Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Too much Christmas

The stores are already full of Christmas decorations; "Christmas" music plays in the background; movies with Christmas themes are in the theatres - and it isn't even Thanksgiving yet. Joseph Bottum laments the loss of Christmas itself which has become an anti-climax.
Christmas has devoured Advent, gobbled it up with the turkey giblets and the goblets of seasonal ale. Every secularized holiday, of course, tends to lose the context it had in the liturgical year. Across the nation, even in many churches, Easter has hopped across Lent, Halloween has frightened away All Saints, and New Year’s has drunk up Epiphany.

Still, the disappearance of Advent seems especially disturbing—for it’s injured even the secular Christmas season: opening a hole, from Thanksgiving on, that can be filled only with fiercer, madder, and wilder attempts to anticipate Christmas.

More Christmas trees. More Christmas lights. More tinsel, more tassels, more glitter, more glee—until the glut of candies and carols, ornaments and trimmings, has left almost nothing for Christmas Day. For much of America, Christmas itself arrives nearly as an afterthought: not the fulfillment, but only the end, of the long Yule season that has burned without stop since the stores began their Christmas sales. [the article is behind a subscription wall - subscribe here. It's a very good magazine.]
FIRST THINGS: A Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life


  1. For myself (as now Orthodox) we don't have Advent. However, the Nativity fast begins Thursday until the 25th of December.

    We're also trying to spread the gift aspect out, giving a little less and giving some out on St. Nicholas feast day (December 6th).

  2. I was under the impression that Orthodox celebrated Christmas in January, about the time the Western church celebrates Epiphany? Obviously that isn't true of all Orthodox and I need to do a little research.

    I've had friends who decided to delay gift-giving until Epiphany - they said it removed the "what am I going to get?" from Christmas Day itself, seemed appropriate, and allowed them to take advantage of post-Christmas sales.


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