On December 24, 2014, in Uncategorized, by trayho

These few excerpts were taken from The Week Magazine of Dec 2014.

How did the custom get started?

Christians see gift giving as a symbolic homage to the Three Wise Men’s tributes to the baby Jesus. In the New Testament, the Magi are described as honoring the new born Savior with valuable gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But gift giving this time of year dates to an even older tradition. Pagans in Europe and the Middle East gave presents at several winter festivals, including Saturnalia, a raucous Roman festival in honor of Saturn, God of agriculture, which began on Dec. 17.

During this weeklong holiday in the cold, dark day of winter, Pagans would lift their spirits by drinking to excess and giving one another gifts, such as pottery figures, edible treats like fruit and nuts, and festive candles. Revelers greeted one another with a joyful “Io Saturnalia” – the ancient Roman equivalent of “Merry Christmas.”

What happened to Saturnalia?

Early Christian leaders phased it out. They considered it their religious duty to eradicate the existing Pagan culture, but knew that dumping the beloved festival would cause a backlash. So in the 4th century, they created a rival festival to mark Jesus’ birth: Christmas. The Bible doesn’t explicitly state the date on which Jesus was born, and many theologians place his birth in the spring.

But church leaders pushed the date back a few months to Dec. 25 and borrowed some Saturnalia rituals for their own festivals to keep the public happy. “If Christianity moves Christmas into December, you can then fade out these other festivals,” said archaeologist Sam Moorhead. “You can attempt to move on as if nothing has happened.” The festival quickly spread across the Christian world, but some pious believers refused to join in the holiday cheer.

Who were these scrooges?

Our Pilgrim forefathers. Although today’s commercialized Christmas is considered distinctly American, the festival was banned in the nation’s earlier days. New England’s Puritan leaders considered it a pagan or papist abomination, and any citizen found celebrating around Dec. 25 would be sternly reprimanded. Bit when Christmas celebrations became legal in the 1680s, gift giving boomed.

Rural Americans carved wooden toys and made pieces of needlework in the agriculture off-season to give to family members and neighbors. The Industrial Revolution saw those handmade items replaced with mass-manufactured trinkets and toys. By 1867, the holiday present industry was healthy enough for Macy’s in New York City to keep its doors open until midnight on Christmas Eve form the first time.

Did everyone get in the spirit?

Not exactly. By 1904, one writer in Harper’s Bazaar was already lamenting the rampant commercialism of the day. “Twenty-five years ago, Christmas was not the burden that it is now,” wrote Margaret Deland. “There was less haggling and weighing, less quid pro quo, less fatigue of body, less wearing of soul; and, most of all, there was less loading up with trash.” Such complaints prompted the creation of organizations like SPUG, the Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving, whose members included Anne Morgan, the daughter of banker J.P. Morgan, and former President Theodore Roosevelt. But retailers were unabashed. The ultimate gift giver, Santa, started appearing in advertisements, and the dreaded “Christmas creep” began, with stores advertising their Christmas wares earlier in the year. For toy makers and sellers, the holiday season now begins in February.

I don’t know if it’s my self-imposed paranoia but I am not hearing Christmas Carols in/on (In or on?) the radio like years before. As a matter of fact what little semblance of holiday music I do hear it appears that carols are being played with different lyrics – the advertising of products. I think I’ll try one in Morse code in place of lyrics to Silent Night selling ear aids.

Why February?

That’s when tens of thousands of toy industry representatives gather at New York City’s annual American International Toy Fair, where they try to figure out which toy will top children’s wish lists 10 months later. Beanie Babies made their public debut at the fair in 1993, and the best-selling Furby electronic pet first appeared there in 1998. This year’s must-have toy is Disney’s $119 Frozen Castle and Ice Palace Playset, which has already sold out in much of the country and is going for more than $400 on eBay. With children’s toys selling at such high prices, it’s perhaps no surprise that the average American is expected to spend $720 on gifts this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Isn’t that a bit excessive?

Scroogenomics author Joel Waldfogel certainly thinks so. He’s lobbied for Americans to abandon Christmas gift giving, which he calls an “orgy of wealth destruction.” Waldfogel notes that one-third of holiday spending still isn’t paid off two months after Christmas. Worse, most of us don’t even like many of the presents we receive. The “deadweight loss” of sweaters never worn and books never read equates to about 18% of Christmas spending – a staggering $12 billion.

