I’m dreaming of a commercial Christmas

Everyone is at it, so I suppose it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see the Pope on the bandwagon. According to news reports, Benedict hit out at the commercialization of Christmas and asked worshippers to ‘see through the superficial glitter’. Alrighty, I guess. A bit of a cliché, but then again, don’t we all want a Christmas when happy families come together and, after church and Christmas dinner, play games and talk?

Well, yes. Sort of. But the reality is that if we all did this, and stopped buying presents, having dinners and indulging in treats at this time of year the economic consequences would be serious. Of course we should try to see festivals such as this as community building opportunities, but I am inclined to think that quite a lot of what goes on around Christmas does just that: presents are an opportunity for us to try to understand and then give pleasure to people close to us, and parties bring us together. Christmas also often brings out the best in people, as support for charities and for good causes increases.

So, I think the Pope would do more good by reminding us of the ways in which we can all help to sustain each other. And as it happens, a bit of commercialization is one of them. Not least because it secures employment.

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9 Comments on “I’m dreaming of a commercial Christmas”


  1. I agree that commercialisation can contribute to community resilience, including employment. It’s a bit much tho when we go overboard to ‘impress’ others or when we feel it’s what we ‘should’ do.

    This year was one of the quietest and low key for my family. I went to my sister’s, we pooled food, had a small buffet and left overs were divied out. Presents were half craft and half bought, both aimed to met the practical needs of others (except the kids~ they got all play stuff!).

  2. kevin denny Says:

    I think it is a bit rich for the Pope to complain about “superficial glitter” given that he surrounds himself with it.

    • Don Says:

      Of course, it’s fashionable to have a go at the Pope this time of year (and most other times of the year, come to think of it) when he decides to open his mouth (and when the press decide to use paper-selling vocabulary such as ‘the Pope’, ‘complain’ and ‘hitting out’). And most people fall for it, using it as an opportunity to themselves have a go and complain, mostly about the Pope and the Catholic church – it’s a good job that they’re not in the public eye!!. For many people, it seems, the message brought by Jesus Christ, that of love, healing, happiness and peace, as promoted by Christians this time of year, is lost in the commercialisation of this message. For those people, perhaps searching for the real meaning of Christmas, all they need to do is to bring one/some of the elements listed above into the lives of others who may be less fortunate than themselves at this time of year. BTW, there’s nothing at all wrong with making money on the back of Christmas, as long as the profit is reasonable, honest, and not exploitative, and as long as as the Christmas message of love is not violated. It seems to me that the originator of this blog may have a issue with the Pope himself, or the office he holds, or the Catholic church, or with Christians, or, perhaps, even with God…? Happy Christmas to all!

      • kevin denny Says:

        I don’t see the relevance of what you say to my comment. The pope surrounds himself with material wealth of the most glittering kind. He’s the King of Bling. This is, at best, incongrous given his remarks.
        As for most people “falling for it”: this strikes me as pretty condescending of you. You reckon you are the smart one who is not taken in by the press and the rest are dopes? A simpler, more plausible explanation is that increasingly people see the pope for what he is and are not afraid to articulate those views.

        • Don Says:

          Let me explain myself. The leaders of many major faiths and of many nations are accompanied by manifestations (often vulgar and OTT to many tastes) of their position and of the movement/faith/nation they represent. Recognising this, the Pope urges all (who will listen) to see through the superficial glitter of the Christian festival and to thereby see the real meaning of Christmas. Do you think that he is not aware of the irony of this comment, and the possible ire that other will aim at him when he talks of glitter? Yes, there is incongruity – there always will be – it’s everywhere. I don’t mean to be condescending – I just recognise that in my experience thru life there are spiritual and temporal interfaces, the juxtaposition of which is brought into sharp relief around the anniversaries of many religious festivals. It’s at these times that those who may not readily recognise such interfaces try to interpret the one in the language of the other, often leading to misinterpretations and misunderstandings (or worse…). Contrary to your opinion, I don’t reckon I am the smart one…and the rest are dopes. I see what I see and, as a world figure, what the Pope says and does is often populist, seen as newsworthy, and therefore sells papers and makes profits for those papers and their advertisers. The Pope is just a man, like you and me – he lives, and one day he’ll die, like you and me. He’s just trying to urge people to understand the interface, the temporal with the eternal. That;s hi mission. He knows that he inhabits a world where the two are often mixed up, but that doesn’t deter him from having the courage to urge people to distinguish one from the other. As for fear of articulation of views, that was never an issue, was it…?


      • Thanks, Don. I have no problem in general terms with the faithful (and many priests) of the Roman Catholic church, indeed my parents were a mixed marriage. I do have some issues with the way in which the church has organised itself, and with its apparent determination to place its temporal (material) security above the spiritual and physical security of its members; and indeed with its tendency to adopt authoritarian methods in its dealings with the faithful. But then again, I know many extraordinarily generous, tolerant and spiritually uplifting members of the church, and I am personally a Christian believer, indeed of a catholic (if Anglican catholic) persuasion.

        Kevin’s comment about the tendency of the Pope to surround himself with pomp and conspicuous wealth while telling the faithful to reject ‘glitter’ is, I think, a fair one.

  3. Vincent Says:

    Oh for heavens sake, if the three wise men turned up with hands hanging there wouldn’t be half the fuss about them. So it’s not as if we sucked this gift giving thing from a hens egg in the 1960s. Of course, were we to realise that these were symbols of submission. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Persepolis_stairs_of_the_Apadana_relief.jpg

    Happy Christmas and a safe and sound 2012.
    How the hell did we get here. We were only just bothered about Y2K. And there are ADULTS about that have no knowledge of the Berliner Mauer.

  4. Anna Notaro Says:

    For a clever, funny and ironic portrait of the Pope as ‘just a man’ I recommend the film ‘Habemus Papam’ by Italian director Nanni Moretti, just released abroad..http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1456472/


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