The symbols of this festival of commerce have multiplied as well, due in part to the music industry which issues new hit songs each year in hopes of hitting the big bucks with a novelty tune. Reindeer with illuminated nasal congestion, running down Grandma on Xmas eve, while Mommy is seducing St. Nick under the sacrificial conifer in the parlor. How did Frosty, the snowman, dancing in magic hat come to represent the spirit of Christmas? Santa himself has undergone a makeover, morphing from Thomas Nast’s jolly fellow into a grossly overweight caricature more closely related to Michelin tires than the night visitor who punishes or rewards children for their behavior.
But it is the reinforced guilt of gift giving as a duty of family and friendship that is the most offensive of all the various offenses. The spur of near mandatory gifting drives the American retail merchandising community. Most small business claim that their entire annual profit comes in the last month of shopping mania each year. To maximize the share merchants offer sales of huge discounts, whipping shoppers into a mad mob of materialist frenzy, trampling each other in the race to capture the few “loss leaders” advertised.
And, amid all this, whatever happened to Christ?
Dedicated to equal rights at all costs, government, local and federal, has decreed that religious displays must either be ecumenical, including any and all religions desiring to pitch their faith in public, or absent from the civic venue. Thus we have Menorah displays and the strange mixed symbols of Kwanzaa, a recently minted celebration of African heritage invented by a former FBI asset in the battle against the Black Panthers in the days of radical ghetto political war.
What was once a festive custom of religious meaning has become a shopping spree in which the only joyful tidings are gluttony and consumption the most conspicuous sort, in keeping up with the neighbors. In a time of energy crisis the power consumption of residential neighborhoods soars from intrusive and elaborate home decoration displays. In some cases seasonal music is piped over loudspeakers to spread the joy to any neighbors who might be trying to get a little sleep after the office party hangover.
All in all, another embarrassing example of our nation’s tendency to inflate events beyond any meaning, and turn a profit in doing so.
A lump of coal in the stocking for Uncle Sam this year.
“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views.