bad_santa

There is a war for Christmas. No, not WTF but a War For Christmas. It is being threatened each and every single day. Year after year. And it is getting worse. Much worse. It is time to take Christmas back. It’s time to join the War For Christmas.

No, I am not talking about Bill O’Effing-Reilly. This is NOT a call to join Bill and his War On Christmas. Sorry Bill, you’re a stupid prick and saying anything positive about anything remotely associated with you will never happen on this blog. This is a war against your war. You like War On Terror? I like War For Peace. Yours was a War In Error. So this is my war. My war against your pathetic (again) misinformed half-arsed stupidity-induced right-wing-nut fake-Christian war. This is my War For Christmas. I want it back. And you have no choice. I was right back when we fought over the War On Terror and I am right again this time. So suck it up baby.

I like Christmas. I don’t like Xmas. Looks crap and sounds crap. Even though it comes from the Greek way of spelling Christ – Χριστός. It’s all Greek to me. I like good old Christmas.

Christmas – Christ’s mass… Not about presents and crap. It’s about mass. Getting together. Sharing a bond. Being the family we are meant to be. It’s about Christ. And it is about celebrating our Pagan heritage.

Huh?

Come on, Christmas isn’t even His birthday. In fact, we don’t really know when He was really born.

Maybe you should learn to celebrate Him and what He stands for every day. Make every day a day of Christ. Hum… That will mean loving instead of hating. Tolerance instead of war. No thank you. That will not do. It’s just too damn difficult hey? Let’s pick a date and act like we believe for a day.

So why pick the 25th?

Convenience…

Typical of some Christians, they were just too lazy to find the actual facts and just started invading. They liberated the Pagans from their little holiday. A crusade to bring Christ to all Pagans. Almost like when we try to take oil bring democracy to everyone today.

But let’s quickly step back to Bill’s Big Bitch – his (fake) War On Christmas…

The “controversy” is about people bitching about others (read governments, media, retailers, advertising and “other people like liberal-socialist-radicals”) not acknowledging the Christmas holiday. They bitch because people call it the Holiday Season or Festive Season instead of Christmas. It somehow takes away from Christian holiday… It’s mostly an American thing. Thank God for America yet again fighting on the side of the right and righteous. (Rolling my eyes…) Oh, a few people in Canada and the UK also bitches but that is more because they are Bill’s Bitches.

Sometimes they even bitch because people buy so much crap during this “holiday season”. The economy trumping Christianity’s religious celebration. But that is really fake. In so many ways.

On a minor religious point… Why the heck do you want to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the first place? I just don’t get that. You celebrate the fact that God had to send His own Son down because you messed up so badly and sinned so much that He had to offer His own Son up just to save your sorry arse? Yeah… be real proud people. You should feel ashamed by the fact that He had to do this in the first place. He went to the cross because you messed up big time. No – BIG TIME. Rather celebrate when He had to leave because that was the single act that saved your sorry soul.

Anyway… This isn’t meant to be a sermon. (But did you hear my voice booming from the pulpit? And the choir singing in the background? Damn, I heard my voice vibrate like those Southern Ministers! Hallelujah! Now cough up and fill those collection boxes. I need a guitar for Christmas…)

Look, I don’t give a damn whether calling it Christmas offends a non-Christian. I’m not too PC in that way. Grow up and grow a pair. Bloody hell, so many of our week days are named after Pagan gods and celebrations. Tolerances means letting people celebrate their religious holidays. I like it. More presents and more food to eat. And, most importantly, more days to party with my mates who are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist (and all other variations.) Party, party, party! Ha! The reason why I don’t like atheists is because they don’t have special party days. I’m easy that way – Call a party and I’m there. It’s called a free lunch. Who said we don’t have any?

Okay… Back to my rant.

It is a historical fact (ooh, I like facts…) that many of the “symbols” of  Christmas were taken from non-Christian traditions that pre-date the birth of Jesus – whenever that might have been. Decorating trees? Who did that? The wise men? And who kissed who under the mistletoe back in the manger? What? Were the shepherds gay? Holly wreaths? Was that one of the presents? And was it so cold they had to chuck a few more yule logs on the fire? Bet you that didn’t work too well. Christmas only recently “found” these WMD’s – Wreaths, Mistletoe & Decorations.

The season for a reason… Really…

The reason is to party and to get a guitar… Hum… I mean presents!

