Dec 16

War on Christmas Real

in 1912

More accurately it was a war against the rising commercialization of Christmas and needlessly competitive gift giving. The Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving, or Spugs, was even more specifically looking at the trend of employees giving gifts to bosses and higher-ups in exchange for work favors.

“Are you a giver of Christmas gifts?” The New York Times reported on November 12, 1912. “If you are, do you give them in the true spirit of generosity or in the hope that you may get presents or favors in return? If that is the way you have been offering holiday remembrances, and if you wish to rebel against this hypocrisy, then you are eligible for membership in the Spug Club.”

When your patrons are Elanor Belmont (think Belmont Stakes) and Anne Morgan (J.P.'s daughter naturally) you find your cause gets a lot of press. By December Teddy Roosovelt himself became the first "man Spug." Two years later war would be raging across Europe and things like the Spug club were unnecessary, but maybe we need them back?

In reality the greatest "threat" to Christmas are cultural Christians. Don't get me wrong, I am for Santa and lights and all that, as with most things its the degree of emphasis that matters. However, when people get upset over coffee cups, "Season's Greetings" or "Holiday Trees" they are worrying about the wrong thing. When they get into fights or inescapable debt to get the latest gift they have worked too hard for the wrong things. When Christmas becomes a reason to get defensive about tradition you are no longer celebrating Christ, you are celebrating yourself.

Our culture is having a bit of an identity crisis.

So ask yourself: what offends me at Christmas time?

If the answer is not: poverty, disease, war, hunger, alienation, xenophobia, or the like you may have the wrong answer.

Don't forget the story of Christmas is about Jesus' first great self-sacrifice, lowering himself from the God-Head to be born.