12/2/07

Preparation for Yule

Snow Moon
- Phase: Waning
- Position: Virgo

Weather: cold, cloudy, freezing rain immanent;
currently winter-storm warnings in effect

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Today is the first day of the Christian season of Advent. They prepare themselves for the Second Coming of Christ and the celebration of His Nativity, Christmas.

Today is also a part of the wildly insane holiday shopping season. A gross orgy of consumerism and surfeit that makes the sweet tooth of the secular celebration of Holloween look ascetic. To say that I am repulsed by the secular celebrations of the season is to be committing a great understatement. I loathe and abhor the vast majority of the secular celebrations of this time of year and of several other holidays. It is not because it is a subtle programme of state sponsored conversion taictics (as some of the neophytes around would have you think) or because it is some deeply buried secret wish that people would celebrate the birth of Jesus (as some of my detractors may try to convince you).

No, my repulsion of the holiday season (because let's be honest, they don't call it the holiday shopping season, do they?), is because it encourages people to denegrate others for the sake of their immediate gain. Objectification is the problem, to be precise. I have an infant son whom I do not want to believe that there is any time of year that it is permissible to reduce other people to mere objects, playthings that should accord themselves to his whims. The message of this season, unfortunately, is just that.

"Oh, you're being a Scrooge!" some may cry, but I ask if I truly am? Let's take a step back and look at what we are inundated with starting as early as midsummer. (Yes, you did read that right, Midsummer! Some of the stores in my area were in the process of setting up their Christmas displays in July.) Many, many messages are imparted that if we are to show our affection it must be done with things. Our degree of affection shown is gaged by the expense, trendiness, and generally approved societal value of the object.

Men are exhorted to give their wives and female signifigant others exorbitantly expensive jewelry from the "right" stores. Women are chided to give the men in their lives insanely expensive televisions, new tools, and similar gender "appropriate" gifts. Parents and all adults are functionally ordered to purchase for their children every and any toy on the market for their age group and the latest cell phone/gadget produced this month. People are told to remodel their homes, refurnish the living room in the latest styles, and generally remake themselves into the season's latest image. All for the sake of showing affection in the correct way and to present the correct face to society for the holiday season.

Now, some may ask where the problem lies in all of this. We can all refuse to engage in these ludicrous acts of wanton financial suicide. We, however, are told subtly that we're not good enough if we don't enter into these foolish acts. We are told that we are not valued if the people around us don't engage in this ritualized stupidity. And children are repeatedly told that they are of lower status and value if they are not catered to and given all they desire. Why are we told these things, because of the subtle whisper of what is not said, but implied in all of these ads.

This is what repulses me of this time of year.

So, as I prepare for Yule, I intend to steel my heart against this onslaught. And in such, be annealed and strengthened against future efforts to strip my value by the words of others.

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