December 8, 2016

The War on Christmas: Christmas wins in name and everything else, so please buy books


349506695_3a618f9901_mLast weekend, my mother was visiting from Arizona and wanted to see The Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular. For those who have never heard of it, it’s eighty intermission-free minutes of Christmas theater crammed down your eyes/ears/hippocampus with narration from Santa Claus, ice skating, 3D projections of reindeer pulling a sled, disembodied legs of beautiful women dancing perfectly synchronized, and Christmas carols performed by a full orchestra.

*Deep breath*

So, yeah. Christmas on crack.

*Another deep breath*

Designed, I assume, by someone who took psilocybin after entering the light forest at Bonnaroo, the show features every Christmas reference imaginable. All at the price of — a lot. I guess it wouldn’t really be Christmas if you didn’t have to spend money.

This experience got me thinking about the War on Christmas. Donald Trump, true to politically incorrect form, made a campaign pledge of saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays,” and he has honored it at least once so far, at a campaign event last week. And Donald Trump surrogate Corey Lewandowski has all but declared the war over despite Fox News’s continued coverage.

So for the rest of us, we’re where we know we’ve always been. Christmas wins. And if there ever was a war, Christmas won it a long time ago. The Pew Research Center recently found that 81% of non-Christians celebrate Christmas, with over 90% of the Americans celebrating the holiday.

So the capitalist and materialist (and, yes, some parts of the Christian) message persists. In what Émile Durkheim called the collective consciousness, most of us honor the holiday and give it cultural significance at this point anyway. The moral being: Christmas wins. Coke tastes better than Pepsi. Pete Rose is a big cheater. Your aunt’s fruit cake is still a disgusting amalgamation of lard and year-old compote. You might as well shop ’til you drop and grab those good sales while you can! 

And since 44% of you might be buying books this month, I’ll go ahead and recommend a place to peruse some great ones?



Peter Clark is a former Melville House sales manager.