I ran across this post earlier today. It’s a good example of something I could have found hilarious, if the lack of a good editor to tighten the prose (a mixed blessing of the blogging world, in my opinion) and the author’s cynicism about the Santa legend (he seems to be of the “Santa Claus = lying to your kids” camp) didn’t mar it for me. Still, the lines it gets me thinking along (How Google Earth killed Santa? Brilliant!) are enough to tickle my oft-perverse sense of humor.
This tidbit from the comments, though, is what really got my funny bone into action:
As a parent I don’t teach my children to believe in Santa or Christmas, they’re both pagan and satanic. If you want to give your children something to believe in, give them the truth. Tell them we work hard to buy their gifts. They’ll have more respect for their hard working parents then.
Why does this amuse me so? Well, for one thing, if “they’re both pagan and satanic,” I wonder how on earth my fundamentalist Christian upbringing managed to allow Santa to bring me gifts every year. And for another thing, I don’t really see how explaining to my two and a half year old that I worked hard to buy his gifts is going to engender “more respect.” He’ll figure that out as he grows up. In the meantime, I want to give him a bit of magic.
On a similarly dark-humored note, here’s an article from The Economist that also has me amused. Why? It’s about a Christmas card surviving from the 1840s, notable not only for its age but because it portrays a secular scene of endless gifts, feasts, and debauchery.
Again, why do I find that so amusing? Well, I hear people all around me decrying how commercial Christmas is becoming. How it should be a religious holiday, how the gifts should be simple and not the focal point of the celebration. Implicit in these declarations is always the idea that it was different “back then.” Some even complain that it gets worse every year; I suppose they’re comparing today’s greed-fest of material goods with the allegedly simpler holiday of their own childhoods.
Though there’s no doubt retailers are pushing Christmas sales a little harder every year, I think this is one piece of evidence supporting my hunch that human nature just hasn’t changed all that much over the years.