Like I said – Jesus wasn’t born on 25 December. Live with it. And I’ll get back to that just now-now. (A South African way of saying just now.)

I do have one major issue with those against calling it Christmas. Some of them also wants to force government to not make it a holiday anymore. Hey buddy… Piss off… Don’t touch the holiday or party. There will be some fisticuffs. African style. Woman! Bring me my spear and shield! Time to circle the ox-wagons. Our party and presents are threatened!

But when did all this crap about the War On Christmas start? The bloody Puritans again!

Yep, good old grumpy Cromwell wanted to remove all the WMD’s. Not a tree in sight. I think it was just because he didn’t get kissed under the mistletoe… And you might notice that the decorations stayed. And so did the presents, thank God. And this is when all this crap about Christmas started…

Old Cromwell and his grumpy elves struggled with getting the Christmas trees burned and the presents given to the church in monetary form. So guess what they did? Man, they were brilliant. They did the classic Trojan trick. They took it over from the inside. They just picked this date to celebrate  the birth of Christ. This was when all the crap started. When Puritans were less than pure with the truth. Because we know Jesus wasn’t born on the 25th. But who cares? It’s not as if the churches haven’t pulled a few tricks for dough before right? And they still keep on doing it today…

But wait – how about those trees hey? You know where this comes from? “For the customs of the peoples are false: a tree from the forest is cut down, and worked with an ax by the hands of an artisan. People deck it with silver and gold they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move.” Hey? Jeremiah 10:3-4. Damn. I guess that’s why we went with a fake plastic tree. Biblical speaking I am not sinning…

Actually, the early Protestant bitched a lot about Christmas. During the various Protestant reformations (more regular than the a Meryl Streep Oscar nomination), these Paganizing elements were a source of controversy. Some sects, I mean Puritans, rejected Christmas as an entirely Pagan holiday. Others rejected certain aspects of Christmas as Paganizing, but wanted to retain the “essence” of the holiday as a celebration of the Christ’s birth – even though it wasn’t on this day. It was a bit like the war in Iraq – bitching and fighting about something that never really existed.  But the fighting about Christmas has been going on ever since. And Bill has been bitching ever since.

But I want Christmas back. I want to call it Christmas just to piss people like O’Reilly off. But this whole passing of presents and having a party at the end of the year started way back before they made up a date for Jesus to be born. It started with the winter solstice.

You know the winter solstice? It happens “when the Sun’s position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observer”. Actually, I have no clue what that means. And I have read Stephen Hawking a few times…. All I know is that it tends to happens some time between December 20 and December 23 each year in the northern hemisphere. And between June 20 and June 23 in the southern hemisphere. Yeah! Christmas in June in Africa! Take that Bill-O! I get presents twice a year! 

So what about the 25th of December then? Ha! winter solstice was established on the 25th by the Julian Calendar. But quickly banned by the Catholic Church as a Pagan practice. But it was too much of a good thing for them to pass up on a good party I guess. They banned the celebration party of the sun and made one up for the Son. And kept  much of the folklore and traditions of local Pagan festivals. So today, the old festivals such as Jul, Коледа and Karácsony, are still celebrated in many parts of Europe (Pagans, Bill! Pagans!), but the Christian Nativity is now offered as the meaning behind the holiday.

How about that Yule hey? You know that Yule or Yule-tide was a German midwinter festival about a sacrificial feast that was absorbed into Christmas like I do with a meat pie? Or a Yule log…

Actually, it came from a German dude called Odin who used to fly high in the sky on his way to a hunting party. Big beard and everything. He didn’t have any Rudolphs pulling his wagin though. No good for a hunting party. He had an eight-legged horse pulling him across the sky. Oh, and he gave the kids candy if they left some straw, carrots and sugar for his Chernobyl horse. Guess where they used to put it? In their boots next to the fireplace… Now swap that for a pair of old stinky socks hanging in front of the fireplace and you get…

Really, those early Christians were even lazier than the current bunch of Bible-bashers calling themselves the religious wing-nuts.

And how about the fat dude in the red suite?

