For twenty years during the holidays, there’s been a decorated tree in the lobby of the Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana, California. In recent years, reports this Orange County Register, the tree has held wish cards the courthouse’s ‘Operation Santa Claus’ effort.
Members of the public would come and grab tags – which sought donations for specific children. Last year, the courthouse got 374 presents for the toy drive.
This year someone complained. And the tree came down. If I was wanted to buy into the “vast right wing conspiracy” I’d say it was some neo-con who made the call in order to propigate the “War on Christmas” BS.
Granted there are a few reasons to complain: The glittery plastic tree went up before Thanksgiving. Hideous. Like, could we swallow and digest Granny’s green bean casserole before “Run, Run, Rudolph” hits the airwaves? And yeah, the tree going up–and all super early Xmessery–is an attempt to remind shoppers to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales when shopping. Oh heck, I get het up as red and green shares retail space with Halloween’s orange and black. Around Labor Day! Jesusmarymotherofgod, please slow down!
Oh wait and speaking of Jesus, the guy at the center of all this Xmas mess, it’s not a “Christmas tree” and certainly not a “Hanukkah bush.” The nifty pine tree is pagan fertility and solar phallic symbol, a vestige of Europe’s pre-Christian religions which colonizing Christians of the time grafted onto their faith as a way to gently convert the natives. (Reminder: There were only two major forms of Christianity prior to 1517, Roman and Eastern–later called Eastern Orthodox–Catholicism; a schism had begun circa 400 between Rome and Constantinople, based on part over the pressing question of “Should the communion wafer be made from leavened or unleavened bread?” Oy. Then came the Protestant Reformation 1100 years later.)
Currently here are a few sects of Christianity which are pretty grinchy about Xmas decorations and holiday gift giving because of the non-Christian origins of those practices and/or because life is a pile of pain and no one should have any fun.
Bottom line though, gift giving at this time of year has become a cultural tradition. Though, if retailers can put items on such deep discounts the day after Thanksgiving, can’t they just charge lower prices all year?