xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' The Font of Noelage: December 2015

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Christmas for sale.

I love Christmas. ‘Tis the season to be merry, joy to the world and God rest ye merry, gentlemen. Oh, yes, it is the season of peace on earth and goodwill to all. Hallelujah! 

Well, maybe that was how it used to be but, sadly, things have changed and Christmas is a word that may now only be whispered among the faithful. Some people, somewhere, have decided that celebrating Christmas, or even saying the word, could cause offense to others. We are not sure who “they” are, but that is what “they” say.

And now it is official. Christmas is a feast largely celebrated by big department stores and shops both large and small.

I have a friend who sings in a choir. Last Christmas her choir was going to perform some Christmas carols so she decided to put a notice on the Community Notice Board at her local shopping centre. The notice invited everybody to a performance of Christmas carols to be sung in Trinity Church on a Sunday before Christmas

Fair enough. Well, actually, no! The management of the shopping centre told my friend that she could not put her notice about the carol singing on their notice board because…wait for it…the performance was going to be conducted in a church. 

In a church? Those big shopping moguls could not handle that. They told my friend to remove her notice forthwith. I mean, the very idea; singing Christmas carols in a church. What next? People will start to think that Christmas is some sort of religious feast and not the frenzied shopping spree that it has now become. Oh, yes, those shop keepers want us to celebrate Christmas religiously in their shops from when the last Easter eggs melt in March until after the sales start on Boxing Day. But, in a church, never!

Ah, yes, Christmas. How fondly we think of that silent night so long ago in Bethlehem. But was it so silent? There were the three wise men and their entourages, several shepherds and their baaing sheep, the cattle lowing in the fields and some noisy animals in the stable around the mother and child. Outside, a reliable source tells us that a heavenly host of angels loudly proclaimed, “Alleluia. Alleluia. Christ, the saviour, is born.” To top it all off a very bright star was shining and making it very, very difficult to get to sleep.

In my mind’s eye I can see a harried St Joseph stepping out of the barn and waving up to the Herald Angels and saying, “Thanks, guys, for your good wishes, but it has been a very hard day for me pregnant missus. We’ve travelled to Bethlehem on a slow moving donkey. There was no room at the inn and my wife felt quite wonky. Now the baby’s been born and they both want some quite, but you guys up there are making a riot.”

Hopefully the angelic choir took the hint and went off on celestial wings to go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and far away. Then, as Joseph turned to go back inside, one of the shepherds calls out, “Well, anyhow, Joseph, how are the wife and baby?”

To which he no doubt replied, “They are both in a stable condition, thank you.” Boom! Boom!

Those Herald angels sang about “Peace on Earth”, but just over 2000 years later, what we have now is PC on earth. Yes, folks, we are in the age of Political Correctness and PC says that nothing, but nothing, can be written, sung or said about Christmas that could possibly be ever so slightly offensive to another person, religion, sect, tribe, ethnic group, race or football team, excluding the New Zealand All Blacks, of course.

Last Christmas I received a newsletter from the ABC wishing me, “A very merry...” Was the ABC wishing me a merry three dots? Further into the newsletter, the ABC hoped I enjoyed the festive season. Obviously dear old Aunty ABC’s lips could not frame the word “Christmas.”

I also received cards from my two local members of parliament who wished me “The compliments of the season.” But what season?  At first I thought it was the cricket season, but it can’t have been because every night the commercial TV news programmes had extensive coverage of footballers running, jumping, jogging, sniffing drugs or appearing in court
A federal minister signed off in the December issue of his department's magazine by wishing everyone a “Happy holiday season.” Obviously he was not referring to the thousands who will be working flat out from Boxing Day onwards, in shops open seven days a week, flogging unsold Christmas goods in department store sales across the country.

Some in the Politically Correct Parliamentary Brigade are even telling us that Christmas should be renamed as “A Designated, Non-Compulsory, Penalty Rate Free Public Holiday.”

These days, Christmas in schools can only be celebrated if equal time is also given to Hanukkah, Ramadan, Eid, The Druidic Mid Winter Solstice, Confucius’ Birthday, The Ides of March, Halloween, Hindu Nirvana, Buddha’s Enlightenment, and the Melbourne Cup.

As for Father Christmas, AKA dear old St Nicholas and jolly old Santa Claus, he now needs to get a police clearance, refrain from placing children on his lap, stop ringing his bell loudly and shouting out “Ho, Ho, Ho!" in case parents, or litigious neighbours, bring in legal proceedings for child molestation, lewd language or crimes against the Noise Abatement Act of 1998.

However, in the face of all this I say, do not despair. The Spirit of Christmas will not fade. The churches may be losing their influence over our festive celebrations. We may be changing the very nature of the personal greetings we extend at Christmas time, but never fear folks, Coles, Myer, David Jones and Woollies will never, ever let Christmas die out. Christmas may be dying in our schools but it lives on stronger than ever in the big stores. Their favourite Christmas song is the cash register’s version of “Ker-chingle bells, ker-chingle bells, ker-chingle all the way.”

Those stores just love Christmas. In fact they love all religious festivals. That is why it will be no surprise when on the twelfth day of Christmas, January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, those major stores will already be selling Hot Cross Buns and Easter Eggs.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

The Australian newspaper printed an edited version of this story on Thursday, December 3, 2015. As usual they left out the best bits.
You can read it here.