Father Christmas, the dude I grew up with and who is older than Santa Claus, was first recorded in the 15th century, but was seen as a bit of a party animal who created havoc, got drunk and acted like a stupid wino. Ha! It seems as if some of our family members still celebrate this way – creating havoc, drinking too much and acting like a stupid wino. Some things just never change. The French Père Noëlwas also a bit of a raving and raging drunk; as was the Italian Babbo Natale. But that might just be the Italians being Italian. Wearing funny clothes, getting pissed and making a lot of noise.

The best one comes from La Befana though. She was also a character during Christmas and was the bringer of gifts. Here is the Pagan clincher though. It is said that La Befana set out to bring the baby Jesus gifts, but got lost along the way. I think she was hanging out with old Father Christmas for too long… Too much drinking and partying if you ask me. Now, she brings gifts to all children. I guess she has been trying to suck up for the last 2,000 odd years…

Actually, Father Christmas is so Pagan that even calling him old comes from people bitching about the Church trying to take him away. He is “old” because of the antiquity of the old parties, which its defenders saw as a good old Christian custom that should be kept. So “old Christmas” was given a voice to protest the Church trying to kill him off. And they made him jolly just to piss off the Pope a bit more I guess. The opposite of the stern Pope? A pissed Father Christmas!

But President Bush would be happy to know that the old drunk has different names over in the liberated countries as well. Afghanistan calls him Baba Chaghaloo – my personal favourite because it sounds so funny when you are jolly yourself at Christmas. Baba Chaghaloo sounds like a drink, doesn’t it?

But Iran and Iraq is more in line with America. They both call him Baba Noel. Wonder if they’ve checked for WMD’s there? It might be under the red outfit. Hidden as a false fat stomach. Or under the Christmas tree? Or in that big bag he carries on his back! Quick Bill-O! I found the WMD’s!

I almost forgot another good one. You know that Saint Nicholas was the Christian inspiration for Santa Claus? He is a Greek Christian bishop who lived in the 4th-century. (Actually, the part he comes from is part of Turkey today.) He didn’t drink as much as his other European fictional counterparts, but he gave gifts to the poor. Creepy though as he gave more gifts to young girls… But he had the robe and beard to make him at least look a bit like Santa I guess. Here is the clincher for me. Old Saint Nick is also the patron saint for many diverse groups. Including… Pawnbrokers! For those unwanted presents! (Or thanks to the current economic climate?)

Sadly he is also the patron saint for both dope heads and corrupt bureaucrats. Sorry, I mean of Amsterdam and Moscow…

So now you know a bit more about Christmas. And that is why I want it back!

This is my War For Christmas. More drinking like Father Christmas and acting like a jerk afterwards. More handing out gifts like old Saint Nicholas. More trees from the winter solstice feasts. And more Yule logs from the Germans please. Did I mention the drinking and partying bit already? So it’s drink, trees, mistletoe, drinking, yule logs, trees and more drinking. Just like Father Christmas would like it.

Let’s keep on calling it Christmas. We’ll steal the name just the way they stole the party. But for the real reasons. The original paty time. Drinking and presents and a bit more drinking – and the family hanging out together. That’s authentic. That’s the real deal. 

Piss of Bitching Bill. Your War On Christmas is a joke bigger than you. And Father Christmas is funnier than you. And Odin will whip your backside with his one hand tied to his horse.

I’m taking Christmas back. Now where is my beer and guitar?

Actually, I want Odin back. I want those times back when we can sit around a fire and just be happy with each other. No pressure to shop or entertain or listen to Bill-O. He can have “Merry Christmas”. I just want to use the time to play with the kids in the snow, have some malt wine with my wife, stand around a fire with my friends – share good times and brag about the scars from our bad times. Just us and Odin. Laid back and not worrying about what to buy or what to call it. Call it what you want. Bill-O, you can have it. What you can’t have is the family, the friends, the fun, the love, the peace, the memories or the good times. That is mine. That is ours.

My War For Christmas. It’s not a war to call it Christmas. It’s not a war to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. It’s not a war for presents. Those are all fake. Stolen from the good times. Stolen to be corrupted by people for their own personal gain. Whether they are trying to sell you the latest Elmo or the newest Jesus.

My War For Christmas. It’s a war for us. It’s a war for ubuntu. It’s a war for peace, love and happiness.

And it is ours. Take it and own it. It’s my present to you. Love and be loved. Reach out and make new friends. Sit back and relax your tired bones. Smile and we will smile with you. Be with each other the way your always hope you could be. This Christmas… Just be what you want to be. Celebrate what you want to celebrate. Just remember to make memories and make peace with yourself and the world around you. Make memories you can believe in. Make you.

