Have A Truly Absurd Christmas

With the advent of Christmas upon us, or, as our American cousins prefer to call it, the “Holiday Season”, absurdity shines all around, much as did the “glory” in that well known Christmas carol.

Nowhere is this more evident than outside the multitude of churches dotted all over the American heartlands. Two, that I pass each day, are particularly nonsensical.

Jesus Is The Reason For The Season.”

If you live anywhere within the area proudly designated as ‘America’s Bible Belt’, you’ll be familiar with this one. It’s as common as a Chicago street corner Santa on Christmas Eve.

Of course, it’s utterly inaccurate. The season is winter; the festival Yuletide; the reason is the Equinox. Jesus is no more the reason for the season than Tiger’s antics in the whore parlor form the basis of his golfing prowess.

Further down the road is another neon-illuminated bit of religious nonsense that declares:

The Most Precious Gift To Mankind Was Wrapped In A Manger.”

Now I’m aware that Joseph was billed as a carpenter, and would probably have been artistic with wood. But, given that Miriam-Webster defines a “Manger” as: ‘a trough or open box in a stable designed to hold feed or fodder for livestock’, I doubt even he could have successfully redesigned a feed trough as a wrap-around cot for his new infant in the time available.

Perhaps ‘swaddling clothes’ was just too many words to fit on the billboard?

Seasonal absurdity is not, however, confined to the religious institutions of this great country. While making one of my less-and-less frequent visits to our local Walmart this week, I remembered the need to purchase Christmas cards, for friends and relatives back in the old country.

Fighting my way through all the trite religious crap on the shelf, a rather pleasant looking pack was noted, with male and female Red Cardinals not too distastefully displayed on the front. Eighteen cards for five dollars seemed a fair price, so eager to escape this depressing superstore, I threw the box in the cart and headed for the checkout.

Yesterday, I sat down to write my cards only to find they were totally unsuitable for the purpose.

Why?

The cards themselves were fine. The envelopes were dark green. In artificial light they looked black. It was impossible to address them with a normal pen. The whole box went in the fire.

They weren’t even “Great Value!”

I suppose some people would think them ‘cool’, or ‘fashionable’. No doubt, somewhere in the depths of its display cabinets, Walmart sells a pen containing white ink.

It is depressing to consider that, if the human species weren’t so gullible, we wouldn’t have to put up with all this absurdity designed to relieve us of our hard earned cash. Marketing ploys only last so long as they work.

Absurdity pays.

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5 Replies to “Have A Truly Absurd Christmas”

  1. “Religion is just mind control” as George Carlin once said…

    and the rest is just gimmick to make you spend…. spend… spend…

  2. I’m not going to ask whether Tip-Ex or envelope labels would have helped with the Christmas cards? 😉

    I’m still trying to (and to all accounts from other ex-pats will be trying for the next x years) get used to the “traditional” Christmas (snow, robins, pictures of Santa on his sleigh etc) in a summer-Christmas culture – it is incredibly wrong to be walking around in shorts and a t-shirt in 20+ C heat and then go into the mall to see Santa in his red, fur lined, hooded coat and long white beard, in a grotto covered in “snow” (fiber-glass and glitter…)

  3. Nevin – yes, Carlin had the right idea about lots of things.

    Jo – I did consider sticky labels, but that would have meant another trip to the shops. Besides, they weren’t even a nice, bright, Christmassy, green – almost black. Anyone receiving one would have assumed it a funeral invitation rather than a harbinger of good cheer.

    I’ve often thought it must be very confusing to celebrate Christmas in the Antipodes, especially to those of us acclimated to the northern hemisphere. I’m not sure I could adjust.

    Mind, when one’s about to venture forth, as I am, into a temperature of -9C, with an additional ten degrees of windchill, it has its appeal.

  4. We’re very familiar with those religious billboards in this neck of the woods. If nothing else, they’re good for a laugh!

    I’ve noticed that Christmas cards (nice ones) are much harder to find here than back in the UK. It could be that our town is not well-provided with the right kind of stores, I guess, but I’ve had to resort to buying cards on-line the past two years.
    Coloured envelopes are a menace. I think the UK post office folks banned red ones at one time, as being hard on the posties’ eyes. Quite right too!. Bah humbug!!!

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