christmas sucks

It’s official. Myself and a good number of people behind me declare that Christmas really does suck, and should be canceled with all the stress, hypocrisy, and gluttonous spending it represents.

We are not scrooges, nor are we schmucks. In fact, we are people who are very kind, generous and giving throughout the year, and find the Christmas idea of giving as contrived as the acting on a late night infomercial.

The fact is, we are all tired of it: the crowds, the traffic, and the line-ups. We no longer choose to wonder aimlessly down the crowded isles of department stores, picking out gifts with as much thought as pocket calculators; devices that know only one thing: that they should by something for somebody, because that’s what they are supposed to do at this time of year.

Nero once said: as long as you keep the masses happy with bread and circuses, you can control them. Like $13 movies and $5 Pepsi’s, Christmas is a circus in itself. Its a sham, a way of feeding the pockets of the wealthy by encouraging the desperate masses to be generous and open their wallets and spend more and more of the money they don’t have. The sense of power and control that consumers feel when they use their bank or credit cards lasts about as long as it takes Visa to send them a bill when its all over. And any hopes of getting out of the financial shackles they’ve grown into dissipates into yet another year of interest payments, and any hopes of North America’s average savings rate to rise above 0% vanishes into the next 12 good ol’ days of Christmas.

Look at it this way: at Christmas, do the companies you work for, the same companies that invest millions of dollars every year into TV commercials that convince you to spend your savings on presents, do they show you any generosity by giving you a week off – not even a paid week off – to be with your families? What about their contribution to the Christmas spirit? Most of the people I know had to be back on the 26th. Every year, Christmas becomes less and less an act of giving and more and more a payoff for not seeing your loved ones enough.

The fact is, Christmas has little to do with religion, and it has little to do with giving:

A) It’s neither mentioned in the Bible, nor is it for certain when the three wise guys made their way across the desert to find the baby Jesus. The Christmas tree is just a mishmash of beliefs from China, Egypt, Germany, and the lights are representative of an ancient ritual where victims were burned alive as an offering to convince a sun god to warm things up a little.

B) Santa Claus, the old Santa Claus, not the contemporary Santa Claus invented by Coca-Cola, but the original one known as Saint Nicholas, was a simple Bishop living in Turkey who once a year – NOT DECEMBER 25th – would stuff candies and trinkets into the little shoes of children. He did this because he, and the children were poor. Then, it was a humble act of giving. Now, in today’s North America, it’s not about giving, it’s about spending. It was an idea bread from poverty, and was never meant to be a novelty of luxury.

C) The original idea of Christmas has about as little to do with a developed country like ours, as Buddhism – another idea bread from poverty – has to do with BMW driving yuppies in Kitsilano, Vancouver.

And so, it is for these reasons, that many others and myself believe that Christmas should be canceled and replaced with daily acts of giving. Instead of one day of spending, people everywhere could enjoy showing their appreciation for one another in the some of the following ways:

1. Don’t tailgate. Its annoying.

2. Start a conversation with a complete stranger, every day.

3. Never send group emails, like this one.

4. Volunteer once a week.

5. Look people in the eye and say “please” and “thank you.”

6. Don’t be a snobby, ignorant bigot.

7. When some one wants to change lanes in front of you, don’t speed up and try to block them.

8. Don’t complain or brag repeatedly about your problems, they are meant to be solved, not worn as a badge.

9. And when you complain about your problems, don’t snub the advice you receive. When people give advice, they are giving a bit of themselves.

10. RAK: Random Acts of Kindness. Do one nice thing for someone, every day.

11. Don’t swear.

In conclusion, we believe that by following some of these examples everyday, instead sheepishly heeding the corporate call to the cleaners every Christmas, we could make life better for everyone ever day.

Happy Holidays (what holiday?)

Dear Dan Savage

The following is an old entry that was erased by my substandard server, who even with the $100 US activation fee for all its members, couldn’t be bothered to back up their files in case of a server failure. Luckily we did.

Dan Savage is a popular sex advice columnist. He deals out advice to wide spectrum of society, but mostly to the gay community. This is a letter I wrote to him:

Dear Dan Savage,

I read your column last week about the guy you said was the closet-gay. It got me pretty worried. I read your column every week, does that make me gay? I am in some kind of denial? To make things worse, I usually read your column in my boxer shorts, and although I have never been aroused while reading your column, I usually eat olives while I read, and if you really look at an olive, I mean, its shape is well, you know.

And this guy, the closet-gay, says he fooled around with his best friend when he was in his early teens. Well, though I have never fooled around with another man, I was on the wrestling team in junior high and I kissed a friend on the lips at New Years Eve Party. Do these count? And this guy, the closet-gay, says he sometimes fantasizes about having anal sex. Well, although I have never wanted to have sex with another man, I remember now when I was 12 I sometimes used to look curiously at the bulges in my male teacher’s pants when they crouched, and sometimes when I see a handsome man on the street, I will think to myself “my, he’s handsome.” Do these things mean something?

And an old girlfriend of mine showed interest once in having a threesome with another girl. I didn’t want to because I wouldn’t know whom to thank. Anyway, is she gay? Am I gay because I said no? And another old girlfriend of mine fooled around with her best female friends a couple of times, and the decided to call it quits because of lack of interest. Is she gay? Can a woman fool around with another woman and not be gay? Can a man? Can you go back once you’ve crossed the line? Or is the gay lifestyle more like the Mafia, where once you’re in the only way you can get out again is feet first? Are there gays who are closet-straights? Are you? How can you be sure you’re not in denial?

Are we all supposed to take sides? Or is this a phenomenon of the oppressed, your lines so rigidly drawn by a society that fears, and sometimes hates you? And don’t these lines perpetuate the fear and strangeness? Aren’t they what make being gay something you have to deny, like a tumour?

A lot of questions, I know. But we monitor each other and ourselves so closely now. In the past and even today, the gay lifestyle has been seen as one of sin and wickedness and sickness, and in your struggles to change the world you’ve taken those opinions and made them camp. It is still a fearful world, but I believe lines have softened and society has changed for the better, but has the gay community changed? Can things become a little more fluid, Dan?

I believe you are the things you do when you’re not thinking about them. But I guess if this way of thinking gets out, you might be out of a job.

Rocco de Giacomo

Ps I’ll say in advance that what I said about the improvement of society will be completely subverted next week when, after reading this letter on my website, all my friends and family will call up and ask me if I am gay.