Merry Christmas everyone.

africamerrychristmas

______________________________

Note: And this last one is just for Bill-O. One of my favorite Christmas song ever. By The Pogues – Fairytale of New York…

Advertisements

merry_christmas_by_dimant

I love Christmas. Or at least this time of the year. Just love it.

I love putting up all the lights. Even though I know the Saudis are most likely laughing all the way to the bank thanks to increase in energy use. And I am talking about my household alone. We have lights everywhere.

It takes me 40 minutes to 2 hours to switch off all the lights inside. We have the tree and all the lights that go with that. The strings of lit-up garland hanging on every single doorway or opening or staircase or shoe-rack. If there is a space – we hang, cover and light it up. And then there is the small house that looks a bit like the witch’s house from Hansel and Gretel on the big chest in the living room. Of course it lights up. And the small trees in the girls rooms. Oh, and the small tree in the kitchen. The snowman on the piano. And… and… plus… and don’t forget the… And other gadgets and thingies that light up on every table and every desk and chair in our house. We like lights. We like lights… a lot.

And don’t forget about outside… I am Tim “The Toolman” Taylor from Home Improvements when it comes to lights outside. We have a few thousand strings of lights running all along the side of our stoep outside. I balanced carefully on the railing while hooking them up and stringing them up in the cold. I had to have my nose amputated because of the exposure to the New England weather. But that is okay – I have a huge nose… It runs in the family. My nose almost looks “normal” now. Like Gérard Depardieu… Or Steve Martin in Roxanne. Anyway, it’s the one thing where a smaller size do matter…

Okay… We also have a big old Santa outside. One of those Santas that needs a little machine attached to it to blow the air into old blow-up fat Santa. It looks cool – even though I have to tie him to the railing just in case the wind blows harder than 2 mph… But hey! He’s even got a little light insight! Don’t forget the red-and-white striped candy-cane sticks that light up! Four stuck into one pot plant and four in another one in the other corner. Oh… And then my personal favorite…

The reindeer with the lights all over and everywhere – and the lit up sleigh in tow. Of course the reindeer has a bobbing head. Nodding away his approval at my display of lights.

We love lights. And we love Christmas.

You think the Saudis love me? Wait until the Chinese toy manufacturers see what’s on the shopping list. “Dad! I want that for Christmas dad! Can I have that dad?” The list gets longer and longer. And then she’ll end up playing with the empty box for days. And the older one? Not saying what we are getting her, but it will blow her away. It is something that she does not expect. Not at all.

Still in doubt on what to get my beautiful and lovely wife. Wish I could get her what she deserves but the budget doesn’t cover that. And no, I am NOT getting her John Travolta or Brad Pitt! Hang on… Maybe Angelina will adopt me. I am from Africa. More than willing to sit on her lap. Or the other way around. Mmm… A Santa outfit… Snap! Back to reality! I have an even hotter wife – so there you go Brad my boy.

I am hoping for that guitar I always wanted. No, I don’t play the guitar. But I really want to learn. I hope I’m not too old. Babe… lovie… darling… can you get that Idiot’s Guide To Playing The Guitar to go with that? This idiot WILL need that. Actually, I need the whole series. Idiot’s Guide to… Life, the Universe and Everything. That might do it.

I love Christmas. Just love it.

Yeah, yeah. I’m not going to call it the “holiday season”. We celebrate Christmas where I come from so I’ll just call it that. We don’t celebrate it to divide us. We celebrate our differences as something that defines our unity. We feel sorry for Achmat when he can’t eat during Ramadan but will share a laugh and a meal afterwards. Same with Rosh Hashanah and Diwali. We hang out together and celebrate with each other. So Christmas is my time!

