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Reclaim Christmas for Christians

Separate Jesus from Santa
  (+11, -12)
(+11, -12)
  [vote for,

Every year, it's the same thing; Christians say the holiday is too commercialized, and everyone else says that Christianity is being forced upon them. The solution is simple: separate Christmas into two holidays. December 25 will remain the familiar commercial holiday with Santa, and Jesus' birthday can be celebrated in August. The "new" Christmas date will be closer to the actual date Jesus was born and free of secular impurities. Of course, we can't confuse people by having two different Christmases in one year, so one of the holidays will have to be renamed. Since Christ's name is in the word Christmas, it stands to reason that the Christians keep that name for the summer holiday. The year-end holiday could be called Santa Day. Of course, Christians would be morally obligated to boycott Santa Day, but that's not my problem...
juan2003, Jun 20 2001

No Christ in Christmas? http://biblehoax.com/Holiday.html
Apparently Christmas isn't as Christian as we think [juan2003, Jun 20 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

White Rabbits http://www.vuw.ac.n...ound/docs/lip18.pdf
Calum's link as a link. [contracts, Nov 23 2004]


       You seem to be missing the fact that the early Christians decided to celebrate Christmas near the winter solstice *specifically* so that they could hijack the existing pagan festivals already celebrated at that time, which 'coincidentally' featured a mythic icon to which Jesus Christ was in many ways similar.
angel, Jun 20 2001

       That was before Christianity was popular. The commerce industry has nearly hijacked Christmas. It's not solemn anymore. It's time to take a stand and tell those greedy businessmen that Christ isn't for sale! And I'm tired of hearing about Jesus at Christmas all the time.
juan2003, Jun 20 2001

       You Christians can celebrate whatever you want, as far as I'm concerned. But stay the hell away from my secular gift-giving, and don't bother me with your Jesus Day.
bookworm, Jun 20 2001

       Since when is Christ "not-for-sale?" He's the best money making product - EVER. Just take a look at the Catholic church. It's one of the richest institutions in the world. Did they get to be that way from a lot of bake sales? I think not. Do you ever watch sunday morning television or flip to any of the church channels on cable? Christ not for sale...pah.
Reverend D, Jun 20 2001

       "And I'm tired of hearing about Jesus at Christmas all the time."   

       Man, juan, it's too bad you're not famous. If you were, that quote would rocket right to the top of the list of the most memorable quotes of the new millennium.
beauxeault, Jun 20 2001

       'Christ isn't for sale'? It's well known that the Church used to sell indulgences.
angel, Jun 20 2001

       this baked by the orthodox christians of russia, ukraine, romania, greece, serbia, macedonia, lebanon, palestine, etc. who all celebrate christ's birth on 7 january each year. the people of those countries tend to give gifts on 1 january, st. basils's day, because st. basil is associated with gift giving. it is only in the "western" world that christmas has become a commercialised, secular affair.
mihali, Jun 20 2001

       BTW. [angel] you hit it right on the nose earlier. The church did in fact hijack a pagan holiday. They didn't like all their worshippers running around, having a good time without contributing to the church coffers.
Reverend D, Jun 20 2001

       We should restore the name Saturnalia the mid-winter festival as this was a time for feasting. It fits moderately well with the modern, commerical Christmas.
Aristotle, Jun 20 2001

       Really Christmas and Santa Day should alternate on a two-yearly cycle, or maybe a two-and-a-quarter yearly cycle with both re-setting to the 29th of February on the leap year. This would help me, anyway.
lubbit, Jun 20 2001

       [Rev D]: Not just one holiday. Easter is pinched from Ishtar / Astarte / Astaroth / Iostre, etc (whose guardians were rabbits or hares [hence the Easter Bunny, and the superstition of saying 'Rabbits' on the first day of each month], and who were moon goddesses [hence Easter Eggs {similarity of shape} and the stone covering the entrance to Christ's tomb]). Don't get me started on this!
angel, Jun 20 2001

       I'm with everyone else on this - I say reclaim Saturnalia for agnostics. Let's get rid of the over-commercialism, sure, but let's get back to proper mid-winter rituals like yule logs, wassailing (wassail is a mulled cider - I have a recipe if anyone's interested, it's delicious), evergreens in the house, etc. And let's try and keep our children believing in Santa until at least 5 (no hope I know, but worth a try). But hey, let's not cut Christianity out altogether - I do like a nice bunch of carol singers, but you just don't get them anymore. What I hate is the puritan, holier-than-thou attitude that says that even if you are Christian, you can't enjoy yourself, you've got to be all solemn and religious. Phooey - ask your local baptist church if religion and enjoying yourself don't go together...
goff, Jun 20 2001

       Mmmm... wassail...
PotatoStew, Jun 20 2001

       you know, it's hard to take this idea seriously when the user [juan2003] calls himself a "g--d--genius" in his user profile.....guess he was absent the Sunday that they covered Exodus 20:7......   

