot!fgrin).

Yes, it is a very commercial holiday to many, but there are very many people that I know for whom it is still a very spiritual time of year, whether that is about Jesus, Hannukkah, Saturnalia, or another celebration. And that those spiritual elements are very much celebrated within the family even if not so openly or on facebook etc.

KingLooieCatz Fri 18-Nov-16 13:30:40

The original point, I think, is to celebrate having got past the longest night. It still gives us something to look forward to when the nights draw in. I don't think Christ was actually born on the 25th. Likewise there was a festival to celebrate spring long before the crucifixion. The early Christians attached Christian stories to pre-existing festivals.

If peace and goodwill is dead for you, that is a matter for you. Lots of people will be thinking of others, giving to charity, doing random acts of kindness, donating to gift collections for people they don't know, helping at homeless shelters, singing carols at old folks' homes and generally feeling the love. It's as dead as you allow it to be.

bigbuttons Fri 18-Nov-16 13:33:51

For most people Christmas is not about peace and goodwill though. It is about spending money and stuffing their faces. It's shit.

5moreminutes Fri 18-Nov-16 13:42:42

I wanted to say exactly what satsuki said.

Get off your high horse Goldilocks - the earlish Christians just stuck their stories on top of pre existing winter celebrations as part of the attempt to ease the conversion of existing pagan communities by rebranding their festivals.

Lots of other religions have celebrations around the same time - always good to break up dismal seasons with a bit of feasting and partying and a bit of story telling.

Also as satsuki says Halloween was taken from Scotland to America by early settlers, rebranded a bit and re imported - it's certainly not a native American tradition hmm

5moreminutes Fri 18-Nov-16 13:50:05

mintthins I think the x in Xmas is the Greek letter chi which is the beginning of "Christ" written in Greek - an old Christian abbreviation (more Cmas).

Mondegreens Fri 18-Nov-16 14:13:03

I hear your impatience with the Christmas shopping hysteria - though I must point out that participating in it is a choice (the only presents I really buy are for my DS, I give everyone else books or book tokens, and we don't do every second Christmases with parents/ILs politics) - but I think you're being a bit naïve about the origins of Christmas.

It's not some kind of pristine, unchanging Christian event whose central message is the arrival of Jesus and general kindness - how and if and by whom Christmas has been celebrated has changed hugely, even in post- Middle Ages England, where it was a raucous midwinter piss-up (leaving aside its origins in Yule, Saturnalia etc etc entirely). The Puritans banned it as 'papist'. Some Christians, like the Jehovah's Witnesses still don't celebrate it, and Christmas only became a public holiday in Scotland well into the 20thc. In England Dickens is to a large extent responsible for the reinvention of Christmas as a child-centred feast - before that FC is just a sort of personification of Christmas, and not associated with children or presents - and in the US, where there was a tradition of Puritan uneasiness about Christmas in parts until well into the 19thc, Washington Irving and Clement Clarke Moore (who wrote 'Twas the Night Before Christmas) did something similar, and CCM's emphasis on gift giving contributed to what other people were already complaining about in 1850 as the commercialisation of Christmas. Harriet Beecher Stowe has someone in one of her novels complaining about the true meaning of Christmas being lost in a shopping spree!

Which is a long way of saying that people have been quibbling about the meaning of Christmas and its commercialisation and saying 'things ain't what they used to be' for several centuries. grin

smellylittleorange Fri 18-Nov-16 14:22:18

As a lapsed Catholic Christmas still has a special religious meaning to me but further still - a celebration of love and family and togetherness. I would not want to deny anyone that or determine how they celebrate it. Besides as above it is an ever moving feast

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Fri 18-Nov-16 14:31:09

Lots of people still go to church/Carol/Christingle services, even if they never go at any other time except weddings and funerals. And lots of schools still put on Nativity plays. So I don't think that message is altogether lost at all.

As others have said, the Christians took over the old, pagan, Midwinter festival. All the holly, ivy, and whatnot really date back to pagan times, nothing to do with what happened in a stable in Bethlehem. After all, in Northern European countries with long, cold winters, you needed something to perk you up a bit, and IMO all the lights and jollity still serve the same purpose. To many people December would be very miserable without Christmas.

It's noticeable that in less chilly Southern European countries, Christmas is not such a big thing.

In Sweden I think they still call it Jul, which I am pretty sure goes back to pagan times (here some people still say Yuletide and the huge Yule log - to keep a good fire burning for days - was a tradition for a long time. And we still see Yule log cakes!

There is no compulsion for anyone to go mad with shopping or presents, anyone can still have a lovely Christmas without all that.

5moreminutes Fri 18-Nov-16 16:00:24

Btw weren't Christmas cards invented as a marketing tactic by the British post office in the mid 1800s? Shockingly commercial origin if that's right, I hope "true" (rebranded) meaning of Christmas advocates don't send them... shockwink

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