But I don’t like everything about Christmas…

The damn music…

I really don’t like Christmas songs. No one will like Christmas music if the topic was anything else. Imagine the same tune but another topic. Would you buy or listen to Boney M if they didn’t play Christmas music? Every second rate singer of the 80’s brings out a new Christmas album and hope that someone will buy it. And you know your mother will. How many Christmas albums can you possibly have? We have a few… Okay babe, I won’t go into all the details. But I still don’t get why Reba McEntire sounds any better singing about Christmas when I won’t buy her “normal” music. Okay, normal might be a stretch. And what is it about Harry Connick Jr and Christmas music? Come on dude, get a life! And we have a few Christmas CD’s… We have the Christmas Concert (Not Schubert or Mozart…), The Ultimate Christmas Album (really… Bucks Effing Fizz?), A Rock’ n Roll Christmas (who the hell is Elvin Bishop?), All Time Favourite Christmas Party Megamix (I personally like Supermegamix better), Christmas With The Stars (more Harry Connick Jr… And since when is Michael Bolton a star?), Christmas Sax (hum… Angelina, I said Sax), The 3 CD’s of The Ultimate Family Christmas (Yeah! Doris Day!) and White Christmas (not by Ian Smith) to name a few. Thank God we didn’t get that Chipmunks Christmas album. Hope the girls don’t read this…

Actually, I don’t mind it that much. I don’t like it. But I love seeing my wife play it. She loves it. Just loves Christmas music. And I love watching her sing to the music and smile at the songs. Play it again Harry and Reba!

But there is one specific song that really gets to me. In the wrong way. Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas?

I know they mean well. And their heart is in the right place. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions – just ask… hum… let’s leave him out of this okay? Let’s just say my mother used to say it.

There is one specific line that sticks out and gets to me. ‘And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas‘. Uh-duh. It is summer in most of Africa at Christmas time. Of course there won’t be any snow in Africa this Christmas. Or the next. No matter how many times you sing the song – there will be no snow in (most of) Africa at ANY Christmas. Especially not with Global Warming. It goes from damn hot to shit hot in Africa over Christmas thanks to Climate Change. No snow. No shit Sherlock.

It used to baffle me at Christmas time when people used to send us cards with snow scenery – snowmen, Father Christmas on his sleigh, reindeer, snowflakes falling etc. WTF? What’s that all about? We never got snow – Christmas or any other time. It never really got cold enough in winter for snow – never mind at Christmas time during the summer. It was a completely foreign concept. So when they started singing about it during Christmas it bugged me even more. Never got it. I was 30 before I saw it snow for the first time – in Europe.

But maybe it isn’t the song or my childhood memories driving my dislike Do They Know It’s Christmas? Maybe what gets to me is that more than 20 years later we still have all this shit going on in Africa. People suffering at a time when the world is indulging. Things are a little better than 20 years ago, but for the majority of Africans it is still marginal. So many of them work hours we can’t imagine and under conditions we will never survive. And they don’t bitch and moan. They just live their lives and carry on. They DO know it’s Christmas time, but just don’t see the point. It’s not much better than in 1984. Except it is now Sir Bob Geldof.

And anyway, what is it with that big fat white dude with the beard in the red tracksuit sitting in that donkey cart being dragged by a few antelope? And he is flying? In Africa? Dude… We might be from Africa but we are not stupid. I know a WMD when I see one. And a white dude flying across the sky with a load of boxes in his card… He’s going to do what? Drop it down my chimney? Get the f outa here. We don’t have chimneys in Africa. It’s too damn hot remember? Either he is dealing drugs or I am taking it. A fat white dude in a red tracksuit handing out present after he “landed” his donkey cart… Turn up the volume please. He obviously doesn’t know it never snows in Africa. But when it rains it pours…

Christmas. I love it. Because…

It’s Christmastime
There’s no need to be afraid
At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shade
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime

But say a prayer

Pray for the other ones
At Christmastime it’s hard, but when you’re having fun
There’s a world outside your window
And it’s a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you

Yep… Thank God it’s them instead of me.

And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime

Have fun. Don’t feel bad. It is time to celebrate and be happy about everything we have. Don’t worry too much about those who don’t have what you have. I am serious. Go out, buy some presents, have a feast, enjoy what you have and those around you. Forget about the worries of world for just a few days. Have a break. A Christmas break.

And then come back with a bang! Be ready to fight tooth and nail next year. Let’s make it a Christmas for all next time around. Let goodwill and peace hammer Africa into a snowy Christmas next time. Come out swinging. I know I will.

And maybe I’ll get that guitar and start singing with Bob and Bono and Bruce. Singing, “Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you“. And we’ll throw our arms around the world.

Damn. I hate that song.

2270041

______________________

Note: I “stole” parts of the last bit from a previous post of mine – Do They Know It’s Christmas?