10
Dec
08

The Christmas Fiasco

I’ve listened to some cool debate recently over the Tui beer billboard : ‘Let’s take a moment this Christmas to think about Christ.  Yeah right.’  Tui took it down in the end as it was causing offence to some Christians and had ‘touched a nerve’.  However I don’t think that Tui as a company were being offensive considering they were just stating the reality –  I guess the fact is that sometimes the truth hurts and it’s easier to shoot the messenger.  In my opinion the churches should be thanking Tui for the free advert alerting folk to the fact that Christmas has become one giant shopping fest. 

But do most people care that Christmas has changed, do they laugh at the billboard or is there also a tinge of regret?  I know in our household Christmas brings on a few fiascos (not just the wine 😉 ) and I’ve heard other people moan about the Christmas rush, the stress and the financial cost.  I’ve  heard a few, but not many, bemoan the loss of spiritual meaning.  Either way, I do think there is a desire for change, for something simpler.  I’ve come to the conclusion that a good start would be to shift Christmas Day to the middle of winter. 

Here are my pros and cons…

Pros: 

Winter is cold and you could have Christmas in the snow while relishing a hearty hot lunch around the log fire;

Winter gets so boring socially so it would be a nice break and a motivation to  get people together;

The end of the year is far too crowded with all the other end of year work and school functions, let alone summer trips to plan;

There are already plenty of public holidays in summer with things like New Year’s Day, New Year’s Holiday, Auckland & Wellington anniversaries and  a bit later Waitangi Day (we could also throw in a Picnic Day like they have in Australia).  In contrast, there is a bit of a holiday drought in winter;

In the middle of winter,  folk would have a bit more headspace to actually take time to contemplate the meaning of Christmas;

In winter there’s no chance that Boxing Day will see you faced with the prospect of  getting into togs and going swimming with your Christmas gut;

When faced with a bleak, depressing winter the message of Christmas hope may even brighten people up;

The end of the year and beginning of the next is already expensive enough for those providing work-shouts or those buying all the gear for a new school year.  Winter can be bleak for retailers too, so a bit of mid-winter gift buying may help balance out the cash-flow.

We are New Zealand and we pride ourselves on not following the flock but making our own good and bold decisions.  This would be another opportunity for us to lead the way with common sense.

Cons:  

A few days in the middle of winter may not be long enough for those whose family members need to travel to be together;

There is a cool sense of unity in the idea that worldwide Dec 25 is Christmas Day;

Perhaps the message of hope within Christmas suits the start of a new year? 

Would Christians be offended – is December 25 a sacred date not to be messed with?

 

Looks like the pros win out – what do you think?

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8 Responses to “The Christmas Fiasco”


  1. December 10, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Yeah, it’s interesting how the sign can provoke different reactions from different people, aye?

    I don’t think Christians should get too offended so quickly by it, although I must admit I initially took it as saying ‘why bother thinking about Christ?’ – but of course that’s not the only way to ‘read’ the sign, and very possibly not the sense in which it was meant, either.

    As for Dec 25th and changing the time Christmas is celebrated, I’ve no special affection for the date. Tim Bulkeley (Old Testament scholar and lecturer at the college I study at) has a post on the likelihood of the first Christmas being in the summer – here.

    Btw, I keep meaning to order some vino… 🙂

  2. December 11, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Hi Dale

    Cheers for the link – so how did the whole winter tradition start if the Bible suggests it was summer? Besides, I reckon the whole cosying up in barn straw in a manger just seems a much sweeter image in the winter 😉

    PS: Did those cheeky cessionites not share any of the wine I sent to u Auckland bloggers?

  3. December 11, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    It didn’t start out as a ‘winter’ thing, but rather a December 25th thing… Dec 25th had been a pagan nature festival, and the church began celebrating ‘Christ Mass’ on that day – thus (intentionally) giving the day a Christian meaning, as opposed to a pagan one.

    And no, the cessionites are greedy drunken wine-hoggers! 😀

  4. December 12, 2008 at 11:05 am

    In the UK I noticed that they put a lot more effort into Christmas. Which makes sense to me because they don’t tend to take as long a break as we do (saving it for the summer) and it’s pretty dreary around that time of year. Here in NZ Christmas seems to get lost amongst all the other fun stuff that’s happening.

    I’ve despised the commercialism around traditional holidays for years now. I don’t really care about Christmas’ origins (whether pagan or Christian) but I love the idea of taking time out to kick back and relax with family and friends. This year we’re playing cricket at my sister’s farm down south and whites are compulsory.

    Regarding the billboards: it’s just more branding created by a spotty, spiky-haired Auckland-based advertising executive for an incredibly mediocre brand of mass-marketed alcoholic sugar-water. If people get upset it sort of reflects badly on them as well. (Boobs-on-bikes too). One word: Meh.

  5. December 12, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Oh yeah, random fact about Christmas: the tinsel on the tree used to be animal entrails to ward off the evil spirits in the woods. Don’t tell the kids though.

  6. December 12, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    OK, I’ve just done a search to verify that remembered “fact” and can find nothing to back it up. Perhaps it’s an urban legend. Sorry about that.

  7. December 12, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    That’s alright Damian and don’t worry about the kids – they’d love that legend! We have an old woolshed out the back of our place – it’s a bit redundant thanks to vines but my grandad has a few sheep for personal eating and recently took our son into the woolshed for a close-up guided tour of the slaughter and gutting – Finn was totally fascinated by the whole thing and hasn’t tended to vegetarianism the way our daughter did when she discovered the reality of where our meat originates!

    PS. How far South are you headed?

  8. December 12, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    My folks are in North Canterbury and my sister in Darfield. BTW, I used to live fairly close to where you are now; up near the racecourse in Blenheim back in the mid-90s.


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