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Christmas as Mass Consumer Feeding Frenzy

Undermining Christian Christmas Through Commerce


Christmas as Mass Consumer Feeding Frenzy: Undermining Christian Christmas Through Commerce

Christmas as Mass Consumer Feeding Frenzy: Undermining Christian Christmas Through Commerce

Image © Austin Cline, Licensed to About; Original Poster: National Archives

What is Christmas? Christian Nationalists complain about secularists conspiring to transform it from a religious into a secular holiday, but they don't seem to notice how it has already been transformed form a somber memorial to the birth of their Savior into celebration of excessive spending and materialistic consumerism. More money is spent on more things during Christmas than at any other time. Many business rely on Christmas buying to break even or make a profit for the entire year.

Christmas in modern America has far more to do with materialism and consumerism than anything else -- and it's a situation which has been a noticed and discussed problem long before Christian Nationalists created their trumped-up War on Christmas complaints. There are traditional meanings and religious meanings, but no "real meaning." The "meaning" of Christmas is whatever people celebrating decide to assign to it. If people give it a religious meaning, it will be a religious holiday for them. If they fill the day with other meanings (gifts, family, etc.), then it will have those instead.

Because the "meaning" of Christmas depends upon what people actually do with it, the only way for Christians to realistically reclaim a "religious meaning" for Christmas is to eliminate the secular, pagan, and consumer activities in favor of religious activities. Give to the poor instead of to Wal-Mart. Go to church instead of the mall. Pray instead of gathering around a lit-up tree.

But just how likely is it that Christians will do such things in numbers large enough to really matter? Not very. In the long run, Christmas will remain a largely secular and consumer day. The process of removing the religious meanings began a long time ago and it's too late to turn back the clock. Things like trees, gifts, and so forth are far more a part of Christmas "traditions" than anything religious.

For that reason, maybe some will fight Christian Nationalists in the War on Christmas by encouraging people to continue viewing it through the lens of economics. This image is based upon a World War II poster encouraging soldiers to buy war bonds as Christmas gifts, but here Santa is holding up a "past due" bill notice which seems very appropriate to how people spend during the holidays. The principle holiday message is to buy, spend, and consume -- all economic -- rather than anything religious or Christian.

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