Christmas is unquestionably a good thing. From a totally non-religious point of view, I think it’s good to have an excuse at the end of the year to get together with your loved ones (or your family), have some time off work, and fall into some familiar clichés and traditions that have nothing to do with the origin of the celebration in the first place. There’s something comforting about whole nations, deliberately missing the point of a religious observance as an excuse to overeat, get drunk and buy shit. Nothing describes us more aptly as a species.
Don’t let people tell you it’s a religious festival. The religious foundation of Christmas is as convincing as the idea of a reindeer taking a bite out of a carrot in my living room, just to prove she exists (yes Rudolph is a lady, all of Santa’s reindeer are (male reindeer shed their antlers in the winter (I’m three layers of parentheses deep into this sentence, this is incredible. I’m like a blog version of Christopher Nolan))). Pretty much all of the religious aspects of Christmas are known to be hazy, or totally incorrect. Scholars maintain that the actual year of his birth was more likely to be 6-4 BC. You’d think that Mary claiming her child was fathered by God might have warranted a little more scrutiny, considering she got his conception date wrong by six years. Also, the 25th of December is actually the date of the Roman’s celebration of the birth of their sun God (not Son of God, easy mistake) which took place around the winter solstice. And Jesus himself, always depicted as a white man wandering the streets of Nazareth, proclaiming himself to be the son of God, while preaching humility.
As I said, I love Christmas, but for all the difference it would make, we may as well base it on the celebration of the birth of Humphrey Bogart, who was actually born on the 25th December. His films have given me much more enjoyment than the mistranslated teachings of someone who literally invented the Messiah complex. I’d love to see a world where Bogart replaced Santa in our folklore, “Of all the chimneys in all the towns in all the world, he tumbles into mine. I mean, that’s basically his job.”
But that’s my point. It doesn’t matter how Christmas started or where it came from, or whether deliberately repurposing a Casablanca quote is funny and original. Because now, Christmas is about covering a dry, spindly tree in hot electrical lights without a fire extinguisher to hand. It’s about how filling a cardboard tube with a paper hat, a bad joke and a miniature screwdriver set means nothing without a tiny explosion. And of course, it’s about buying things for loved ones to prove just how well you actually know them, and which items they don’t yet own.
The true meaning of Christmas is how we celebrate it now, in all its garish, commercial glory. The true meaning of ‘killjoy twatbasket’ is someone that tries to get people to forget that. So this Christmas, do what thou wilt. Because otherwise, the killjoy twatbaskets win.
Next time on The Bandwagon:
Was the Devil’s greatest trick convincing the world he didn’t exist? Or was it managing to seem evil despite having goat legs?