       The Encyclopedia Americana reads: "The reason for establishing December 25 as Christmas is somewhat obscure, but it is usually held that the day was chosen to correspond to pagan fesitvals that took place around the time of the winter solstice, when the days begin to lengthen, to celebrate the 'rebirth of the sun'...The Roman Saturnalia also took place at this time and some Christmas customs are thought to be rooted in this ancient pagan celebration" (1977), Vol. 6, p. 666 (I kid you not about the page number :-)   

       Easter, as pointed out by angel, is from Astarte (one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven) and comes to us from Babylon as a celebration of the return of spring and included fertility symbols (bunny wabbits and eggs), hot cross buns, sunrise services, dyed eggs, and even a "good Friday" celebration.   

       New Years Day was established by Julius Ceasar in 46 BCE as a day dedicated to Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings.   

       Halloween can be traced to a Druid ceremony in pre-Christian times. The Celts had festivals for 2 major gods, a sun god and a god of the dead (called Samhain) whose festival was on November 1, the beginning of the Celtic new year.   

       Valentine's Day comes on the feast day of two different Christian martyrs named Valentine. But, the customs connected with the day come from the ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia which took place every Feb 15, a festival that honored Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage, and Pan, the god of nature.   

       There are several paegan movements to "reclaim" all of these from the Christians who stole them (in other words, paegans don't need to call a day "Santa Day" because there are older, better names to use which pre-date Christianity by centuries). If [juan2003] wants to start a Christmas in August, that would be fine with the paegans I know...and he can keep the name too.
Susen, Jun 20 2001

       I wasn't aware that New Years Day was a Christian holiday and in need of any "reclaiming".
PotatoStew, Jun 20 2001

       Susen, re your comments on Ex. 20:7, I think you're mis-reading juan2003. Despite some of his comments that might lead to an opposite conclusion, by my inference he's closer to your camp than you think.   

       goff, you're not with "everyone" else on this.   

       (holding off on rant).
beauxeault, Jun 20 2001

       Regardless of historical antecedants, let's just stop buying expensive garbage to 'celebrate' all these holidays. No more mounds of plastic Easter eggs, no more unwanted jewelry for Mother's Day and yet another costly electronic gadget for Father's Day, no expensive, waxy chocolates for St. Valentine's Day...just listing all this makes me want to spit. Go ahead and put Christ back in Christian Christmas, and Druids back in Druidic Christmas, and Saturn back in Saturnalic Christmas, or whatever. Aetheists can go outside and howl for the sun to come back (that would be me). Bah. Humbug.
Dog Ed, Jun 20 2001

       I simply work off the "randomly generated holiday" system. It's Wednesday!!! Here's a gift. It works well for our family as we despise most of the holidays. We do make the exception of Christmas for the kids (no adult present exchanging allowed), otherwise it's pick a day and go with it.
Reverend D, Jun 20 2001

       Good for you, UnaBubba. And as a member of beaux and waug's Rant Hold Off Club, I'm doing my best as well.
PotatoStew, Jun 20 2001

       I think next saturday is rant day. Anyone know where I can purchase a good designer soapbox? Is it true that Ranto Clause will be bringing manifestos to all the good little bakers?
Reverend D, Jun 20 2001

       Sorry guys, you've lost me. My annotation re: "everyone else" was purely in relation to posts already made, which seemed to favour the approach that you should be allowed to do whatever you want to do, and let everyone else do what they want to do. Live and let live, that's my motto.
And I do think it's overcommercialised, but I still don't see why 'freeing it from secular impurities" as juan2003 puts it means you can't have a good time. Although I'd say I lean towards the agnostic, I was brought up in a christian family, and as far as I learnt at Sunday school, the time for solemn reflection on the meaning of life was Easter ... Christmas was a celebration of Christ's birth, so why not celebrate?
goff, Jun 21 2001

       Lest my "rant" comment be misunderstood, let me stipulate that I am not offended by the original idea nor any of the discussion about the origins of the Christmas celebration, the hypocrisy of its over-commercialization, or even the Christ-for-sale stuff. I even agree with most of it.   

       My rant is really more of a plea for us all to turn away from generalizations based on isolated incidents, yet which defame large numbers of individuals sincerely trying not to be judgmental and hypocritical while remaining true to a faith that has radically transformed their lives. The "rant" is a much more fully-defended plea, which we've learned before does not belong on the halfbakery, but should perhaps be pursued in emails.   

