I think it was Ian Shoals (Merle Kessler) who noted that the plot used in every Christmas story has become, "Oh dear, it looks like we may not have Christmas this year; oh, wait, at the last moment, we can still have Christmas. Yay!"
My own opinion is that if the Grinch had pulled his trick on a real town with real people (instead of those insufferable Whos), they'd have tracked him down and waterboarded him until his green fur turned blue.
Christmas is so very American, though, isn't it? It's an orgy of consumerism with a religious sheen. Somewhere in the blizzard of commercials, Linus does the shepherds speech, and everyone gets all misty-eyed for a bit, then back to the shopping, because if the retailers don't have a good year, the whole economy will tank, or so I've been told.
There's an article in today's paper about various religious folk who are annoyed at the usual, the lack of full bore religious celebration/indoctrination in the holiday. But remember, these are the same folks who are annoyed that you can't force children to pray in public schools and who want to tattoo the Ten Commandments onto the stomachs of convicts.
Okay, I made that last one up. Mostly.
Criminey, it's not like the deal is a big secret. Christianity got mingled with the cult of Sol Invictus back in Roman times, and engulfed the Sun God rituals, including the solstice/rebirth thing. Partying during the darkest days of the year makes perfect sense; a bit of the nog and flirting (or more) with the neighbors can get you through the Seasonal Affect Disorder better than most things. Besides, it's cold out there and the more bodies, the warmer the cave. But a goodly part of it remains the Don't Go Out, part. Stay in and wait out the darkness.
Which I certainly do, although the rigors of leaving the house nowadays have more to do with not wanting to buck the traffic, fight the shoppers, or listen to "Little Drummer Boy" one more time on muzak.
Yeah, yeah, now I'll have someone talking to me about giving and sharing. Look, tossing a quarter into the Salvation Army bucket does not make up for rounding up and deporting undocumented immigrants so they won't burden the health care system. Moreover, in case you haven't noticed, a good many people use gifts as a control measure. "He's making a list and checking it twice" has a nice truthful ring to it. Step out of line and no presents for you, child.
Then there's the football. Lordy, there is the football. I know that football is a season, but it certainly seems like it gets compressed into the week between Christmas and New Years. It's all those damn college bowl games added to the mix, I expect. There's another tangent I could go off on in a second: college football. Another orgy of commerce with a thin patina, this time of higher education. Feh.
This one I'm sure came from Merle: “Football players, like prostitutes, are in the business of ruining their bodies for the pleasure of strangers”
The other one is from George Will: "Football incorporates the two worst elements of American society: violence punctuated by committee meetings."
Ebenezer Scrooge wasn't a creep because he despised Christmas. He was a creep because he was a shrunken souled miser who refused to pay a decent wage to his employee. But he did have some pretty cool hallucinations, and maybe that's all I really want for Christmas: cooler hallucinations.