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Orlov: Escape from the Merry Christmas Zone

Orlov: Escape from the Merry Christmas Zone thumbnail

I am not in the US at the moment, but in Russia. This means several things. First, today is not Christmas. (Christmas is on January 7th, having something to do with the Julian calendar. It is 3/4 of a day per century fast, but since it is only used for religious holidays, nobody cares.) Second, even for the Christians here, Christmas is a minor feast, far behind Easter. This is quite understandable: sure, immaculate conception is a bit of a trick, but it is nothing compared to the trick of rising from the dead after being crucified. Now that is one act you just never want to follow!

Third, the big holiday here is not Christmas but the New Year, which I much prefer. Actually, I would prefer to celebrate Winter Solstice, which is an actual observable astronomical event rather than an artificial date on an artificial calendar. That is what these holidays really were before the priests co-opted them: celebrations of light. Christmas was Winter Solstice, and Easter was Spring Equinox. And so, for once, I don’t feel compelled to even pretend that Christmas exists. But since this just happens to be the 25th of December—the day many readers of this blog happen to celebrate Christmas—and since this year it happens to fall on a Tuesday—the day of the week on which I publish a blog post—today I will blog about Christmas.

In all the years I’ve spent living in the US, I have always felt the urge to get the hell out of the country whenever Christmas approached. This is because it is a season when Americans are “struggling to celebrate the holiday with some semblance of normalcy” (I just heard this very phrase on NPR’s All Things Considered. The context is the mass murder of schoolchildren in Connecticut, but I find that it applies every year.) It is a stressful time when people rush around trying to find presents on which to deplete their meager savings (or, more likely, run up some more credit card debt) in order to maintain a commercially imposed fiction of normal family life. This often causes them to be overcome by feelings of alienation, depression and despair. As with that other great American holiday, Thanksgiving, people compensate for their misery with a bout of pathetic, self-destructive gorging, but Christmas is peculiar in that is also causes a spike in the suicide rate.

Now, I am certainly not against celebrating, whatever it is you want to celebrate; celebrating is good. I am not even opposed to celebrating Christmas (as I mentioned, immaculate conception is quite a trick, although the Egyptian god Honus clearly did it first). But I am against celebrating this most toxic of all American holidays: the holiday of Christmasshopping. Please kill it, and in so doing celebrate your vaunted freedom of which I have heard so much but seen so little. It shouldn’t be that hard: there is already a tradition of company Christmas parties, which are never held on December 25th. Now, just extend it to family Christmas parties. Hold them some time in January. Do buy some presents, if you wish, but be sure to buy them after Christmas, when the prices are lower. Use the savings to rent a hall, hire a band and have the occasion catered. Include not just the family but friends and neighbors. As for December 25th, throw a zombie party or something. Everyone loves zombies nowadays. Then maybe I’ll stop trying to flee the country every Christmas season.

club Orlov


13 Comments on "Orlov: Escape from the Merry Christmas Zone"

  1. Dmyers on Tue, 25th Dec 2012 6:25 pm 

    I love reading a diss Christmas article on Christmas Day. It’s a perspective that deserves consideration. I’m okay with doing away with it, but I’m loving the day off work.

  2. Hugh Culliton on Tue, 25th Dec 2012 9:48 pm 

    Wow, he sounds like my (recovering) Catholic dad! In his defence, Christmas is his birthday so he’s felt cheated since childhood.

  3. DC on Tue, 25th Dec 2012 11:55 pm 

    He is, as usual totally correct. What the N.A. consumer refers to as X-mas, does not even exist. Its nothing more than the fusion of two separate if complimentary fictions.

    The first, is that is the birthday of some non-existent son-of-gawd carpenter that allegedly existed 2013 years ago in that peaceful, tranquil place we call Israel these days. For which the only ‘evidence’ of anyone like that ever existing, such as it is, is largely self-referencing.

    The second, and more modern fiction, is about a jolly fat man that lives @ the North Pole,(which is melting btw), hope someone send him some hip waders for x-mas. This fat man flies around the world in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, and climbing down chimneys and dispensing toxic gifts made in Chinese factories to the specifications of western corporations(ie cheaply).

    The winter solstice fell on Dec 21st this year. No one locally, or any mass media noted the event, much less where any proper celebrations of it held. Not that this surprises me, given how enraptured most people are by the fictions I related above. Still I keep hoping someday that the so-called ‘christmas’ will go the way of dead irrelevant holidays this time of year would be returned to what it was 1000 years before X-tians ever came along.

    The winter solstice festival.

  4. Arthur on Wed, 26th Dec 2012 12:26 am 

    As Nietzsche lamented… “2000 years and no new religion!”. It is time to come up with something new, a religion not contradicting science, sychroniced with the rythms of nature and ‘beyond good and evil’.

  5. BillT on Wed, 26th Dec 2012 1:48 am 

    Christmas is an excuse to spend money you don’t have for stuff that is not needed and will be appreciated for about 5 minutes by your kids and forgotten by New Years.