       If the above is enough of a rant to send anyone else off on a rebutting rant, rather than posting rebuttals, just let me know and I'll remove it. That way maybe we can avoid turning juan2003's idea into a useless flame war.   

       goff, your use of "everyone" does make sense in light of the preceding annotations, so I apologize for misunderstanding you. And back on topic, I definitely agree about celebrating at Christmas, and I think most Baptist churches agree, too.
beauxeault, Jun 21 2001

       just to show where the real christmas has gone to, Santa, who has been pretty much created for the commercailised Christmas is an anagram for SATAN - a co-incidence? i don't think so
dekoi, Jun 21 2001

       6 Dec. Feast day-St. Nicholas, called "of Bari", Bishop of Myra (Fourth Century). ---Santa
Reverend D, Jun 21 2001

       [dekoi]: Satan is a corruption of 'satanas' (or something very like it) which is Greek for 'accuser'. The word/name occurs (so I am told) only once in the OT. It was only very much later that Satan came to be one character cognate with 'the devil'.
angel, Jun 22 2001

       (Not all the fanboys. Half of them assume everything is in the original trilogy, if you _understand_.)
hello_c, Jun 23 2001

       angel: actually, I recall hearing somewhere that Christmas was set at the same time as Solstice so that celebrants could invite themselves to two celebrations in the same day. Seems like a good plan to me.   

       Maybe we should rename Christmas's current incarnation "Mr. Hankey's Omni-Religious Gift-Exchange Day," or whatever they called it.
nick_n_uit, Jun 23 2001

       No, the current xmas music isn't -nearly- as annoying as that stupid show.   

       As far as I'm concerned, the christians can have xmas back if they agree to take all the lousy music that goes with it. And to have the guy who wrote 'jingle bell rock' killed. Or if he's already dead, dig up his bones and bang them together so his ghost has a headache through all eternity.
StarChaser, Jun 24 2001

       Did you here about the dyslexic devil worshipper?
Sold his soul to Santa...
goff, Jun 26 2001

       Ok well most of the early Christian's lived within the Roman empire and as these days were holidays( well at that time feast days since the term holiday comes from holy day) they did not want to worship false God's so they celebrated special events concerning Christ on these days instead. As for the comments about pious holier than thou solemness, not all Christians celebrate it in such a way. I think you should not say such things without at least seeing that Christians also have fun during the Christmas. As for the exchanging of presents the wise men from the east brought gifts to Christ which is why Christian's also exchange gifts. As for the comment about Christian TV channels I am personally against people who say if you give me money you will be saved as this is hypocrytical and how they justify this with the Bible I don't know. If they are asking for money to help keep the station on the air those people who enjoy it will send money and there is nothing wrong with that. I hope I haven't preached at you too much. All I want to do is put my point across. Anyhow when it comes round to the 25th I will be celebrating the birth of Christ.
Monkeyboy2, Aug 02 2001

       [Monkeyboy2]: The wise men's gifts were no more original to Christianity than was the virgin birth. These, along with every other Christian motif, were borrowed from existing iconographies. You may well celebrate Christ's birth on December 25th, but that's doesn't mean that that's when it happened (assuming that it happened at all). I'm not criticizing Christianity or your following of it, but you need to be aware that it is no more 'correct' than any other faith. Failure to recognize this makes you a bigot, which I trust you are not.
angel, Aug 02 2001

       //you need to be aware that it is no more 'correct' than any other faith. Failure to recognize this makes you a bigot, which I trust you are not.//   

       You're trying to impose your own beliefs on Monkeyboy2 here, angel, and calling him names if he doesn't agree with you. That makes you the bigot. There is nothing wrong with thinking one thing is more "correct" than another. That is the essence of belief. You are doing the same thing: you think that your belief that all religions are equally right (or wrong) is the correct one. Fine for you. Don't try to shame someone else into agreeing with you.
PotatoStew, Aug 02 2001

       //'Christianity is not at all intolerant of other religions.'//
'Any person who has openly been denounced by the church and justly cut off from its fellowship and excommunicated is to be regarded by the whole body of the faithful as a 'pagan and swindler' until he is openly reconciled by repentance and received back into the church by a judge who has the necessary authority in such matters.'
'Contrary to what some Anabaptists claim, the wealth and possessions of Christians are not common, as far as the right, title, and possession of them is concerned. Nevertheless, everyone ought to give freely to the poor from what he possess, according to his means.'
This hinges on the interpretation of 'correct'. If someone believes that only his faith is correct and others are incorrect, he is, by definition, a bigot. ('One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.' - Dictionary.com.) I certainly do not mean to imply that the follower of any faith is necessarily a bigot, and if that impression was given, then I unreservedly apologize.
angel, Aug 02 2001

