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>And so this is Christmas?

Lach Ryan

Christmas, and its accompanying spirit, is upon us… whatever that means! People go ga-ga over it for different reasons. It seems this once religious event is now suffering an identity crisis of greater magnitude than a boyband member on his 30th Birthday.

Christmas is still a religious holiday, just that the religion has changed from Christianity to Consumerism. Jesus birth signified his coming, so that ultimately we may have peace on earth for all mankind. Now days, Christmas (That period between late September to end of December) signifies the birth of department store decorations. A sacred time where we buy stuff we don’t need with money we don’t have, with extended store hours to do it all in and all set to the sounds of inane carols composed by some 18th Century Eastern European Elf.
If we acknowledge the Christian traditions of the day, it really should be just an annual Birthday Party for the most iconic Human to walk this earth, God’s Kid. Perhaps that it sits at the end of the year with all the other cool holidays, is why Jesus has trouble getting people to come party. He will always be one of those kids who get both a Birthday and Christmas in one. A lot of people don’t know what Myrrh is, but the Third Wiseman did- the ultimate My-Birthday-is-on-Christmas-Day-Present.
Why Santa? Replacing a Jewish baby, with a white, old man… if that doesn’t represent who really runs the world, than what does? Santa as we know him, the jolly type-2 diabetes pensioner with a penchant for dressing in the colors of the Sydney Swans, was originally an invention of the Coca-Cola marketing department. Scary isn’t it? To think how successful a character it has been, that it’s now accepted as part of popular culture world wide. And to think how, if only a little more loved, the Smith’s chips Gobble Gock could have come to represent all that is great about Australia Day. Kids would ask Mum and Dad when the Gobble Gock was showing up at the BBQ, transporting from house to house via open chip packets, to lead everyone in the national anthem (‘You’re the Voice’ John Farnham)
At its heart, Christmas is supposed to be about love and goodwill, feasts and fun. All shared with close family, friends and, most unfortunately, work colleagues. But most people see it as nothing more than a series of stress, where the complete opposite is true. They find themselves going into more debt, eating and drinking enough to save Africa and spending time fighting with family members and friends…or worse and completely off-plan, loving with workmates. On the other side of the one-way mirror, are those society tends to forget. The lonely, homeless and poor. For them Christmas is just a reminder about how the rest of us are too busy looking at our own reflections, than trying to see through what’s behind the glass.
So what are we to do? A wise footy coach, who after I was knocked unconscious in a game and awoke crying like a child 12 years my junior, once said “Why don’t you sit this one out?” That’s my suggestion this year- Back off on all the crap.  While you’re at it, take the plot of countless TV kids’ movies, and ask yourself- What does Christmas mean to me? Is it some fat old dudes annual time to shine? The birthday of Jewish Baby that may just have saved the world? Perhaps it’s about love and goodwill generally? Or maybe it is just a Festival of Consumerism….giving meaning to all the money you’re making, justifying all your hard work and thus ultimately your existence. But I think we both know there’s more too it than that, right? Why don’t you sit this one out until you know exactly what that is?