Want to talk about cultural appropriation? For a minute, let’s assume that it is a thing. I am not convinced it is, but just for a minute, indulge me, and let’s talk about Christmas. If you are angry about cultural appropriation then you should probably be piling up Elf on the Shelf dolls and burning them in the streets. Why? Because Christmas literally has the words CHRIST and MASS in the name. It is, and cannot be understood as anything other than, a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the savior of the world. Actually, it is a Catholic feast day, and it has been taken by our society and made into something else. It has been appropriated to sell more crap, like the now revered Elf on the Shelf. A trademarked product.
I guess the argument could be made that many of the people who celebrate secular Christmas culturally were once Christians, or may have a Christian cultural heritage. But, does that make it right to then take the actual culture and heritage of Catholicism and abuse it for economic gain? I’ll give you an example; Why is it ok to take one of the great saints of the Catholic Church, St Nicholas of Myra and turn him into Santa in order to sell Coke? That actually happened. The modern Santa Claus was created by Coca-Cola as part of a holiday marketing campaign. Prior to Coke’s Santa, St. Nic’s appearance was as varied as the people who revered him. This excerpt is actually from Coca Cola’s website:
The Santa Claus we all know and love — that big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard — didn’t always look that way. In fact, many people are surprised to learn that prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. In fact, when Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elf-like figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.
Did you catch the part about bishop’s robe? Yup, CATHOLIC! St Nicholas was a Catholic bishop and he never drank Coca-Cola.
So, yes, I think the Elf on the Shelf is stupid. I rebel against Santa. I loathe that Starbucks Holiday lattes mark the beginning of the Holiday season. But, I am not really angry about secular Christmas. I just wish fewer Christians were celebrating it.
Christmas is about Christ.