       I think the problem actually hinges on the meaning of "intolerant." One can think other religions are incorrect (in the sense of thinking that they believe in something that isn't true) without being intolerant of them. Disagreement does not imply intolerance. Therefore, one believes his religion to be correct and someone elses to be incorrect, that alone doesn't make him a bigot. Only if he tries to force the other to believe the same, or tries to cause harm (physical or mental), then he becomes a bigot. (And I also apologize if my other annotation sounded too harsh... I am sure that you are not in fact a bigot, angel.)
PotatoStew, Aug 02 2001

       Your correct interpretation of my imprecise terminology is gratefully accepted. It seems that we agree.
angel, Aug 02 2001

       Not knowing a lot about this, and definitely not wanting to get into a multi/dialogue about it... I and most people I know are of the opinion that the three major faith-groups, with the exception of extreme denominations within them, are in agreement on the historical facts on which we base our respective faiths. Whether these facts are indeed true is an entirely different story. So as a "mainline to liberal Protestant" as I have stated elsewhere on the site, I am only in disagreement with Muslims and Jews in that I believe in a different Prophet. (Yes, I know there are a lot of other differences, but to condense it, that's how I'm going to describe it.) So I suppose, because I see nothing in many of the minor religions and even in the philosophical structures under which they have developed, I would not disagree that I am bigoted against those, by the dictionary.com definition stated in [angel]'s annotation. But not as in [PotatoStew]'s, where: 'Only if he tries to force the other to believe the same, or tries to cause harm (physical or mental), then he becomes a bigot.'... coz I wouldn't do that. Honest, guv.
lewisgirl, Aug 02 2001

       In reply to angel. Mybe I confused you but I do not believe that Christ was born on the 25th of December. I explained the reasoning by the reason we celebrate His birth on that day. It is more like a day to remeber Christ's birth. I do not want to start preaching on the validity of Christ as you will just say I am forcing my belief on you. I acknowledge there are other religions. I disagree with their beliefes but I respect them for having their beliefs. I do not threaten to kill or harm them or burn down their places of worship. This has happened to Christians over the centuries. I hope I have been careful enough in writing this to not offend anyone or call me a bigot. Thankyou for your time
Monkeyboy2, Aug 03 2001

       [Monkeyboy2]: Please do not take my comments to imply that I consider any person who holds a faith to be a bigot. I absolutely respect your right to hold whatever belief you have, and I do not consider attempts to explain that belief to be bigotry. Not holding any faith, I have no axe to grind. As an aside, I might point out that Christianity in its many forms has been responsible for inflicting as many ills as it has had inflicted upon it, but this again is no reflection on those who follow it.
angel, Aug 03 2001

       [waugs]: Part of the problem is that (imo) we have no way of knowing what Christ's message really was. Do we believe the Bible? If so, which part? Which version? As a trivial example, do we recognize the Prince of Peace or 'I come not to bring peace, but the sword'?
Regarding my handle, have you not read 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles'? (Not that I'm claiming any significance.)
angel, Aug 03 2001

       angel: i've heard that the only bible that can be believed is the original text which was written in ancient greek and hebrew. all the other versions lose some meaning in the translation, because there isn't a way to translate some of the words in those languages.   

       waugs: you forgot suicide bombers and others who kill in the name of god/yaweh/allah/insert deity name here.
mihali, Aug 03 2001

       The peace offered by the Prince of Peace is an internal peace -- a security within one's inner being, that allows one to live a more fulfilling life in a world where pain and suffering and crushed dreams happen. But in a world that wants to find its own salvation, faith in the Prince of Peace can result in ostracization and even persecution. The inner peace is more valuable than the avoidance of persecution. Understood properly, it is not a self-contradictory message, and one that has proven to be true in my own experience.   

