Editorials and Opinions

Holiday cheer and all that

By Gabe Glissen-Brown
Published: December 2009

Oh hey friends, didn’t see you there! What a great time of the year it is. The snow is falling, people are hearing back from colleges, my dear crazy editor is marginally chiller, the year is almost half over, and we’re smack in the middle of the holidays.

I know we’re all busy this time of year, but don’t forget to take in the glory of the holidays!

Whether you consume latkes, put up lights, or partake in any other fanciful holiday custom, this is the time of year to come together with the people you enjoy.

Yes, the community aspect of the holidays is pretty nice. But let’s talk about some other thoughts I have on the holidays.

Thought One: this may be a wonderful time of year, but the way many people construe the holidays is just wrong. If the holidays could see what is being done to them, they would weep.

If anyone has gone to a mall or turned on the TV within the last ten years, they would see thousands of different Santas offering themselves for a photo.
Businesses flooded with Christmas lights have a small menorah tucked into the corner. That’s what ruins the holidays: consumerism and correctness.

Consumerism is the dragon that destroys the nature of the holidays. An obsession with getting everything we desire puts the focus entirely on ourselves and away from the togetherness that the holidays are really about.

Political correctness is the small fiery demon that sits in the American people and works its fiendish ways. Americans are so obsessed with not offending people that they actually offend people to do it.

Do you think I, being a Jew, want a small menorah in an obscure corner in a clearly Christian-themed building just to make me feel included? Of course it’s good to include everyone, but pushing it too far, as is done all too often in America, just makes it painfully obvious.

What’s that you say? I sound like the ending of a terrible Christmas movie where I’m repenting for my mistakes and teaching viewers a touching lesson? Well, let’s move on.

Thought Two: Santa. In my psychology class last week, I somehow engaged a peer, whom we’ll call Chuck, in a conversation about the credentials of Santa Claus. First of all, I said to Chuck, why are our taxpayers’ dollars going into funding the magical building of toys and appliances made by slaves (which was abolished in most countries and is considered unethical in this day and age)?

Moreover, am I the first to find it a tad ridiculous that a man in a sled driven by reindeer has the capacity to travel at several millions of miles per hour to drop presents into the homes of over six billion people?

Children should be more than capable of doing the math out to realize that it is mathematically impossible for Santa to exist.

Chuck then went on to get angry with me and accuse me of ruining the holidays. Nay! The holidays are not about jolly fat men, cookies, presents, or any of that, Chuck! You were wrong once again. (Oh, Chuck.)

Now I’m going to go light my menorah, admire some Christmas lights, and play some high stakes dreidel (using quarters). But after reading this month’s column, when you rake in the gimels,

I hope you’ll realize that it isn’t the gelt that’s making you happy. It’s the fact that you are spending time with the people around you’€and the fact that they are not winning.

Remember that 2010 is around the corner and who knows what will happen in the new decade? (Dolphins will become the new dominant species.) Until next issue, friends, I leave you to enjoy the holidays and have a Happy New Year.

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