    We always got practical gifts that day. Clothes were the most prominent of them. There would be one non-clothing gift. The big years were the year we got snow sleds or a bicycle. I remember the year I got my chemistry set. I still smell the results of my ‘experiments’. But, the best part of Christmas was the family get-together at grandma’s for dinner. All the aunts and uncles and their families were there and it was a time of fun and sharing, not e-mails and texts or brief phone calls like today.

    But we must shop-until-we-drop for this biggest commercial day of the year or the economy will collapse and we will be all starving by the next X-mas, or so we are told by the government. Well, the economy did collapse in 2008 and is in the I.C.U. on life support, in a coma and not expected to live. So, I say, “Pull the plug!” Lets get it over with so we can reset to a new, much lower life style while we still have a functioning earth to live on.

  6. Keith_McClary on Wed, 26th Dec 2012 6:09 am 

    According to
    Saint Nick was a 4th century bishop in south Turkey, and is the patron saint of pawnbrokers.

  7. ken nohe on Wed, 26th Dec 2012 11:59 am 

    I agree, we should do away with Christmas. And since there is no proof of Christ, 2013 can go too. I propose 227 AR (after the American Revolution) There is no reason to keep 12 months either, old Babylonian Astronomy, there should be 10 as well as 10 days per week. 24 hours per day and 60 minutes can go too. Once we’re done with these changes, we will live in a far more rational time. Children will expect gifts any day, whenever it is cheapest. We will tell them that St Nicolas never existed and show them pictures of the melting Pole to prove our point. What a wonderful world it will be. We will explain how frustrating the Christmas mad rush was and how tiring the piped music on a loop was. They will pity us, I am sure!

  8. BillT on Wed, 26th Dec 2012 1:06 pm 

    Since Xmas is only celebrated by some Western countries, it would not be missed by most of the world’s inhabitants but it would be by corporations ans stockholders. Take out the Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc, and you only have a few hundred million believing Christians left. If you take away the practicing Christians, you cut that number by a large percent. How do YOU live YOUR life?

  9. Joshua Martin on Wed, 26th Dec 2012 3:58 pm 

    Just to clarify: there are 1.1 billion Catholics in the world, and hundreds of millions of non Catholic Christians.

    There is an indisputable historical record of Jesus’ life and death, and the establishment of Dec 25th as the date of Christ’s birth was formalized in the 2nd century, but practiced liturgically from the time of the Apostles. It is ChristMass.

    Please,, . Don’t let this otherwise brilliant blog, which I cannot wait to read each Tuesday, get bogged down in anti religion. Pax

  10. Hugh Culliton on Wed, 26th Dec 2012 7:00 pm 

    To hell with the comercial and even religious overtones of this holiday season. And I’ll stop being a grump. Regardless of who we are, where we live, or what we believe, let’s just try to help each other more this year. Happy 2013 PeakOilers!

  11. GregT on Wed, 26th Dec 2012 8:25 pm 


    Most biblical scholars believe that Jesus Christ was born in late summer or early fall. Most likely in September. The apostles declared that celebrating Jesus’s birthday was to be a sin.

    December 25th was celebrated by the Babalonian Pagans as the feast of the Son Of Isis. The Romans celebrated it as Saturnalia, honoring the God of Agriculture. The Pagans of northern Europe celebrated Yule, in honor of the Sun God Mithras. All of these people were celebrating the shortest day of the year, or the winter solstice because the days would now be getting longer. They were looking forward to a new growing season.

    In 350 BC, Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth was to be celebrated on December the 25th. This was done to reel in the Pagans to the Roman Catholic church in order to control the masses.

    Our modern celebration of Christmas, including feasts, presents, mistletoe, trees, candles, and nativity are all deeply rooted in Paganistic ritual.

    The tradition of buying and wrapping gifts, has been largely a result of massive advertising campaigns perpetrated by modern department store chains.

  12. ken nohe on Wed, 26th Dec 2012 11:16 pm 

    Greg, Joshua is right, don’t go down this road. The whole Christian faith balances precariously on top of the Obelisk in St Peter’s square. The more you look, the more you’ll find that there is literally nothing to support it. (Just as for other faith.) Those who know, know and those who don’t just don’t what to hear any of it. So it is indeed a useless dialogue.

  13. ken nohe on Wed, 26th Dec 2012 11:43 pm 

    Babylonian Genesis
    Mose: Egyptian name, Egyptian faith!
    Christ: Not a Roman word about him.
    Paul: Certainly existed but he was Greek!
    St Peter: More than a Pagan hill?
    325 Concil of Nicea: Real birth of the faith.

    And you can go down the centuries to understand own everything was consolidated very slowly over the years by absorbing what could be, Christmas day among other and rejecting the rest. What is an amazing story but a story nevertheless.

    As for Christmas, any Nordic tribes would recognize the trees and the lights, but then what, isn’t it beautiful? Like many other things, it is slowly degenerating in the US, but this at least cannot be blamed on religion!

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