Tuesday, November 24, 2009

American holidays are as corrupting as the rest of American culture.

I would like to present an edited version of a post that I had written for my old blog. The first version of this was posted back in 2005. However, I think it is still pertinent for today, economic crisis notwithstanding. Many people will put themselves into debt this holiday season - without ever questioning what messages doing so send to their children.

A lot of Secular, Reform and Intermarried Jews observe Halloween and the Christmas holiday. They don't, of course, go into the religious elements of Halloween (yes, it is a pagan religious festival) or Christmas - but they do all the "secular" parts. They attempt to justify this by saying it is not "really" a religious observance, or by saying that it's become an American cultural observance, or by saying that it's harmless fun for kids. They know it's wrong - well, many of them do - but they do it anyway. Why? So "the kids aren't deprived of their opportunities" or some such. Yes, someone actually said that to me.

Opportunities?

As if teaching children that when an opportunity like Halloween comes to indulge in hedonistic gratification they should not only do so - but rush through as many streets as possible to make sure they get the most that they possibly can?

What's wrong with that picture, class?

Oh, and don't even get me started on Christmas. Parents tell children the lie - yes, LIE - that "good" children whom Santa Claus "loves" will get gifts - which means, of course, whether it's ever stated aloud or not, that these parents are teaching their children that POOR kids, whose parents can't afford the fashionable expensive gifts, MUST be "bad." Bad by definition. It also teaches kids that their parents are liars - which they are. (And then they wonder why their kids become obnoxious teenagers and disrespect them.)

Is a custom founded on lies, deceit, consumerism, racism and class discrimination really something we should be passing on to our kids today - whether they're practicing Jews or not?

And since when is nihilism a desirable character trait? These kids don't ever have to save up half the year to buy gifts for others - no, that's "too much" to expect of children. The parents, however, "must" either save or go into debt so that their children are not "deprived." Deprived of what, exactly? The parents never really ask what it all means, once the religious aspect is removed.

Actions speak so much louder than words, class. Your little brothers and sisters, your nieces and nephews, and your own children are not, in fact, stupid. They have eyes and they can see. And all those things you ignore and pretend do not matter - well, they do matter. And you knew that when you were a child, when somebody else got all those great gifts that you didn't get - your secular or gentile classmates, or the rich kids whose parents made Chanukkah into another version of Christmas. Remember when someone else got a trip to somewhere great and you didn't? Or when someone else looked down on you because "santa" obviously doesn't love you as much - or if your family was known to be observantly Jewish, your gentile neighbor or classmates teased, "santa" didn't love you at all - because of your race.

It's time to remember and repent of our sins. Sadistic children's "opportunities" like Halloween and Christmas need to be flushed down the toilet where they belong.

So instead, go to the movies. Go to a soup kitchen and volunteer. Or stay home and play a board game with your kids for a change. Be a rebel - stand up for real values, not crass greed and nihilism. Celebrate Chanukkah and Purim - with restraint and discipline, not hedonism. If nothing else, if your family has been observing Christmas simply tell your kids the truth about "santa" and explain the concept of a budget to them. Help them make a very short list of gifts that stays within a small budget. Make it a learning opportunity, not a greedfest.

If you've heavily invested in the lies in the past, you will have egg on your face, yes. But better to be honest up front than to perpetuate the lies. Lies only go to bad places, and nobody, secular or religious, needs to go there.

And when your friends and relatives attack you for your rebellion against the status quo - just smile and know they feel guilty for not having so much principle themselves. Viva La Revolution.

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