       In fact, the amazing cohesiveness and unity of the various writings in the Bible is highly persuasive to me of its authenticity. I recognize that it doesn't seem so cohesive on the surface. I think many people fear what it might cost them (I'm not talking about money) to learn that the Bible is true, and approach it almost hoping to find a reason not to believe. Of course, anyone taking this approach is unlikely to dig deeply enough to see the cohesiveness (I am not accusing any halfbaker of this). But I think it is easier to see the cohesiveness if one approaches the Bible with the earnest desire to find out what it is that has convinced so many others over the centuries to commit their lives to it and to report such personal fulfillment.
beauxeault, Aug 03 2001

       Very well put, beauxeault. Like any other complicated subject, the Christian faith and the Bible can't be fully understood unless you actually get into it and study it and believe that it may have something worthwhile to teach. How much would you learn in a college classroom (history, science, whatever) if you were constantly looking for contradictions and lies in everything single thing the professor said rather than trying to absorb the message that was being taught?
PotatoStew, Aug 03 2001

       [mihali] //all the other versions lose some meaning in the translation//   

       Indeed. I don't read either Greek or Hebrew myself but I understand that a good example of this is in Yeshuah's famous saying "The Kingdom of Heaven is among you [us?]". There is an argument that the original text should more properly be translated as "The Kingdom of Heaven is *within* you", giving a far more mystical slant to his meaning (Heaven as a state of mind) than the usual literal interpretation (Heaven as pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die). This makes all the difference to me; As a dyed-in-the-wool humanist, I have little time for mythology (tales of miracles and wonder) purporting to be fact, but I have a lot of time for a revolutionary philosopher/prophet preaching humility, charity, mercy, etc., and willing to die for his beliefs. In a sense, I think, there is no "true meaning of Christmas" because of this - the message of spiritual enlightenment and defiant pacifism in the face of Imperialist oppression is quite distinct, for me, from the view that one man was born to be tortured and murdered as a scapegoat so that the rest of us can escape eternal damnation. The former I wholeheartedly support, the latter I reject absolutely; if I'm wrong, and there is a God and a Devil, a Heaven and a Hell, well, I'd rather be damned for apostasy than profit from a good man's murder. I apologise in advance for being, well, blunt, but I'm not at all sure that the birth of a "Lamb" bred for the slaughter is a cause for celebration (BTW: I understand the term 'lamb' is partly a play on the Aramaic 'imera' - meaning 'lamb' - and the Hebrew 'imerah' - meaning 'word', another thing we lose in translation).   

       So (circling convolutedly back on to the topic), for me, of the various meanings of Christmas - the pantheist midwinter celebration, the secular festival of materialism, the monotheist nativity celebration - ironically, it's the Christian interpretation that I find rather distasteful. A Sermon on the Mount Day, yes. A Descent of the Holy Spirit Day, yes. A Birth of the Scapegoat Day, no.
Guy Fox, Aug 03 2001

       Christians who tell us to be solumn (at christmas and at other times) don't do so through their christian beliefs but because they are boring people. sod them and don't taint the name of christ with their association.
greennightmonkey, Apr 10 2003

       speaking as a warty hag, I resemble that last remark.
po, Nov 22 2004

       I think the most important issue thrown up by this discussion is angel's reference to //the superstition of saying 'Rabbits' on the first day of each month// which strikes me as something he has made up for a laugh. Or perhaps not (see link by contracts (cheers, contracts!)).
calum, Nov 22 2004

       //to be bothered with a few warty hags// - were there any pictures of Matilda of Flanders?
PeterSilly, Nov 23 2004

       Done a quick bit of research and apparently she was very short - almost a dwarf - and very slender. She refused to marry William at first, claiming that she would rather be a nun, so William attacked and disrobed her in the street - nice.   

       Wonder if she had a beard...
PeterSilly, Nov 23 2004

       PS! hey there!
po, Nov 23 2004

       The Spanish Inquisition was more about preserving the political and practical primacy of the papacy than anything else. The same could be said of most of the actions of establishment churches, whatever their creed.
calum, Nov 23 2004

       Hi [po],   

       Just reactivated the ol' email account. Dropping in from time to time.   

       Can you define "Christian" for me in the context of this idea? It seems to me that there are many distinct belief systems all calling themselves "Christian" and all decrying the others. (sits back and watches flames erupt).
PeterSilly, Nov 23 2004

       //How much would you learn in a college classroom (history, science, whatever) if you were constantly looking for contradictions and lies in everything single thing the professor said rather than trying to absorb the message that was being taught?//   

       You'd certainly learn more than your professor did.
Detly, Nov 24 2004

       Ho Ho HO! Satan's Claws are coming to town.
Zimmy, Nov 24 2004

       //How much would you learn in a college classroom (history, science, whatever) if you were constantly looking for contradictions and lies in everything single thing the professor said rather than trying to absorb the message that was being taught?//

In a science class, the professors strongly encourage you to look for contradictions and lies in every single thing they say. That's what makes a good science student. The same goes for philosophy.
spacemoggy, Nov 24 2004

       wasn't jesus born in april?
napoleonstots, Jan 03 2005

       <borrowed joke> ...and if Jesus is supposed to be Jewish, why has he got a Puerto Rican name?</borrowed joke>
hippo, Jan 03 2005


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