Present buying may boost the economy, but Waldfogel argues that “if the spending we engage in doesn’t produce any satisfaction, then it’s hardly a measure of well-being.” Worse, he contends, it goes against the very spirit of Christmas. Isn’t it supposed to be the thought that counts? “The thought,” he says, “doesn’t need to be communicated with a lot of money.” (Bah Hum Bug!)

Santa: The evolution of a gift giver

Santa Claus has undergone many transformations over the centuries. The jolly rotund gent started out as St. Nicholas of Myra, a real-life, 4th century Byzantine monk who handed out bags of money to the poor. St. Nicholas was introduced to the U.S. in the early 1800s, and quickly mutated into a “right jolly old elf” thanks to the 1823 poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” commonly known as Twas the Night Before Christmas.” By 1890, children could meet live “Santas” at department stores – the new name having been taken from the Dutch version of Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas.

In the 1930s, Santa’s bearded face was strewn over advertisements for Coca-Cola, solidifying his status as Yuletide’s main man. These days, Santa is undergoing a new, politically correct transformation” Worried that his obesity sets the wrong impression, some greeting card companies have started to feature a leaner, healthier Santa on their Christmas cards. (The end)

Today’s America’s version of Santa Claus resides in the “Black House.” This Santa is spending billions of your tax dollars to win favor (votes) from the have-nots. This rotten government also destroys cities all across the globe and then spends billions rebuilding that which it destroys. And our infrastructure needs hundreds of billions or at least 1 trillion dollars to fix. It is Christmas time always for bankers who control the fiat paper called money. The media hardly ever mentions the hundreds of billions in interest we’re stuck with.

My best present I ever got was being born in America. I look around the world; all the suffering, people afraid just to shop. Famine and disease, tyrannical governments and yet there were people like the following person – Mother Theresa, who was the epitome of giving . . . possessed a heart richer than gold.

I have an artist friend who drew a beautiful sketch of her. He sent two copies – asking her to autograph each and enclosed a $50 dollar check. Several months later, lo and behold, two signed copies were returned along with the $50 dollar check with a note attached – “Give it to the poor,” and signed by her.

Once per year the caring people in Phoenix, a few days prior to Christmas, would have a gift-giving for all who showed up at the local football stadium. The gift was a stocking full of candy and some fruit. There was an elderly man who walked by the house once in a while always carrying a knapsack full of candy. But every Christmas Day, without fail, he would present himself to share his candy. It is these simple acts of kindness that formulate my love for America and its people. I shall always be proud of my American birthright. I am grateful for the goodness within America, regardless of the ups and downs we are put through every generation by the misguided.

Should our people not pay attention, the holiday season as we’ve known could disappear in a generation. Already a school somewhere has cancelled the annual visit of Santa Claus to the classroom and then we have the commercialization of Christmas Carols with different lyrics to sell products. Some caricatures of Santa are making him out to be less obese – political correctness is destroying my America, it’s everywhere.

And I’m sorry to say, many in America don’t understand what is happening or care. They, like I used to be, still believe these rotten bastards in the U.S. government are doing the right and honest thing for the country. Besides Congress and the White House, the judiciary keeps chipping away at our rights,

Just the other day the Supreme Court ruled that police can now use any evidence found in your car after a routine traffic violation stop. See how government slowly eradicates the sanctity of private property. Remember, nobody, especially the courts, may change what the Constitution reads unless you say so – the Amendment process Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution.

But our greatest threat is the U.S. Government and the communist media. We have communists in control and, a political opposition that is cowardly and indecisive . . . which capitulates on many issues – most of the time. The GOP won control of the Congress because it ran on the promise they would stop the first communist president and his communistic policies and the opposite has happened.

The GOP has betrayed us and is attacking the base that made it happened – the Tea Party movement and millions of conservatives and independents who voted for the GOP. The GOP leadership in Congress MUST change. Both Sen. McConnell and John Boehner are “establishment” who bullshit constituents back home. Opposition to these two scumbags is growing. Someone, somewhere, received 450,000 letters calling for the ouster of these two from their positions.

Many Repussycans are falling for this crap about Americans wanting the two parties to get along . . . it is the communist media that’s calling for this. Legislation was passed by Republicans in the House which would have created jobs only to be stopped by Sen. Reid from being voted upon. Dozens of bills passed by GOP legislation collects dust. After law violations, lies, and charges of racism and class warfare – Democrats want to work in a bipartisan way? Go to hell you bastards! And watch how the GOP capitulates – you asshole cowards! I love you America.

Quote of the day: “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” (Mother Teresa)






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